09/19/2011 4:45PM

Parx: To Honor and Serve, Ruler On Ice top nine-horse Pa. Derby

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Barbara D. Livingston
To Honor and Serve (above) will vie for favortism with Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice in Saturday's Pennsylvania Derby.

Coming off an authoritative allowance win at Saratoga, To Honor and Serve will return to stakes company in Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing.

A field of nine was entered Monday for the Pennsylvania Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race restricted to 3-year-olds. Ruler On Ice, the Belmont Stakes winner, was installed as a lukewarm 5-2 morning-line favorite. But given his last performance - an 8 1/4-length allowance win at Saratoga - it wouldn’t be surprising if To Honor and Serve goes off the post-time favorite.

A multiple Grade 2 stakes winner at 2, To Honor and Serve finished third in both the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby at Gulfstream before being sidelined by an injury that forced him to miss the Triple Crown series.

To Honor and Serve, a son of Bernardini, returned in the Grade 2 Amsterdam, where he finished a well-beaten sixth by Caleb’s Posse. Stretched out in distance and dropped in class, To Honor and Serve won a third-level allowance race by 8 1/4 lengths at Saratoga. He ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.31 on Aug. 26 at Saratoga and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 102, equaling his career best earned in last year’s Grade 2 Remsen Stakes.

To Honor and Serve, owned by Live Oak Plantation and trained by Bill Mott, drew post 7 and was made the 3-1 morning line second choice when post positions were assigned Monday afternoon following the races at Parx. Jose Lezcano will ride To Honor and Serve.

Lezcano replaces John Velazquez, who opted to ride Rattlesnake Bridge, winner of the Long Branch Stakes in July and runner-up to Stay Thirsty in the Travers at Saratoga last month.

Rattlesnake Bridge will break from post 9.

Ruler On Ice will try to become the first horse to win the Belmont Stakes and Pennsylvania Derby in 30 years. In 1981, Summing won the Pennsylvania Derby when it was run two weeks before the Belmont.

Garrett Gomez has picked up the mount on Ruler On Ice, who will break from the rail.

Arthur’s Tale , who has not started since finishing second, a neck behind Toby’s Corner, in the Wood Memorial on April 9 at Aqueduct, will make his return to the races in the Pennsylvania Derby.

Arthur’s Tale was sidelined by a stress fracture in a cannon bone and his connections were hoping to make the Travers, but ran out of time. Alan Garcia will ride Arthur’s Tale from post 2.

The complete field, with riders, is: Ruler On Ice (Garrett Gomez), Arthur’s Tale (Alan Garcia), Pender Harbour (Luis Contreras), Norman Asbjornson (Julian Pimentel), Rush Now (Cornelio Velasquez), Isn’t He Perfect (no rider), To Honor and Serve (Jose Lezcano), J W Blue (Cornelio Velasquez), and Rattlesnake Bridge (John Velazquez).

The Pennsylvania Derby will go as race 11 on a 12-race program that begins at 12:05 p.m. Eastern.

Indiano heads Gallant Bob

Indiano, who has won three consecutive stakes, including the Grade 2 Carry Back, heads a field of seven 3-year-olds entered in the $250,000 Gallant Bob at six furlongs.

Indiano, the 9-5 morning-line favorite, will break from post 2 under Luis Saez.

Wine Police, winner of an overnight stakes at Saratoga in his last start, will likely be second choice for trainer Steve Asmussen, who has Julien Leparoux to ride.

The Gallant Bob field, from the rail, is: Biddy (no rider), Indiano (Saez), Deputy Fling (Eric Camacho), Wine Police (Leparoux), Royal Currier (Stewart Elliott), He’s Speightful (Kendrick Carmouche), and  Poseidon’s Warrior (Frankie Pennington).