07/29/2011 4:25PM

Saratoga: To Honor and Serve will try sprinting for comeback in Amsterdam

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Barbara D. Livingston
To Honor and Serve, returning from an injury that knocked him off the Triple Crown trail, will run 6 1/2 furlongs - the shortest race of his career - in Monday's Amsterdam.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – To Honor and Serve, knocked off the Triple Crown trail in the spring due to injury, returns to the races Monday at Saratoga in the Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs.

The Amsterdam, this track’s traditional prep for the Grade 1 King’s Bishop on Aug. 27, drew a solid field of seven, including stakes winners Justin Phillip, Travelin Man, Caleb’s Posse, and Arch Traveler as well as non-stakes winners Redeemed and Wine Police.

The Amsterdam will mark the first one-turn race in which To Honor and Serve has run since taking the Grade 2 Nashua at Aqueduct last November. In fact, the Amsterdam will be the shortest distance To Honor and Serve has ever raced.

“He’s not ready for the Jim Dandy or the Curlin,’’ trainer Bill Mott said, referring to a pair of two-turn, 1 1/8-mile races that were run at Saratoga on Saturday and Friday, respectively. “Is he ready to sprint? Well, maybe he is. You just got to get started. I could wait until September and still be looking for the right spot.’’

To Honor and Serve ended his 2-year-old season with a solid two-length victory over Mucho Macho Man in the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct. Mott said he felt that put his colt ahead of the game as it pertained to the Kentucky Derby and he brought him back to the races in February at Gulfstream Park in the 1 1/8-mile Fountain of Youth, where he finished third. After another third-place finish in the Florida Derby in April, To Honor and Serve was diagnosed with a strained suspensory ligament in his left foreleg.

The injury required time off before To Honor and Serve returned to Mott’s care in June.

To Honor and Serve drew post 5 and will be ridden by Javier Castellano.

Justin Phillip, the Woody Stephens winner, and Travellin Man, the Swale winner, will likely vie for favoritism in the Amsterdam.