09/02/2012 2:13PM

Saratoga: Owner prefers Breeders' Cup Classic to Dirt Mile for To Honor and Serve

Tom Keyser
Charlotte Weber said she prefers the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic to the $1 milliion Dirt Mile for her horse To Honor and Serve

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - While no final decision has been made, Charlotte Weber, the owner of Grade 1 Woodward Stakes winner To Honor and Serve, said Sunday morning she prefers the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic to the $1 million Dirt Mile for her multiple Grade 1-winning colt.

“In order of preference, obviously, the Classic comes first, but I wouldn’t be ashamed to win either,” Weber said Sunday morning, after stopping by trainer Bill Mott’s barn.

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 To Honor and Serve put himself back in the Breeders’ Cup picture with a hard-fought neck victory over Mucho Macho Man in Saturday’s $750,000 Woodward at Saratoga. After receiving a perfect trip under John Velazquez, To Honor and Serve repelled the stretch challenge of Mucho Macho Man to get the victory, his eighth from 15 career starts. It was one of the first instances in which To Honor and Serve got into a real stretch battle and prevailed.

“You always wonder and I think that’s an important quality to know that he’s got,” Mott said.

 To Honor and Serve ran in last year’s Classic and finished seventh, beaten 3 1/2 lengths by the Mott-trained Drosselmeyer. Mott is pointing two others to this year’s Classic, including Santa Anita Handicap winner Ron the Greek and 2011 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Flat Out. This year’s Breeders’ Cup will be held at Santa Anita.

 On Sunday, Flat Out worked four furlongs in 48.13 seconds over the Oklahoma training track in preparation for a defense of his Jockey Club Gold Cup title on Sept. 29. He got his final quarter in 23.69 seconds and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.16.

“How could you not like that?” Mott said.

 Mott said that if To Honor and Serve does run again before the Classic, a start in the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso, a one-turn mile at Belmont on Sept. 29, makes the most sense to him to use as a prep.

“I’m just rambling on here about possibilities. I’m not saying I’m committing, I’m just kind of thinking,” he said.

Kathy Ritvo, the trainer of Woodward runner-up Mucho Macho Man, said her horse would be pointed to the Classic, but she did not rule out a start in the Jockey Club Gold Cup beforehand.

 “It’s not definite that we don’t run anywhere else - we could - he came back great,” Ritvo said.

 Mucho Macho Man did not have the easiest of trips in the Woodward. He was bumped at the break by Gourmet Dinner, was pinned in along the rail for a good portion of the race by Stay Thirsty, and then got carried out by To Honor and Serve in deep stretch.

“He got carried out, but they didn’t make contact,” Ritvo said. “You have to do it. If it was my rider I’d want him to do it. My brothers were riders, [husband] Timmy was a rider, you have to ride like that. He still ran a very game race.”

 Cease, who finished third in the Woodward in his Grade 1 stakes debut, is likely to be pointed to the Hawthorne Gold Cup on Oct. 6, trainer Al Stall said immediately after the race.


chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
I feel it's time that Stronach has his Track Superintendent groom both grass and dirt into safe running surfaces. Would he start his own babies over those rock-hard tracks?
B More than 1 year ago
At this point, there are so many horses that could win HOY it is almost silly, which is another way of saying, what a mediocre year. At the moment, I'll Have Another is the leader, but the BC Classic is a strong persuader unless a long shot wins. Almost seems odd to not have a filly in the running after the past few years.
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
Give MMM an established trainer and he's in the HOY running. Instead he goes once every two months,can't outduel THAS because he's only 90% off the short layoff and is an easy bet against in the BC.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Kelso then BC MILE. Mott already has Ron The Greek and Flat Out for the classic. RTG already wom The Santa Anita Handicap this yr. So logically. Why not retire To Honor And Serve with a possible win. Only has to beat Shackleford in The Mile.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
Only lost by 3 1/2 lengths last year as a 3yo.
Elizabeth More than 1 year ago
Weird track last year.
Jon More than 1 year ago
lol, did they take a look at the horses hopefully running in the Classic? Dullahan(only because of surface.), Game on Dude, Acclamation, Paynter(hopefully he will be fit by then),Richards kid. With the speed in the race he will be close up front, but, can he match any the ones mentioned(the speed horses have some good gas in the stretch here) the ones mentioned here in the stretch.
Mike Bilinskas More than 1 year ago
Dullahan cant handle dirt, he'll be a non factor if he goes in the classic
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
Game on Dude is the only runner there. Dull can't handle dirt,Acclamation can't handle dirt or stay healthy,Paynter is done,and Richards Kid isn't good enough.THAS has a chance,though i probably won't play him
Elizabeth More than 1 year ago
You're nuts if you think Paynter will run anymore this year.
Gee More than 1 year ago
To Honor and Serve, ya thats my motto too. Anyway, this is a one race an yer done horse. I played him yesterday because the field was so bad. Just wait an ccccee. it happen again. Especially in the Classic, hell be a lay play for sure.