To Honor and Serve wasn’t as dominant as he was in his stakes debut, but the talented juvenile was still much the best in the $200,000 Remsen (gr. II) (VIDEO) Nov. 27 at Aqueduct. He will now move on to Florida for the start of his highly-anticipated 3-year-old season.
The son of Bernardini won the 1 1/8-mile Remsen by two comfortable lengths under John Velazquez, as he led his four rivals from start to finish. He finished up in 1:50.03 over the fast main track, nearly three seconds faster than Demoiselle (gr. II) winner Dixie City did one race earlier.
Bill Mott trains To Honor and Serve for Live Oak Plantation. The Hall of Fame trainer has already gone on record as saying the colt is as talented as any 2-year-old he has ever trained and gives him his best shot for an elusive first Kentucky Derby (gr. I) win. Mott will now take To Honor and Serve to Payson Park in South Florida before preparing him for his sophomore debut early next season.
To Honor and Serve entered the Remsen off a convincing four-length victory in the Nov. 6 Nashua (gr. II) when he went one mile on the Aqueduct dirt for his second triumph in three starts. Like his last win, the naturally fast colt broke on top in the Remsen and was quickest to the first turn. He set legitimate fractions under Velazquez, going :24.35, :47.69, 1:11.18, and 1:36.61 while Mucho Macho Man pressed him from the outside the whole way around the oval.
He opened up a four-length lead at the eighth pole and held Mucho Macho Man at bay for the final furlong but was unable to pull away from the game runner-up. Mucho Macho Man and Eibar Coa were three lengths in front of third-place Mountain Town.
“I let him do whatever he wanted to do; I didn’t want to be on his mouth," Velazquez said. "He’s still a big baby. He gets to the lead, and he gets to looking around. He hasn’t put it all together yet. It was a good effort.”
To Honor and Serve, who broke his maiden by nearly nine lengths at Belmont on Oct. 2, improved to 3-1-0 from four starts and earnings of $264,640. A $575,000 yearling, he is out of the Deputy Minister mare Pilfer. The bay colt was bred in Kentucky by Twin Creeks Farm, Larry Byer, and Rancho San Miguel.
"We would have loved to have had a target," Mott said. "I think they gain a little more from it, and it’s nice to have something to run at. It would have been nice to see him to have to pass somebody, but that’s just the way the race turned out.
"I thought in the Nashua it looked like he won a little easier, but this was another eighth of a mile. Being in a two-turn race might have been slightly confusing to him. As with any horse like him, we’ll nominate him for everything in case there’s a hiccup anywhere.”
Sent off at odds of 3-5, To Honor and Serve paid $3.20, $2.50, and $2.10. The exacta (5-7) returned $20.60 and the trifecta (5-7-3) was $47.
Bandbox and Buffum, who both ran into trouble on the first turn and had to be steadied after clipping heels with one another, finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Pants On Fire and Economic Summit were scratched.