To Honor And Serve

To Honor And Serve

Coglianese Photos/Courtney Stafford

To Honor and Serve May Get Start Before Cup

Woodward winner emerges from grueling battle with Mucho Macho Man in excellent shape.

Trainer Bill Mott says he's considering another start for Woodward Stakes (gr. I) winner To Honor and Serve before the Breeders' Cup.

On the morning after To Honor and Serve's game neck victory over Mucho Macho Man  in the $750,000 Woodward Sept. 1, the Hall of Fame conditioner said the 4-year-old colt was in excellent shape.

"He looks great," Mott said Sept. 2 of To Honor and Serve, who won for the eighth time in 15 career starts, with six of those victories coming in graded stakes. "It was nice to see him come back" from a fourth-place finish in the Suburban Handicap (gr. II) July 7.

While To Honor and Serve went into the 1 1/8-mile Woodward off an eight-week freshening, Mott said he would consider a race in between.

"Looking at the Belmont schedule for him, maybe we'd have a look at the Kelso (at one mile Sept. 29), although it's going back from a grade I to a grade II, and it's a handicap, so we'd have to see what happens with the weights," Mott said. "It's on the list of things to think about.

"There's nothing wrong with having a little momentum, a regular schedule (going into the Breeders' Cup)," he said. "I mean, Cigar ran in the Woodward, the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and the Breeders' Cup Classic and it wasn't too much for him. But there aren't many Cigars, I suppose."

Mott, who trains To Honor and Serve for Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation, said the Breeders' Cup on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park would be the final major objective for the son of Bernardini  out of the Deputy Minister mare Pilfer. Following the Breeders' Cup, To Honor and Serve will become a stallion at Gainesway Farm.

"Obviously, working backward, we want to go to California and we want to go to the Breeders' Cup," said Mott. "We'd have to decide whether we'd run in the (Dirt) Mile (gr. I) or the Classic (gr. I). I think the connections, obviously, if at all possible and if we had a chance, would like to run in the Classic."

Mott was reminded of Theatrical, the champion turf horse and leading sire who died at the age of 30 Aug. 31.

A winner of $2.9 million and 10 of his 22 career starts, including six grade I events, Theatrical went on to sire 81 stakes winners.

"He was probably one of the best horses I ever trained, or ever will train," said Mott. "He was my first champion, my first Breeders' Cup (1987 Turf) winner. He won six grade I stakes my first year in New York, and I trained a ton of stakes winners by him. He bought my first home in New York, single-handedly. He was probably the most life-changing horse I ever had."