Bill Mott is getting down to serious business as he prepares several of his top horses for major stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Mott worked Royal Delta and To Honor and Serve Aug. 12 for their likely starts in the grade I Personal Ensign Stakes and Woodward Stakes, respectively, and also sent out Sword Dancer (gr. IT) probables Al Khali and Newsdad.
Royal Delta, last year's 3-year-old filly champion and winner of the Delaware Handicap (gr. II) in her last start, worked five furlongs in 1:00.66 for the 1 1/4-mile Personal Ensign Aug. 26.
"Royal Delta had a very good work," Mott said. "I think 1:01 and change would have been fine, but she went along pretty well. She went off the right way and finished up nice, too. We're two weeks away, so a decent work was in order."
Mott is seriously considering running To Honor and Serve, last year's Cigar Mile (gr. I) winner, in the Sept. 1 Woodward following his five-furlong work in 1:01.60.
"There is a very good possibility To Honor and Serve could run in the Woodward," said Mott. "He's starting to act better; more like himself. With the weather being cooler, he's eating better and acting better."
To Honor and Serve captured the Westchester Stakes (gr. III) this year before finishing third in the Metropolitan Mile (gr. I) and fourth in the Suburban Handicap (gr. II). If he runs in the Woodward, he could join the Mott-trained Flat Out , who is coming off a third-place finish in the Whitney (gr. I).
Al Khali breezed a half in :50.22, while Newsdad went five furlongs 1:02.11 in preparation for the Aug. 18 Sword Dancer.
Ron the Greek, the Santa Anita Handicap and Stephen Foster (both gr. I) winner who was second in the Whitney, will await the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).