Parenthetically, it’s really a Grade 1 but it’s masquerading today as a Grade 3. There is no telling how good this field is or will be. And that’s not including three already proven G1 performers.
Clearly, To Honor And Serve (7-5) is a deserving early line favorite who figures to be the public’s ante-post choice. When last seen, he was showing his class taking the G1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct last fall earning a career best figure on the Equiform scale.
But it wasn’t aberrantly fast, showing incremental development the way most of Bill Mott’s charges do. At 4, he is just now coming into his own. Mott has intimated he may need this run as the Met Mile is his major spring goal; we shall see.
Since returning from injury, Rick Dutrow has been very careful picking out spots, not wanting to demand too much while at the same time boosting the confidence of Boys At Tosconova.
Also 4, he’s won three straight without entering a race with a proper name attached to it. It’s time to find out where he fits relative to this country’s best runners. Ramon Dominguez leaves from the rail with the 5-2 second favorite.
It easy to make a case that Jersey Town (3-1) just hasn’t been the same horse since he won the 2010 Cigar Mile, going winless since. That notion has validity but he’s been unlucky, too, with ill-timed handling, wrong setups, or both.
In our view, even at 85 percent, To Honor And Serve has too much class, speed, position and connections for this group.
Taking the Mott runner to win, no price restrictions, key boxing him in two positions with his rivals here and keying him first in super exotics, adding Bold Deed (12-1) and Marilyn’s Guy (6-1) to the mix.
Running Totals: (1069) 328-210-160 Total Dollar Return: $2,259.20 [win selections only]