To Honor and Serve edged favored Mucho Macho Man by a neck in a long stretch drive Saturday in the $750,000 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
To Honor and Serve stalked the pace set by Rule and pressed by Trickmeister, moved to the lead leaving the quarter pole and repelled a late bid by Mucho Macho Man.
Ridden by John Velazquez, the Bill Mott-trained 4-year-old ran 1-1/8 miles in 1 minute, 48.65 seconds for his second victory in four starts this year. The colt returned $9.30 for a $2 win bet.
”I knew he had it in him,” Mott said. ”He’s been training well. He’s a sound horse and there’s no reason for him not to. (To Honor and Serve and Mucho Macho Man) have raced against each other since they were 2-year-olds. They’ve traded win positions ,and I figured it was our turn.”
To Honor and Serve earned $450,000 for Live Oak Plantation.
Mucho Macho Man was second, and Cease rallied late for third.
”He got to the quarter pole in hand without my asking him to do anything,” Velazquez said of To Honor and Serve ”When he got the lead, he started waiting. When the other horse came to him, he started fighting. It was a great effort.”
Earlier on the final Saturday card of the Saratoga meeting, Emcee took the $500,000 Forego Stakes and Dominus won the $250,000 Barnard Baruch Handicap.
The 4-year-old Emcee, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Alan Garcia, beat Hamazing Destiny by 4-1/2 lengths, running 7 furlongs in 1:21. Emcee paid $5.10.
Shackleford, the morning-line favorite, was scratched. Trainer Dale Romans said that the 4-year-old was coughing early Saturday.
The 4-year-old Dominus, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Julien Leparoux, ran 1-1/16 miles on the turf course in 1:40.32 to edge favored Data Link by 1-1/4 lengths. Dominus paid $5.70.