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To Honor and Serve, Awesome Feather Headline Aqueduct Stakes Card

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 11/25/2011 4:28:47 PM
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To Honor and Serve will be looking to stay perfect on Aqueduct’s main track in Saturday’s 23rd Running of the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap. His task won’t be an easy one if the high-class Haynesfield brings his ‘A’ game to the fray. In the race after that, 2010 2YO Filly Champ Awesome Feather will be putting her unbeaten record (7-for-7) on the line in the 116th Running of the Grade 1 Gazelle. Can she stave off the inevitable challenges from trainer Todd Pletcher’s talented trio of R Gypsy Gold, Savvy Supreme and Love and Pride? Let’s take a brief look at each race.

If Haynesfield is able to recapture his best 2010 form, which carried him to victories in the Grade 2 Suburban and Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, as well as a bang-up second to Jersey Town in last year’s edition of this race, he’l l give To Honor and Serve a run for his money. However, his hard-fought win last out vs. NY-breds in The Empire Classic, in which he earned a so-so Beyer Speed Figure of 96, suggests he’s not all the way back. To Honor and Serve wasn’t disgraced last out with his mid-pack finish in The Breeders’ Cup Classic, in which he was beaten 3 ½ lengths by stablemate Drosselmeyer. His two races prior to that were bang-up, and you know he loves the Big A. His bullet breeze last Sunday indicates that he retains his sharp form. I’ll bet on To Honor and Serve to win at odds of even money or better.

Awesome Feather was clearly the top filly in her class last year, but physical problems delayed her 3YO debut until early October. She didn’t beat much in her return to the races, and her Beyer of 81 didn’t scare anyone away from this engagement. The beautifully-bred R Gypsy Gold has come to hand in her last pair for Todd Pletcher, winning an entry-level allowance and an overnight stakes with strong finishes. Also note that her interim work was sharp, so another move forward is anticipated. Offspring of Bernardini (like To Honor and Serve) seem to get better with racing, so that too bodes well for R Gypsy Gold. She figures to save ground around the first turn, and should get a reasonable pace to close into. I’ll bet on R Gypsy Gold to win and place at odds of 5-2 or better.
Those are my horse racing betting tips for the weekend. Best of luck and happy gambling!



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