To Honor and Serve shocked the field and won the $750,000 Woodward Stakes 3-year-old-and-up prize at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday afternoon.
Rule set the pace early but To Honor and Serve followed closely and waited for his opportunity to sneak past the pack and take the lead during the final stretch.
Favorite Mucho Macho Man pulled nearly even in that stretch but could not pass the determined To Honor and Serve, who ended up winning by a neck.
Take a look for yourself and view the entire race here:
To Honor and Serve won the 1 1/8 mile course with a time of 1:48:56. The 4-year-old Bernardini colt is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott and jockeyed by John Velazquez.
Velazquez was excited with his horse’s performance during the final push and battle with Mucho Macho Man, according to John Scheinman of NYRA.com.
“‘He got to the quarter-pole in hand without asking him to do anything,’ said the recent Hall of Fame inductee. ‘When he got to the lead, he started waiting. I thought he was going to gallop, but when he got by himself, he started waiting. When the other horse came to him, he started fighting. It was a great effort.’”
Patience certainly paid off, literally, for Live Oak Plantation. The horse’s owners took home a purse of $450,000 with the victory.
The win is the second Grade 1 victory for To Honor and Serve, who also won the Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct in November. He’s also scored seven wins out of 15 races overall.