Bernardini celebrates Cigar Mile

To Honor and Serve put away Calibrachoa and held off Hymn Book for a ground-breaking G1 victory in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Saturday.

The Bernardini colt was a three-time G2 winner before a G1 loss in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 5.

“Maybe we wouldn’t have come here had we won the Classic,” trainer Bill Mott said.   “But I watched him and it didn’t look like we hurt his feelings too much in the Classic.  I thought he ran well at Churchill and he came back very sound and feeling good.”

To Honor And Serve (3c Bernardini – Pilfer by Deputy Minister) won the G2 Nashua Stakes and G2 Remsen Stakes at two but was sidelined with a suspensory ligament injury prior to the Kentucky Derby.

He was bred in Kentucky by Twins Creeks Farm and was a $575,000 yearling buy at Keeneland in September 2009.  ‘I think one mile is an ideal distance for him,” Mott added.  “I think he’s a very fast horse as the 1:33 and change would indicate.”

Bernardini had already sired a summer highlight when his colt Stay Thirsty won the G1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

Bernardini (A.P. Indy) is currently covering his fourth southern book of mares at Darley Kelvinside for a fee of $38,500 (inc gst).  Not for long, though.  His Kentucky fee has just been raised to $150,000.