Bernardini Honored in New York

Bernardini struck out in the Breeders’ Cup but it was only a momentary lapse for the Darley shuttler.

A day after Theyskens’ Theory and A Z Warrior failed in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs, his colt To Honor And Serve scored a brilliant victory in the G2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct.

Trainer Bill Mott chose to bypass the nation’s top colts in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but may have made the wrong call after his lightly-raced youngster spaced the placegetters by 10 lengths in New York.

To Honor And Serve (2c Bernardini – Pilfer by Deputy Minister) didn’t go public until September 4 when he was runner-up to subsequent G3 winner Astrology (A.P. Indy) at Saratoga.  He followed up with an 8 length victory at Belmont Park on October 2.

Jockey Jose Lezcano was stunned after the Nashua runaway.  “My plan was to take him back but there was no speed so I let him go,” Lezcano said. “I don’t know how to explain it.  I looked back and nobody was coming so I just let him run along to teach him how to finish.”

To Honor and Serve was bred in Kentucky by Twins Creeks Farm and was a $575,000 yearling buy at Keeneland in September 2009.  His dam Pilfer was a stakes winner at Delaware and she has since foaled colts by Darley sires Hard Spun and Street Sense.

To Honor and Serve is one of 9 first-crop winners by Bernardini.  Leading the charge are his Group 1 winning fillies A Z Warrior (Belmont Frizette Stakes) and Biondetti (Milan Gran Criterium).

Bernardini filly Theyskens’ Theory won the G3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood and was then G1 placed in the Meon Valley Stud Fillies Mile at Ascot in September.

His colt Stay Thirsty won a Saratoga maiden in August and was then runner-up in the G1 Hopeful Stakes at the Spa.  

Bernardini is the only stallion ever to sire Group 1 juvenile winners on both dirt and turf in his first crop.  His tally of four Group winners is more than any other first-season sire this year.

Those statistics are all the more impressive because Bernardini was unraced as a two year-old.  He made up for lost time at three to became the first horse since Damascus to win the Preakness Stakes, Travers Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Bernardini was a hot favourite for the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs but jockey Javier Castellano took off too early and that left him at the mercy of Sheikh Hamdan’s Argentine import Invasor.

Bernardini (A.P. Indy) is currently covered his third southern book of mares at Darley Kelvinside for a fee of $38,500 (inc gst).