A chilly, cloudless October morning at Beautiful Belmont provided the setting for trainer Bill Mott and his band of Breeders' Cup big guns. First it was Royal Delta who hit the track at 6:45 for her half-mile work, followed by Flat Out, then Ron the Greek, and finally To Honor and Serve, who completes Mott's imposing trio for the Breeders' Cup Classic. There are few backdrops more aesthetic than Belmont on an invigorating autumn morning, with beautiful horses set against a deep cerulean sky. (All photos by Steve Haskin)
Royal Delta returns from her sharp :47 work.
Royal Delta seems to have a few words for the pony.
Royal Delta (right), draped in morning sunlight as she heads back to the barn.
Royal Delta cooling out. She barely raised a sweat in her work.
Royal Delta strikes a pretty pose in the morning sun.
Royal Delta casts a large shadow on the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic.
Erma Scott, who has been with Mott for 27 years, plants a kiss on her No. 1 love, Ron the Greek.
Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Flat Out anxiously waits his turn.
Flat Out gallops on the training track.
Flat Out and Mott return to the barn.
Mott (in blue jacket, center) lines up the next set for inspection.
Ron the Greek is getting bored standing around; time for some action.
Mott gives Ron the Greek's exercise rider some last minute instruction before his work in company.
Ron the Greek gets his game face on, as Mott prepares last-minute strategy.
One final look at the beautiful head of Ron the Greek.
Ron the Greek looking stately and ready as he gallops toward the pole for his work.
Ron the Greek and stablemate Armor charge down the Belmont stretch.
Ron the Greek and Armor pulling up after the work. Armor came back huffing and puffing and sweating up a bit, while Ron was hardly blowing.
Meanwhile, back at the barn, still waiting for Flat Out to prick his ears -- ain't gonna happen.
Ron the Greek cooling out. Just love his head and his kind eye.
The final set brings out the handsome To Honor and Serve.
One more big gun to fire, as To Honor and Serve awaits his turn.
Mott with his final instructions of the day.
To Honor and Serve wants no part of restraint at this point.
To Honor and Serve, as usual, with his head in the air. Unfortunately, I was busy yapping with Bobby Frankel's former assistant Jose Cuevas and Kiaran McLaughlin's assistant Artie Magnuson and was too late shooting him working. But he looked super. Ignominious way to end a very special morning. On to Santa Anita.