Hofburg's First Breeze Since Florida Derby

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12:37 pm EDT

 May Arrive in Kentucky Soon

Working for the first time since finishing second in the Florida Derby, Hofburg breezed a half-mile Sunday at Payson Park in 49.02.

Mike Welsch, clocker and writer for Daily Racing Form, had Hofburg galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.37 and six furlongs in 1:15.30 while working outside Jim Dandy and New Orleans Handicap winner Good Samaritan. Welsch said the work was “terrific.”

Hofburg made only his third career start in the Florida Derby after finishing fourth at Saratoga last summer in his debut and breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park on March 3.

Trainer Bill Mott said he was pleased with the work after talking to assistant trainer Neil Poznansky and fellow trainer Christophe Clement, who is also stabled at Payson. Mott couldn't be there after a flight to Florida was delayed by mechanical problems.

“This is his first work back, he hadn’t breezed since the Florida Derby,” said Mott by phone. “We gave him plenty of time to recover from that race, and we had been picking it up, picking it up and today was his first breeze and it sounded like it was good. It sounds like he went very well.”

Mott said, depending on weather, he would ship Hofburg to Churchill Downs before his next breeze. “That’s my initial thinking, not to say I couldn’t work him down here again one more time before I go,” he said. "I just want to wait and see. We’ll look at the entire situation and make what I think is the best decision.”

Hofburg, a homebred son of Tapit who finished two lengths behind Florida Derby winner Audible and a half-length in front of third-place finisher Mississippi, is light on experience but “pretty professional acting,” according to Mott.

“I understand he’s short on seasoning in comparison to any horse who’s had six or eight starts, but it looks like a few of them are not as hardened or seasoned as they would have been in the 70s or 80s,” he said. “But this horse was very professional down at Gulfstream Park, he’s done everything right, and he takes the dirt well, and that’s a good thing, particularly when you’re not a so-called speed horse. You have to be able to take the kickback and stay in the race, so he seems to be able to do that. He did it well at Gulfstream, which I know is probably half the size of the Derby (field), but he still handled it well.”

Edited Gulfstream Park release