Mott Says 'Worth A Chance'
Trained by Bill Mott, maiden winnner Hofburg will be entered in the Florida Derby tomorrow.
The Juddmonte Farms homebred out of the Touch Gold mare Soothing Touch was an impressive maiden winner on March 3 at Gulfstream Park in his second career start. He was fourth in his career debut going seven furlongs on Sept. 2 at Saratoga.
Hofburg was stretched out to 1 1/16 mile for the maiden special weight at Gulfstream. He was initially hesitant to load in the starting gate. Once the gates opened, he settled just off the pace, took a clear lead entering the stretch and held on to win by a half-length at 7-1 odds over Just Whistle, who was 36-1. Traveling Midas was another 4 3/4 lengths back in third at 3-1 odds, while Personal Time, the even-money favorite, was fourth, beaten six lengths.
“We don’t have a lot of seasoning in us, but the one good thing is we did have a race last August at Saratoga, and he ran really well," Mott said. "We’ve been pretty high on the colt all along. He had time after that race, and his race here was very good. It was over the race track, he had a wide trip and came out a winner.
“It’s a big reach, but looking at what’s probably available for him, we just thought it was worth taking a chance with him,” he added. “We’ve always regarded him pretty well and thought we’d give it a try.”
Mott, seeking his first Florida Derby victory, is hoping Hofburg’s pedigree and ability can help overcome his lack of experience. Juddmonte won the 2003 Florida Derby with subsequent Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker.
In addition to being by leading sire Tapit, Hofburg’s half-sister Emollient, also trained by Mott, won six of 18 starts including four grade 1 races and more than $1.3 million in purses from 2012 to 2014.
“She broke her maiden on the dirt and won an a-other-than on the dirt and then she wound up being a multiple grade 1 winner on the synthetic and on the turf, but she was a very good mare,” Mott said. “This colt comes from a good female line and a good sire line, so he’s got a lot going for him.”
The Florida Derby anchors a spectacular March 31 program that includes seven stakes, five graded, worth $2.3 million in purses. The field is expected to include Holy Bull winner Audible, Fountain of Youth winner Promises Fulfilled, Remsen and With Anticipation winner Catholic Boy, Swale winner Strike Power, Dania Beach winner Speed Franco, Millionaire Runner, Storm Runner and Tip Sheet.
Post positions will be drawn beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Frankey’s Sports Bar in the Village at Gulfstream Park. The draw will be streamed on Facebook.com/gulfstreampark and XBTV.com.
Edited Gulfstream Park release with additional content by Dick Downey