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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Mott: Hofburg Has Moved Forward for Belmont Stakes

Trainer Bill Mott was upbeat Sunday morning following Hofburg's five-furlong workout in company with Good Samaritan over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga.
Ridden by Neil Poznansky and working outside of Good Samaritan, Hofburg completed the breeze in 1:01.03 before drawing away from his stablemate past the wire.
"We wanted to do a little bit more with Hofburg than with Good Samaritan," said Mott. "We let them both work under the wire, then I wanted to make sure Hofburg had a good gallop out. Both horses went well, and I was very pleased. Hofburg couldn't have worked better."
Hofburg, a Juddmonte Farms homebred, broke his maiden in March at Gulfstream Park in his second start, and first one this year. He finished second, beaten three lengths by Audible, in the Florida Derby and then finished seventh by 8 3/4 lengths in the Kentucky Derby after being steadied twice on the far turn.
"We loved him as a 2-year-old a year ago at this time, and we liked his chances going into the Kentucky Derby," said Mott. "I know he wasn't very seasoned and he had only three races going into it and there were probably a few people who were quite skeptical about us running him in the Derby off only three races, but I felt very confident in him and I think he ran a good race. He didn't get the desired trip and he had a little traffic problem during the course of the running of the Derby. If you are going to run in the Kentucky Derby, that can happen if you are a closing kind of horse who has to come through traffic."
Mott said he is hopeful that having five weeks between the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes will help Hofburg turn the tables on Justify.
"Justify is a very good horse," Mott said. "We have a lot of respect for him, he's very talented, he's got a lot of speed. His advantage, probably, is that he gets away from the gate good and shakes loose from the field. Whether that's going to happen or not, I don't know. He has a lot of natural speed.
"We've had good time to recover from the Derby, which probably makes it a bigger challenge for Justify. I don't think there's any doubt about it. We didn't hit the board in the Derby and didn't see any big advantage to running in the Preakness. We just pointed for the Belmont. We have to do what's best for us, and that's what we did."
Mott is seeking his second Belmont Stakes victory, having won the 2010 renewal with Drosselmeyer.
"I have a lot of confidence in him" said Mott. "I feel very good about him. It's no walk in the park. You got to go run around Belmont, a mile and a half. We don't take the challenge lightly, but that's what we're here for.
"I don't think we have regressed any," added Mott. "I think we have moved forward. The main thing is that he comes out of this work in good shape. We'll get down to Belmont and get him familiar with his surroundings down there, and if that goes well we will be ready to go."
Mott said Hofburg will ship down to Belmont Park on Monday or Tuesday.
Edited NYRA release

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