Hoffa's Union Bought, Pointed to Florida Derby
Winner of Single Race Impressed
Hoffa’s Union, an impressive maiden winner at Laurel Park in his career debut last month, is being pointed to the Xpressbet.com Florida Derby.
Hoffa’s Union was purchased by a group headed by Gary Barber and Adam Wachtel and turned over to Mark Casse following a front-running 15 1/2-length romp against fellow 3-year-olds on Feb. 28 while under the care of Gary Capuano. He was timed in 1:43.61 for about 1 1/16 mile, which is configured around two turns at Laurel.
The gelded son of 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, acquired for $11,000 as a 2-year-old in training last May by Capuano, has been working at Casse’s training center in Ocala since the private sale.
“So far I haven’t done a whole lot with him, just galloping. He didn’t run that long ago. We’ve got him here with us and he’s a beautiful, beautiful horse,” Casse said. “We’re looking right now at the Florida Derby. We kind of like the timing of it. Obviously, it’s going to be a huge step, but as long as he’s doing well, we’re going to take a shot.
“If you look at his numbers, he stacks up with all those guys,” Casse said. “It’s a tall task and a big jump up in class, but if he can come back and repeat the numbers that he ran in his first start, it puts him right there with the best of them.
“He was so impressive. He ran fast. He ran faster than older horses,” Casse added. “He ran a good Beyer number and ran a good Ragozin number and just was impressive. The guys got together and bought him, and I was lucky enough to get to train him.”
Hoffa's Union wasn't early-nominated to the Triple Crown, but there's plenty of time to make a late nomination for $6,000.
Edited release with additional content by Dick Downey