With two weeks left until his next start in the March 17 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, Amerman Racing Stable's Siphonic took another positive step forward with a seven-furlong work in 1:28 over a fast Hollywood Park track Friday morning. Regular exercise rider Michelle Jensen was back aboard for the drill, which was clocked in splits of :25 2/5, :38 1/5, :51, 1:03 1/5, and 1:15 by trainer David Hofmans. After pulling Siphonic up, Jensen had just one word to describe the move: "Awesome!"Hofmans echoed his satisfaction."The track is really dead, I mean really dead today," the conditioner explained. "So that was exactly what I wanted; a nice, easy effort."Despite recent developments that included a cancelled workout due to a spiked fever and the fact that regular rider Jerry Bailey accepted the mount on fellow Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hopeful Repent for the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), Hofmans remained confident in Siphonic's abilities and dismissive of the pressure."I try not to let (the pressure) get to me," Hofmans said. "I do notice it and sometimes it does interfere, but I have to just push it aside. People's opinions are people's opinions and I can't change that. I know this horse is doing well, training well and that's all that really matters. I just stay with the plan and not worry about what everyone thinks. As long as Mr. Amerman and I are thinking the same thing, all is well."I'm used to the pressure," Hofmans continued. "I trained Dramatic Gold, who was criticized from the beginning. It didn't matter what he did or how well he was doing, he was always the subject of criticism. But he always proved them wrong. He was a lot of good things, but mostly a lesson in handling the criticism and pressure."Hofmans will be paying especially close attention to Saturday's San Rafael Stakes (gr. II), which features a top-notch field that includes fellow grade I winner Came Home.
"I'm going to be paying attention to all the three-year-old races, actually" Hofmans said. "I want to see what horses are improving, what direction they're all going in, who will probably move forward and who may not, and, of course, all the jockey maneuvering that's likely going to go on."As for Siphonic's regular rider, Jerry Bailey, the diplomatic conditioner said only, "I received a call from his agent earlier this week and we're all set for the 17th."