Dana Wimpfheimer

Hofburg Logs First Breeze for Kentucky Derby

Tapit colt finished second in the Florida Derby (G1) last time out.

In his first work since a runner-up effort in the Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1), Juddmonte Farms' Hofburg cruised through a half-mile in :49.02 April 15 at Payson Park Training Center to prepare for a start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1).

The Florida Derby was the third start of Hofburg's career. He finished fourth at Saratoga Race Course in his September debut and broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park March 3.

Trainer Bill Mott, who missed a connecting flight Saturday night from Charlotte, N.C., because of mechanical problems leaving Louisville, 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 in Indiantown, Fla.

"This is his first work back. He hadn't breezed since the Florida Derby," Mott said. "We gave him plenty of time to recover from that race ... and it sounded like it was good. It sounds like he went very well."

Mott said, depending on weather, he might 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 three lengths behind Florida Derby winner Audible and 7 3/4 lengths 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've been in the 1970s 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."

Although he missed the breeze, Mott, who had the work recorded, said he had no concerns working Hofburg Sunday morning.

"I have complete confidence in my staff," the Hall of Fame horseman said. "They all pulled together very well, and that's why it went well this morning."