Juddmonte Farms Inc.'s Hidden Scroll (Hard Spun), fourth in Gulfstream's GII Fountain of Youth S. Mar. 2, breezed a half-mile in :50.20 (Video Courtesy XBTV< Friday morning at Payson Park in advance of a scheduled start in the GI Florida Derby at Gulfstream Mar. 30.
'I thought it was very good,” trainer Bill Mott confirmed. “We purposely put him behind another horse. We sent a lead horse out in front of him. They actually went off in :13, :13, so they went off in :26. I wanted to make sure he was comfortably rating behind another horse, and he went off and was on the rider's fingertips.”
Hidden Scroll, a front-running 14-length winner at Gulfstream Jan. 26, tired late as the 6-5 favorite while setting a quick pace (:22.80 and :45.69) in the 1 1/16th-mile Florida Derby prep.
“I guess considering as fast as he went early, the fact that he was able to finish up at all was actually quite remarkable,” offered Mott. “I think it leaves us at a little bit of a loss to know where we're at. We're at a little bit of a learning stage with him. Not only do we have to find out if he can rate a little bit, we have to find out if he can truly get a mile and an eighth real well. If we go back to the Florida Derby, you're adding another 1/16th of a mile, which he'll have to rate a little bit in order to get that distance.”
Friday's work, Hidden Scroll's first breeze since the Fountain of Youth, was intended to give the colt some instruction in rating.
“Both the rider and the horse ate a lot of dirt, but [Hidden Scroll] got the experience and he let the dirt hit him,” said Mott. “[The rider] pulled him out at the 3/16ths pole and he went out and joined his company. I told him to let them finish together, which they did. The work was [:50 1/5] for Hidden Scroll, but he came home in :24, which is nice–:12, :12–and he galloped out really well. He actually got five-eighths in 1:02-and-change.”
Asked about whether there might be any adjusments for the Florida Derby, Mott confirmed Javier Castellano has been retained to ride the Judmonte hombred for the first time.
“As everyone knows, Joel Rosario [Hidden Scroll's rider in the Fountain of Youth] was on last year's 2-year-old champion [Game Winner] and we felt if we go back in the Florida Derby, it's probably a good time to make a change and let somebody else get accustomed to the horse,” Mott explained. “Javier Castellano has the mount right now. He's a well-seasoned rider. He's been in those kind of races. Hopefully, it will be a good fit.”
Mott indicated Hidden Scroll will be given his final breeze next weekend before shipping him to Gulfstream two days before the Florida Derby to school in the paddock and gate.
Also preparing for Gulfstream's marquee race, Bourbon War (Tapit) tuned up with a half-mile breeze at Gulfstream Friday morning. The Bourbon Lane Stable and Late Star Stable's campaigned colt, who finished a fast-closing second in the Fountain of Youth, was caught in :50.50 (Video Courtesy XBTV). Trainer Mark Hennig, who delayed the work from 7:30 to 9 a.m. due to early-morning rain, said he decided to give Bourbon War a maintenance breeze.
“I thought the track might be a little heavy,” Hennig affirmed. “I wanted to go with a maintenance work this week and we can sharpen him up next week, kind of what did last time prior to the Fountain of Youth.”
In regards to his eye-catching finishing in the Fountain of Youth, Hennig explained, “I was very impressed. I think he was just hitting his stride. I thought it took him a little while to transition off the turn. He kind of had to swing a little wider than he wanted to. Irad [Ortiz Jr] also mentioned that he had to wait on the turn when those horses were backing up and didn't want to make his move and have to check. He said he waited and tried to be patient rather than move too soon and be forced into where he'd be stopped and have to be restart. He felt like he could definitely been closer.”
The colt, broke his maiden at first asking in a mile event originally scheduled for turf at Aqueduct Nov. 11, retruned three weeks later to finish fourth in the Dec. 1 GII Remsen S. at the Ozone oval. Bourbon War kicked off his 3-year-old season with a comfortable win in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance Jan. 19 at Gulfstream.