Hofburg | Horse Profile

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Hofburg Career Statistics      

Last Update: June 2018     

Starts: 4
Win: 1
Place: 1
Show: 0
Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings: $227,950

Owner: Juddmonte Farms
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Pedigree: Tapit – Soothing Touch, by Touch Gold
Recent Finish: 7th, Kentucky Derby G1 (5/5/18)

Hofburg Horse Profile

Hofburg is by leading sire Tapit, whose progeny are known for performing well in the 1 ½ mile Belmont Stakes including 2017 winner Tapwrit. Despite racing just four times with only a maiden win to his credit, the regally-bred Bill Mott-trained Hofburg is getting plenty of early wagering interest in the Belmont as one of the biggest challengers behind the Triple Crown hopeful and prohibitive favorite Justify. Hofburg finished 2nd in his stakes debut in the Florida Derby and then was 7th in the Kentucky Derby coming from the back and having steadied twice before churning to the finish. Onlookers have noted that so far Hofburg is the only horse to gallop out ahead of Justify in any of the favorite’s five starts. Hofburg is expected to be one of the closers running late to the finish trying to beat Justify and hit the board for another payday.

Hofburg Heading Into the Kentucky Derby

Hofburg is a well-bred and lightly-raced colt who made his stakes debut in the Florida Derby. A 2nd place finish behind the favorite and Derby contender Audible was a solid showing and earned Hofburg a spot in the Kentucky Derby. Hofburg was the only colt in that race who was making his first start against winners, and he made a strong closing bid off a fast and furious early pace, coming from 8th position through six furlongs to rally and finish more than 7 lengths in front of the 3rd place finisher. His sizzling 104 BRIS Speed Figure was a career best and his closing style could benefit with much speed and pace expected in the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

Hofburg’s 104 BRIS figure was among the fastest of all Derby runners in their final prep. Only Justify, Bolt d’ Oro and Audible were faster. Speed measures how fast a horse ran a particular race and is comparable across distance, surface, and location. Class measures competition within each race.  

Hofburg will make his Churchill Downs debut in the Derby, and his first run over the track was 4 furlongs in :48.20 seconds, 9th fastest of 73 at the distance that day.  

Key Speed Figures and Stats for Hofburg

  • Final 3/8 mile time in the Florida Derby :37.80 seconds
  • Best BRIS Speed Figure 100 in Florida Derby and 94 Beyer Speed Figure
  • Regally bred with speed and distance pedigree

With other high-class colts getting much of the attention in the Derby, it’s Hofburg who will be one of the best value plays on the board. Trainer Bill Mott has brought this Tapit-colt along slowly after  But even the experienced Mott admits that the trainers and others are guessing when it comes to determining how their colts will handle the 20 horse filed, the crowds and noise and the exposure to 1 ¼ mile distance for the first time.

Twenty years ago Mott became the youngest trainer enshrined in racing’s Hall of Fame. He’s finished no better than 8th in seven previous runs for the roses, and he last saddled a Derby horse in 2009. Juddmonte Farms has not run a horse in the Derby since 2003. But Moss and his owners are more than hopeful with Hofburg. This is a well-bred son of perennially leading sire Tapit and Soothing Touch, a pedigree pattern highlighted by inbreeding to Hall of Famer A.P. Indy. There is an abundance of class on this colts catalog page, and Hofburg is a half-brother to the Empire Maker filly Emollient, a classy and versatile multiple Grade 1-winning filly also trained by Mott. Hofburg earned his name because he is all class and beauty, and he’s been called a very smart horse and professional by his handlers and owners, proving that in his stakes debut in the Florida Derby.   

Mott won the 2010 Belmont Stakes with a double-digit longshot in Drosselmeyer, who also closed to win the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic. So he knows how to train and prepare a horse for a Classic distance, and Hofburg is a rapidly improving colt with a superb pedigree.

Hofburg and Moss will shoot for their Derby dreams knowing too that the last horse to win the Derby in just his fourth start was Big Brown in 2008. And the Florida Derby runner-up has not won the Kentucky Derby since 1991, yet three of the last five Florida Derby winners have went on to win the Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby is projected to have a fast and honest pace, and Hofburg will benefit if he can get room to run when they hit the far turn and head to the finish over the long Churchill stretch. The fact he’s winless outside of his maiden and has limited races with no other wins has Hofburg overlooked in the Derby. Hofburg is an architectural expression of European history, and this talented colt could make Kentucky Derby history and we’ll be shooting for a big score and betting on that opportunity with Hofburg as a value longshot.

Hofburg Kentucky Derby Notes

Though he has been held back by trainer Will Mott, Hofburg has had an intriguing Derby trail that climaxed in a second place finish in the 2018 Florida Derby. That has been his only stakes performance thus far, and while it didn’t result in a victory, it’s helped Hofburg capture the interest of horse players around the country. Being a homegrown colt out of Juddmonte Farms also helps.

Hofburg is the only Tapit colt in the running this year, and debuted in September 2017 during a maiden special weight hosted by Saratoga. He would finish fourth and ultimately return to the drawing board under Mott. Returning to the competitive track in March 2018, he won his maiden using a wide path at Gulfstream. That performance influenced Mott to toss his colt in to the Florida Derby, where he ran well and finished just behind Audible.

Hofburg seems to be taking an abridged and direct path to the Kentucky Derby and is one of the more valued dark horses in the race. He is not near the favorites, but he’s in the next tier down. That’s pretty big respect for a horse that is just 1-1-0 in three starts with $227,950.

Kentucky Derby Thoughts on Hofburg by John Mucciolo

Lightly raced colt put in a strong stretch run to be a clear second in the Florida Derby (G1) and will try to build upon that result in the Kentucky Derby.

Son of Tapit made a belated run to be fourth in his debut at Saratoga in the summer, and resurfaced at Gulfstream Park in March. Colt fired off the layoff when breaking his maiden while toppling a nice field with a wide trip, then was subsequently thrown to the wolves in the Florida Derby four weeks later.

Juddmonte homebred was far from overmatched facing Grade-1 company, though. He produced a stout rally to be a clear second and finished more than seven lengths clear of his nearest foe behind the classy Audible. The result was no fluke.

Trainer Bill Mott is not the most aggressive when placing his horses. So for the Hall of Fame conditioner to put Hofburg in with the best of his generation being so lightly raced speaks volumes to me.

Hofburg has earned BRIS Speed numbers of 96 and 104 this season with a world of room for improvement having raced just three times. The rapidly ascending sophomore has trained very well in preparation of his biggest test. And getting top pilot Irad Ortiz, Jr. to commit to him for the Run of the Roses is a fine coup, as well.

Pedigree players will be all over Hofburg, as he boasts top catalog page in the field. Hofburg is by perennially leading sire Tapit and from one of the top female lines in thoroughbred racing.

Half-brother to two stakes winners, including Grade 1 heroine Emollient, Hofburg is bred to be all class and the Kentucky Derby distance looks ideal for him. The colt sure checks a lot of boxes for me.

I expect Hofburg to relish the 1 ¼ miles and to close as well as any horse in the field. His success will be closely related to how the fractions are established in the Kentucky Derby – a fast and contested tempo will aid his late burst, while a moderate pace will diminish his chances some.
Hofburg is my longshot selection and he will also be a key horse I use in the exotics. I think he is immensely talented with an incredibly high ceiling, and will prove it on Derby Day. His odds figure to be in the 20-1 range at post time.


Learn more about Hofburg

HANSON: Hofburg could 'Tap' into a Belmont Stakes victory over Justify

MUCCIOLO: Could it be Mott’s time with Hofburg?

BRISNET: Hofburg

Kentucky Derby Profile: Hofburg

Watch Hofburg's Belmont Stakes Workouts

Watch Hofburg's Kentucky Derby workout videos