Hidden Scroll ‘Comfortably Rating’ Behind Horses In Friday Breeze

by | 03.15.2019 | 2:20pm
Hidden Scroll won his career debut by 14 lengths

Juddmonte Farms, Inc.'s Hidden Scroll breezed a half-mile in 50.20 seconds Friday morning at Payson Park in Indiantown, FL receiving a little education in rating while preparing for a scheduled start in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park March 30.

'I thought it was very good,” trainer Bill Mott said. “We purposely put him behind another horse. We sent a lead horse out in front of him. They actually went off in 13 (seconds), 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, who debuted with a spectacular front-running 14-length victory on the Jan. 26 Pegasus World Cup Invitational undercard at Gulfstream Park Jan. 26, came up short in the stretch to finish fourth as the 6-5 favorite in the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream March 2. The 3-year-old son of Hard Spun became involved in a heated speed duel with longshot Gladiator King while setting rapid fractions of 22.80 and 45.69 for the first half-mile of the 1 1/16-mile stakes under Joel Rosario. Hidden Scroll continued to show the way into mid-stretch before faltering late, checking in three lengths behind victorious Code of Honor.

“I guess considering as fast as he went early, the fact that he was able to finish up at all was actually quite remarkable. 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,” Mott said. “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 breeze, the Juddmonte homebred's first since the Fountain of Youth, was designed to give Hidden Scroll a taste of 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. He 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,” Mott said. “The work was 50-and-a-fifth 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.”

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will ride Hidden Scroll for the first time in the Florida Derby.

“There's a change in riders. As everyone knows, Joel Rosario 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 said. “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 is hoping the pace scenario in the Florida Derby will not be nearly as testing for Hidden Scroll as it turned out to be in the Fountain of Youth.

“Pace is always dependent on who's in the race. You never know if you're going to have the same group and the same matchup. I think we've got to be ready if there's a crazy pace; we're going to have to be ready to maybe give him a chance early in the race and rate a little bit,” the Hall of Fame trainer said.

Mott plans to give Hidden Scroll a tune-up breeze next weekend before shipping him to Gulfstream Park two days before the Florida Derby to school in the paddock and gate.

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