(Bill Mott trains Hidden Scroll, who will be ML favorite for Saturday’s G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

Gulfstream Park Media Team:

Hidden Scroll distinguished himself as a 3-year-old colt with a big future when the son of Hard Spun debuted at Gulfstream Park with a handy 14-length romp in his debut Jan. 26.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was so dazzled by the Juddmonte Farms homebred’s performance that he has given the Kentucky-bred colt the ultimate vote of confidence by entering him in Saturday’s $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream. Running a colt in a graded-stakes in only his second career start – no matter how impressive that colt’s first race may have been – isn’t something that the consummate horseman would do on a whim.

“You have to have one win like he did the first time and come out of it in good order. He’s got an awfully good mind. Usually, after a first race, horses will get a little hyped up and you have to wait for them to come back down. He eats well and has been good in his training. His works have been good,” Mott said. “This isn’t a normal situation for us to jump right into a graded stake, but it’s that time of year and he’s doing well enough that we’re going to give him this one shot and see where it takes us.”

Debuting in a mile maiden special weight race, Hidden Scroll broke on top and was never threatened while skipping over a sloppy track and covering the one-turn distance in 1:34.82 under a hand ride.

“We know he likes the slop. If a track comes up like that again, we’ll feel comfortable the he will get over it again. His works have been good over a dry, fast track and a regular type racetrack. We feel pretty good about that as well,” the three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer said. “His time would lend itself to being a pretty good race.”

Last year, Mott was so impressed by Hofburg’s maiden victory at Gulfstream Park in his second lifetime start that he entered the Juddmonte homebred in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1). The son of Tapit closed late to finish second behind Audible to earn a berth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), in which he was steadied twice while rallying from 15th to seventh.

“This horse has a lot more natural speed than Hofburg had. They’re both nice horses. This horse has early speed. Hofburg could run and was a nice colt. He finished up well and ran very well in the Florida Derby. It was a very good race and he actually ran well in the Kentucky Derby. He had traffic trouble and came running. He ran well over a very wet track,” Mott said. “This horse has a very different running style. He can put himself up into the race early in the race if you want him there. Tactically, I think he has a little advantage.”

Mott has built an incredible resume since saddling his first starter in 1973. He has saddled the winners of more than 4,900 races, including a vast number of graded-stakes. A Kentucky Derby win isn’t on Mott’s resume yet, but he has only saddled eight horses for the first leg of the Triple Crown.

“We’ve had Derby horses before. As time has gone on, I’ve said, ‘This year we have our best chance. This year we have our best chance.’ It actually does seem that we’ve made improvement as the years go by,” said Mott, who is pointing Aqueduct maiden winner Tacitus to the Tampa Bay Derby. “We have a couple exciting horses this year.”