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Spielberg “Doing Well,” Greatest Honour “Plenty Fit” For Florida Derby
Spielberg (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Spielberg “Doing Well,” Greatest Honour “Plenty Fit” For Florida Derby

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Sunday morning, Courtlandt Farms’ Greatest Honour posted a 1/2-mile breeze at Payson Park, while on the other side of the country, Spielberg breezed 5 furlongs at Santa Anita Park as both tuned up for a scheduled start at Gulfstream Park in Saturday’s $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby Presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm at Xalapa (G1).

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Spielberg, a son of Union Rags trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, was timed in 59.40 seconds, the second-fastest clocking of 81 workouts recorded at the distance.

“He went well. He’s very workmanlike and he’s steady,” Baffert said. “He’s doing well.”

Spielberg is slated to make his third 2021 start in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby, which has produced the winners of 60 Triple Crown events.

In his 2021 debut, the Kentucky-bred colt stumbled at the start of the Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita before finishing fourth behind Baffert-trained winner Medina Spirit. He then finished second February 27 in the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park behind unbeaten Essential Quality.

Spielberg had a productive 6-race juvenile campaign in which he finished second in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and third in the American Pharoah (G1) at Santa Anita before breaking his maiden in his fourth start. He went on to win the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) 2 starts later.

Javier Castellano has the mount on Spielberg, who is owned by SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Golconda Stables, Siena Farm LLC, and Robert Masterson.

Greatest Honour, who is coming off an impressive off-the-pace win in the February 27 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream, was timed in 50.40 seconds.

“I liked the way he worked. The other day, he went off a little quicker than I wanted,” his Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said. “I impressed upon (the rider) to just let him ease away from the pole and finish up strong, which he did. I got the last 1/4 (mile) in 13 and change.”

The son of Tapit broke his maiden in his fourth career start December 26 at Gulfstream before capturing the January 30 Holy Bull (G3) by 5 3/4 lengths and establishing himself as a prime Triple Crown candidate with a going-away 1 1/2-length victory in the Fountain of Youth.

“He’s not a good work horse, but I thought this was a lot like his work before the Fountain of Youth, maybe better,” McGaughey said.

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