Every day, we scour the work tabs at racetracks all over North America, looking for that gem of a morning exercise that just may put that horse on the top shelf and ready for a top performance. Some of the horses that track, you will know.  Some of them, you may not know — yet.  But you may want to get to know them before they score big with a winning effort that you could be part of and have a bet down on.  Here is a closer look at today’s work tab:

  1. Dabster, the $1,000,000 baby of Curlin who appeared early this year to be a top contender in the barn of Bob Baffert, has not been out in the afternoon since a dynamic race string back in January at Santa Anita.  This one, who was my Winter Book bet for the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown Series, has been working steadily for a return to the races, though, and he was back on the track with a purpose this a.m. This morning, he breezed 5Fs in an ultra-impressive :59.40 handily over the fast dirt track, which was the second best time out of 48 to go that distance.  Keep your eye out for this one’s return.  He looks to be ready.
  2. Blind Ambition, a nice turf runner for the barn of Todd Pletcher, worked a half mile at Belmont Park this morning, going a half-mile in :48.48, breezing over a fast dirt surface. That was the 5th best time out of 51 to go that far. This talented son of Tapit won his last time out on Oct. 5 at Belmont Park after a disappointing fifth in the Better Talk Now Stakes at Saratoga. He now has 4 wins in 8 starts, with a third to go along, this year and has upped his career earnings to over $168,000.  Pletcher has to find the right spot for this one, but when he does, he can get the job done.  On a personal note, I purchased a Birdstone colt out of Beach this past January at the Keenland Winter Sale.  Beach is a full sister to Blind Ambition.  I am looking forward to getting this colt broken to saddle and ready to go to trainer Stephen Lyster by the first of the year for a try at a 2YO season.
  3. Abbreviate, a 3YO filly by Harlan’s Holiday who is owned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by Chad Brown, put in an impressive morning show today at Belmont Park.  The filly worked a half mile in :47.89 breezing over the fast dirt surface, which was the 2nd best time out of 32 to go. She broke her maiden on Sept. 15 at Belmont Park and is now entered in an Allowance-Optional Claimer at the Big Sandy on Oct. 25.  Watch out.
  4. Paradise Woods, a runaway winner of the Santa Anita Oaks before disappointing in the Kentucky Oaks, seems to have righted the ship what with her last victory and subsequent works and looks to be back on track to make a serious run at the favored Stellar Wind and Elate in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff now. She worked 6Fs this morning at Santa Anita in 1:14.00 handily, which was the second best time out of 5 to go that distance for trainer Richard Mandella. It will take her best effort to date to handle that crowd, but she has flashed the talent to do it briefly this year.
  5. McCraken, winner of the Sam Davis at Tampa Bay Downs this Spring and third in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on his way to the Kentucky Derby, was back on the track at Churchill Downs on Thursday for trainer Ian Wilkes.  He went 6 furlongs in 1:14.60 breezing over a fast dirt track.  That was the bullet work out of 3 to go that far. He is being pointed to the Fayette Handicap at Keeneland on Oct. 28, the final day of the Fall Meet. We will reach out to Ian over the next 24 hours to get an update on the talented son of Ghostzapper, who won the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill and came within inches of winning the G1 Haskell Invitational this summer at Monmouth Park.