McCraken is a contender in the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Photo by ACS Photography

Every day, we scour the work tabs from racetracks all over the country to see if we can spot a horse preparing very well for its’ next appointed round in a competitive event. Some of the horses we target, you will notice and recognize.  Others, you will not know — yet — but you may want to track along with us.  Today, a couple of my favorite “wannabes” worked and I think both of them could be outstanding 3YO colts just down a road a bit.

Just one note, as far as an update…One of the horses that we have been tracking in our works has been the filly, Abbreviate, trained by Chad Brown.  She won Race 5 at Belmont Park today very stylishly, running away to a 31/2-length victory — and it could have been more.  That’s a romp — particularly in a turf race.

Here is a closer look:

  1. Dabster, who cost a $1 million and was my Kentucky Derby “Winter Book” bet of the year, never made it past winter, due to some foot issues (according to my sources).  He was given a break by trainer Bob Baffert, but is now training very forwardly once again. He breezed 5Fs this morning at Los Alamitos in 1:02 over the dirt going. That was good enough to be 7th best out of 14 working that distance.  This son of Curlin now has five consistent works since Aug. 18 and appears to be headed toward a race soon.  Keep an eye out on this one.  The talent is surely there.
  2. Pendleton is another one of my favorite HTW. This son of Giant’s Causeway cost $600,000 as a yearling and just made his career debut on Sept. 1 at Saratoga. He ran sixth in that debut, but had a real excuse — he was three wide going into the turn and was four wide coming out of it.  Any chance this one had to make a real run at the leaders was gone in the 61/2 furlong event on the dirt.  He was back on the Belmont track this morning to do something serious for the first time since the race, and he breezed 4Fs in :49.67 — which was 9th best out of 25 to go that distance. But here is a nice key: it was on the turf training track. Take note. And, watch for this one’s return for trainer Chad Brown.
  3. Classy Tune, a classy 3YO filly by Maclean’s Music, worked this morning at Santa Anita for trainer Simon Callaghan.  She went 4Fs in :50.20 on the dirt surface in an easy maintenance move.  That was 16th out of 20 to go that distance. She is coming off a 3rd place performance in the C.E.R.F. Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 4.  This one should be primed and ready to go when the racing returns to Santa Anita.
  4. McCraken, who has been my favorite 3YO colt all year and who nearly won the G1 Haskell Invitational before a dull performance in the G1 Travers over a track that he seemingly didn’t like, worked with a purpose at Churchill Downs this morning. He went 4Fs in :49.20 breezing for trainer Ian Wilkes, which was 12th best out of 22 to go that distance.
  5. Aquamarine, a sometimes brilliant but temperamental 3YO colt, was brilliant at Churchill Downs this morning for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.  He breezed 5Fs in :59.40 — which was the best of 36.  This cat can roll, but he is mentally ready to race during a race; if he gets too excited beforehand, he has a tendency to run off and be a bit roguish.  Look out for a sprint distance race for him soon.  Looks like he may like being back home.