(Bolt d’Oro gets a major work out at Santa Anita this morning)

Every day, we scour the work tabs at racetracks and training facilities all over North America. We are searching for those horses that appear to be peaking at just the right time and may be sitting on a top performance in the afternoons. Some of the horses that we watch and track, you will know. Others, though, you may not recognize — yet. Here is a closer look at some of today’s morning glories:

  1. Stormy Liberal, the 6YO gelding by Stormy Atlantic and the winner of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar, got his 4th published workout since his 11th place finish in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint back in December this morning at Del Mar. The gelding worked 6-furlongs for trainer Peter Miller in 1:15 flat, which was the best of 3 to go the distance. This was the longest that he has worked since the return to the races, and he may be pointed toward the Santa Anita Hill Course soon.
  2. Believe in Royalty, the well-bred son of Tapit and Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, was back on the track at the Fair Grounds this morning for trainer Larry Jones. Since winning back-to-back races at Laurel Park last fall, this guy has fallen on some hard times. He ran a troubled sixth in the Remington Springboard Mile, which was won by the more experienced Greyvitos. After that, jockey Robby Albarado sprinted the colt to a clear lead in the LeComte Stakes at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 13, but he tired badly in that one, and finished 12th. The only horse he bested that day was the one that was eased. After that debacle, he got some time to relax, and today was his first serious exercise since the LeComte. He went a nice half mile in :49.80, which was the 24th best time out of 40 to go the distance. It may be awhile for he is back to the races, but it is great to see this colt stretch his legs once again.
  3. Combatant, a nice son of Scat Daddy who is trained by Steve Asmussen, worked over the main dirt track at Oaklawn Park this morning. He breezed an easy half-mile in :50.60, which was the 13th best of 33 to go the distance. It would not surprise at all if he is entered today for the Southwest Stakes to be held at Oaklawn on Monday. This guy ran second to Greyvitos in the Remington Springboard Mile, and followed that up with a second to Mourinho in the Smarty Jones Stakes in Hot Springs on Jan. 15. This one looks ready for his next move up.
  4. New York Central, another one of the talented 3YO colts in the barn of Asmussen, worked about the same at Oaklawn this morning, too. He breezed a half mile in :50.40, which was a tick better than his roommate and the 11th best time of the day. This son of Tapit ran second to a nice Medaglia d’Oro colt by the name of Higher Power, owned by Pin Oak Stables at Oaklawn on Jan. 13. New York Central may go in the Southwest Stakes, too.
  5. Northern Trail, who ran second to Dak Attack in the Ellis Park Juvenile last summer, worked this morning at Oaklawn Park. He covered the half mile distance in :52.80, which was 31st out of 33. Don’t be surprised if trainer Wayne Catalano may give him a try against the Stakes boys on Monday, either.
  6. Untrapped, who ran 12th in the 2017 Kentucky Derby for Team Asmussen, has returned to solid form since that debacle in the Run for the Roses. Since then, he has posted a win in the Oklahoma Derby, a second in the Zia Park Derby, two thirds in the Ohio and Indiana Derbies, and a fourth in the Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn on Jan. 12. He worked a half mile this morning in :50.80, which was slower than either of the barn’s top 3YOs. Just writing…
  7. Always Dreaming, winner of the 2017 Kentucky Derby, worked this morning at Palm Beach Downs for trainer Todd Pletcher. The big guy rolled through a half mile in :49.87, which was the bullet work out of 4 to go. Working his way back to you…
  8. Bolt d’oro, considered by many to have been the best 2YO in the land a year ago and the one to beat in this year’s Kentucky Derby, worked at Santa Anita for trainer/owner Mick Ruis this morning. He went 5-furlongs in :59.40, which was the bullet of the day out of 23 to go that far. Eye popping.  We will seek comment.
  9. Curly’s Rocket, a talented Into Mischief colt from the barn of Bob Baffert, worked the same distance as Bolt d’Oro at Santa Anita this morning. He went the distance in 1:00.60, which was 7th best. This speedster broke his maiden at SA on Feb. 3. Look for this one to come back soon. Can he stretch out?
  10. Once on Whiskey, who closed from far off the pace to run second to Curly’s Rocket in the MSW event on Feb. 3, worked 5 furlongs, as well. He went the distance in 1:00.40, which was a tick faster than his roommate. This one — a son of Bodemeister — is on my “Derby Watch List” despite the fact that he is still a maiden. This guy is a legit closer. Do yourself a favor and put him on your list, too.