(Lookin At Lee trained before the 2017 Kentucky Derby / Photo Courtesy of Coady Photography & Churchill Downs)

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 ready for a prime performance in the afternoons. Some of the horses that we track, you will readily recognize. Others, though, you may not know — yet. Here is a closer look at some of today’s morning glories:

  1. Casino Red, a 3YO daughter of Tamayuz who was bred in Ireland, worked this morning for trainer Patty Gallagher at Santa Anita. She went a half-mile over the dirt track in a time of :49.60, which was third best of 5 to go the distance. This grass expert broke her maiden at first asking in NA after starting her career across the pond. She came back to run 6th in the Jimmy Durante Stakes at Del Mar on Nov. 25. But she was beaten only about 3 lengths in her first Stakes attempt — which just so happened to be her first try against winners, too. So, don’t be too judgmental about her performance. New York shippers for George Weaver, Chad Brown and Christophe Clement ran first, second and third that day. Watch for this one’s return pretty soon. Today’s work was her fourth since the last race and she appears ready for race action.
  2. Lookie Loo, a 4YO colt by Candy Ride who is in the barn of Bob Baffert, has not raced since he ran third on debut in March of 2017. However, this guy has been prepping regularly and is training well enough to consider the first time he hits the track in the afternoon again. He went 5Fs at Santa Anita this morning in a time of 1:01 flat, which was the bullet of 9 to go. It was his 10th published work since Nov. 17 of last year. He should be ready to fill the entry box soon. Keep an eye on this guy.
  3. Dona Bruja, a 6YO mare trained by Ignacio Correas, is simply amazing. In 14 lifetime starts, she has crossed the finish line in front on 10 occasions and has 3 seconds, as well. The only time she was off the board was in her last start, when she ran 4th in the G1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland last October, in a race won by Zipessa, and she was closing fast in that one, only to lose by less than 2 lengths for all of it. In her four starts in North America, she has won the G3 Old Forester Mint Julep at Churchill Downs, and the G3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington Park. She ran second in the G1 Beverly D at Arlington. She was on the track at Tampa Bay Downs this morning, working 5Fs in a time of 1:01.60 over the dirt track. That was the bullet out of 5 to go the distance. Keep an eye on this classy mare. She now has five published works since mid-December and should be getting ready for a return to action soon.
  4. Lookin At Lee, who ran second to Always Dreaming in the 2017 Kentucky Derby for trainer Steve Asmussen, worked at the Fair Grounds this morning. The 4YO son of Lookin at Lucky covered the half-mile distance over the dirt track in :51 flat, which was the 27th best time out of 35 to go. It was his first published work since he ran 10th in the G1 Travers at Saratoga last August, losing to West Coast. It will be awhile before we see this guy in the afternoon, but it is great to see him back at the track, and, hopefully, on a return schedule.