(Instilled Regard wins the LeComte Stakes at the Fair Grounds / Photo Courtesy of the Fair Grounds)
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:
- Candygram, a 3YO colt by Candy Ride and trained by James Jerkens, has raced only once in his career to date, and that came on Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park. He ran fifth on debut, although well supported at the betting windows. It all looked good early on, when he sprinted to a quick and early lead. He faded late, but not surprising since he set the fractions of :22.76 and :45.70. He was back on the training track this morning at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida. And, in his first work since that race, he was spectacular. He went 3-furlongs in :35.95, which was the best of 6 to go that distance. Keep an eye on this guy. He can motor.
- Heart to Heart, a super warrior for trainer Brian Lynch, worked at Palm Meadows today on the turf. The 7YO horse, who has 14 wins, 5 seconds and 3 thirds in 34 lifetime starts and earnings over $1.7 million, breezed a half-mile over the turf course in :47.90 — which was the bullet work out of 21 to go. The son of English Channel got his first G1 win in his last start — the Gulfstream Park Turf Stakes. Loves it down South.
- Gotta Go, who was on the Derby trail before he threw in a clunker 6th in the Fountain of Youth Stakes in his last try, was back on the training track at Palm Meadows for Ian Wilkes this a.m. He went an easy half-mile in :49.20, which was the 4th best time out of 12. This son of Shanghai Bobby won the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs last fall and showed tremendous promise when he closed with a purpose to finish second behind Strike Power in the Swale Stakes to start the year. It will be interesting to see where Wilkes places this one next. He is talented.
- Midnight Bisou, one of the leading contenders for this year’s Kentucky Oaks, trained at Santa Anita this morning for trainer Bill Spawr. The Midnight Lute filly went an easy half mile in :51.60, which was the 17th best time out of 21. It was her first exercise since winning the G3 Santa Ysabel in style. That race was scheduled to be a shoot-out between Midnight Bisou and Dream Tree, the talented and undefeated filly from the barn of Bob Baffert. But when the rains came and the track turned muddy, Baffert decided to scratch his filly and wait. Now, the showdown is scheduled to come in the Santa Anita Oaks. Watch out.
- Instilled Regard, who won the LeComte Stakes at the Fair Grounds impressively before turning in a dull fourth in the G2 Risen Star Stakes over the same track, was back in action this morning at Santa Anita. The son of Arch toured the 5-furlong breeze in 1:03.40, which was the 28th best time out of 42. It was only three races ago that this guy finished head and head with McKinzie and Solomini in the Cash Call Futurity at Los Alamitos. Throw out the last, and he would figure to be in the top 10 for this year’s Kentucky Derby, right? I will give him another try. He’s on the AE List for The Pressbox’s Derby Rankings list.