(Malagacy looks to be about ready to return to the races for trainer Todd Pletcher)

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 to make a prime performance in the afternoon soon. Some of the horses that we track and watch, you will readily recognize and know. Others, though, you may not be familiar with — yet. Here is a closer look at some of today’s morning glories:

  1. Aspening, a 3YO daughter of Candy Ride who is owned by Glen Hill Farm and SF Racing who has a third in her only start to date, was back on the track at the Fair Grounds this morning for trainer Tom Proctor. She breezed a half mile in :48.80, which was the 4th best time out of 30 to work over the dirt track in New Orleans this morning. Keep an eye on this one. She could be ready to pop her next time out.
  2. Big Bend, a 4YO son of Union Rags who disappointed with an 8th place run in the Woodchopper Stakes at the Fair Grounds on Dec. 30, returned to the Fair Ground dirt track for a work today for the first time since the race. He went a half mile in :49.60, which was the 13th best time out of 30 to go that distance. This guy went into the Woodchopper with a 3-race win streak, including a triumph in the G3 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 19. He should rebound off his last race, which was dominated by Mr. Misunderstood — who remains undefeated on the grass in his career.
  3. Hieroglyphics, a 4YO son of Pioneerof the Nile who won the Better Talk Now Stakes at Saratoga back in August of 2017, worked at the Palm Beach Downs track for trainer Todd Pletcher this morning. He went an easy half-mile in :52.16, which was the 5th best time out of 7 to go that far. This was his fifth work in a row since Nov. 17. He still looks to be a ways away from a return.
  4. Malagacy, who started his career with a perfect run of 3-for-3 before running fifth in the G1 Arkansas Derby last April, has not been seen in the afternoons since that last race. But Todd Pletcher continues to prepare this one for a return to the races. He got his 8th work since Nov. 27 today, going 5Fs in 1:01.05. That was the best of 2 to go the distance at the Palm Beach Downs training track. He should be about ready for a return soon. I’m in.
  5. Mubtaahij, who is now a 6YO and is coming off a third place finish in the G3 Native Diver after running a dismal 8th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic against the great Gun Runner, worked for trainer Bob Baffert at Santa Anita this morn. He went a half mile in an easy :50.60, which was the 20th best time out of 23. What is next for this Irish-bred? I would think that Team Baffert will find him a Stakes event soon.