(Photo of Malagasy, winning the Rebel Stakes / Courtesy of HorseRacingNation)

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

  1. Malagacy, a 4YO son of Shackleford who appeared well on his way to the Kentucky Derby a year ago before something apparently happened while he was running 5th in the Arkansas Derby, is back on the workout trail for trainer Todd Pletcher. Since Nov. 27, he has worked seven times now, and one of those came this morning. He breezed 5Fs at Palm Beach Downs in a time of 1:00.92, which was the bullet out of 4 to go the distance. Keep an eye out for this guy’s return. He won his first three career races, including the G2 Rebel Stakes before the Arkansas Derby and going to the sideline.
  2. Nonna Bella, a 4YO Stay Thirsty filly who won her first two career starts a year ago before running 4th in the G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks and then 10th in the Miss Preakness Stakes before going to the sidelines, is another Pletcher pupil on the comeback trail. She worked this morning with the Pletcher team at Palm Beach Downs, as well, gong 5Fs in 1:02.19.  This was her 8th work since Nov. 10.  She should be ready for a return to the races soon.
  3. One Liner, who is still undefeated after 3 career starts that includes an impressive win in the G3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park nearly a year ago, has not been seen in the afternoons since February 2017. That was his win in the Southwest. This talented son of Into Mischief is drilling for his return, though, and worked for Pletcher at Palm Beach Downs this morning, too. He went 5Fs on the dirt surface in a time of 1:00.92, which equalled his teammate Malagasy for the top time. This guy can run. Flat out. Watch for his return soon.
  4. The Presidency, a 3YO son of War Front is entered to run at Gulfstream Park on 1/6/18. In two previous starts, he ran 5th on debut at Belmont Park in October, and then came back to run fourth at Aqueduct. This guy is trained by James Jerkens, who normally takes his time with youngsters. He should be ready to move up the ladder soon, and he blew out for his upcoming race this morning at Palm Meadows Training Center. He went 3Fs in :36.65, which was the best of two to go the distance. I’ll be watching this one.
  5. McCormick, a talented 4YO Hard Spun colt trained by Ian Wilkes who ran second in the G3 Iowa Derby last July, is training for his return. He had his 5th work since Nov. 21 today, gong 5Fs in 1:01 flat at Palm Meadows. That was the third best time out of 6. After a five-race string where he hit the board in each and won two of those, this guy fell off towards the end of the year, running 7th in both the G3 West Virginia Derby and the G3 Oklahoma Derby. He should be fresh again and ready to roll soon.