Every day, we scour the work tabs at racetracks all over the country. We are looking for works that may indicate whether or not a horse is doing well or seems to be peaking at just the right time for the next appointed race.  Some of the horses we follow, you will know. Some of them, you may not — yet.  Here is a closer look at recent works:

  1. Dabster, who was my Winter Book bet for this year’s Kentucky Derby, has been working steadily at Los Alamitos for trainer Bob Baffert.  This morning, this son of Curlin — who cost $1,000,000 to buy — covered 5Fs in 1:01.80, which was the 14th best time out of 16 to go the distance. After running fourth in his career debut at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, 2016, Dabster was stretched out to two turns and he broke his maiden on Jan. 16, 2017 at the Great Race Place. But just when it looked like Baffert may have another Derby contender, this talented colt went to the sidelines with what appeared to be a case of hoof issues. Today marked Dabster’s 7th officially-timed work since Aug. 18.  Keep an eye on this one’s return.
  2. Valiant Minister is another high-priced colt (purchased for $680,000 at OBS 2YO Sale in 2015) on the comeback trail for Baffert. This one worked 3Fs in :37 flat at Los Alamitos, which was third best out of 7.  This son of Candy Ride has made only 1 career start to date, and that was a winning one.  On Jan. 14, 2017, he galloped away to an easy 21/4-length victory over a nice colt by the name of Lord Simba.  The third place finisher was another 13 lengths back.  Today’s work was this one’s first published exercise since that race.  Keep an eye out for this fragile thing, though.  When right, he’s right.
  3. Douglas Road is a 3YO colt that we have highlighted on several occasions. He breezed 5Fs at Fair Hill today, going the distance in a time of 1:01 flat.  That was the 3rd best time out of 12 to work over the all weather track there.  This son of The Factor has run two straight seconds after breaking his maiden at Delaware Park for trainer Arnaud Delacour — the last one coming at Kentucky Downs.  This turf specialist is sure to break that allowance condition soon. Keep an eye out.
  4. McCraken, my Derby pick this year and one of my most favorite horses of the year, worked his morning at Churchill Downs.  He went 4Fs in :48.80 breezing, which was the 16th best time out of 48 to go that far this morning.  I will reach out to trainer Ian Wilkes to see how he went the move went. Stay tuned.
  5. Lyrics, a talented 3YO filly by Speightstown owned by Ramona Bass, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, worked 4Fs at Golden Gate Fields on Thursday for trainer Richard Mandella. She went the distance in :48.80 handily, which was the second best time out of 23 to work. This filly broke her maiden on the grass at Santa Anita this July 4.  Since then, she has run a disappointing ninth, and, most recently, a third at Golden Gate on Sept. 3.  She should be ready for a big effort in her next out.