Mike Pegram's grade III winner Danthebluegrassman, who hasn't started since a ninth-place finish in the Ack Ack Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs on Oct. 27, returned to the track Thursday for his first official workout since then, completing four furlongs in :49 2/5 handily at Santa Anita.
The 4-year-old has been galloping at Hollywood Park for the past 45 days and arrived back at trainer Bob Baffert's home base of Santa Anita on Wednesday.
"He had a little minor throat surgery to help him breathe a little better," Baffert said. "But you heard it here first – Danthebluegrassman is going to be a force to be reckoned with this year."
The son of Pioneering was considered a top Triple Crown threat last year and was entered in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) before being withdrawn a day before the race due to a minor injury.
Danthebluegrassman won last year's Gold Rush Stakes, Golden Gate Derby (gr. III) and Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill Downs, but hasn't visited the winner's circle in four starts since. Overall his career line stands at 13-4-3-0 with earnings of $260,224.