Lookin At Lucky looked just fine in the mud April 26 at Churchill Downs. The probable favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) rolled five furlongs through the goo in 1:00 4/5, tying Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) third-place finisher First Dude for the morning’s fastest work at the distance.
Ridden by Dana Barnes, Lookin at Lucky worked in company with Broken Tango, a winning 3-year-old Broken Vow colt that proved no match for his stablemate while completing his breeze in 1:05 3/5.
“He was really reaching out; that’s what you want to see, the horse reaching out,” said Lookin At Lucky’s Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. “He looked like he was happy and he was having a good time out there. He was in hand, and I loved the way he was coming down the stretch. He looked great coming back and he really wanted to do more. He would have blistered it out there if I would have let him. But I didn’t want to do too much with him today. I just wanted (him) to go like a minute and change, so it was just perfect. It was a nice work.”
Before his work, Lookin At Lucky, wearing blue wraps behind, stood quietly while waiting at a gap for track maintenance to be completed. He pricked his ears and posed for the cameras, then went out and reeled off fractions of :12, :24 1/5, :36, and :48 1/5. The bay son of Smart Strike galloped out six furlongs in 1:15 1/5.
Last year's champion 2-year-old male, Lookin At Lucky has raced twice this year. He scored by a head over Noble’s Promise in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) in his first ever race on dirt after competing six times on synthetic surfaces and finished a game third in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) even though he didn’t have the best of racing luck in his return to a synthetic track.
“I think the dirt is really where he wants to run,” Baffert said. “He’s not really a synthetic horse.”
Lookin At Lucky is owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman. Baffert saddled Real Quiet to win the Derby for Pegram in 1998. The trainer’s other Derby winners are Silver Charm (1997) and War Emblem (2002).
“This Derby is pretty close,” said Baffert, who also will saddle Southwest (gr. III) and San Rafael (gr. III) Stakes winner Conveyance in the Run for the Roses this year. “I don’t come in here thinking I have everybody over the barrel. It’s going to be tough. When I’m the favorite, I want to be like 1-9 because that means there is room for error. But if I’m the favorite here, it’s going to be lukewarm. Sidney’s Candy, I think, is one of the horses to beat. Stately Victor, I think, he’s got potential. Paddy O’Prado looks good working here. It’s a pretty deep field.”