When champion Lookin At Lucky turned in a less than eye-opening six furlong work in 1:15.40 at Santa Anita Feb. 22, there were some that thought it was a red flag the 3-year-old colt isn’t doing all that well. Trainer Bob Baffert dispelled that notion, saying it was exactly the type of work he was looking for.
“He went very smoothly,” Baffert said Feb. 24. “He actually went seven-eighths and did it in hand. He looked good. You have to be careful on this (Pro-Ride) track; you can’t do too much. You have to adapt to it.
“He didn’t have much time off and he’s a very fit horse. He’s doesn’t need much.”
The individual favorite when Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager ended, Lookin At Lucky is 5-1-0 from six career starts, his only loss coming by a head in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) in November. Baffert said the Smart Strike colt will either go in the San Felipe (gr. II) at Santa Anita or the Rebel (gr. II) on Oaklawn Park’s dirt surface for his next start. Both are March 13.
“We’ll make up our minds soon,” Baffert said. “We know he’ll be running somewhere March 13. I like Oaklawn, especially after last weekend (when Conveyance won the grade III Southwest Stakes over the same track). The Rebel looks like it will be a nice, tough race. We’ll see what happens.”
Baffert said Lookin At Lucky’s final Kentucky Derby prep will come in either the Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct, Arkansas Derby (gr. I) at Oaklawn, or the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). He ruled out the Louisiana Derby (gr. I) for his star, who is owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman.
As for Zabeel Racing International’s Conveyance, Baffert said his outlook has now changed after the speedy Indian Charlie colt went wire-to-wire in the Southwest to remain undefeated in four starts.
“When he won the San Rafael (on Jan. 16) it was nice but it wasn’t eye-opening,” Baffert said. “But I thought this race was a very good test. He proved to me he is ready for the next level and it threw him into the Derby mix. I didn’t know if he was ready before. The way he finished and didn’t cave in was impressive.”
Being owned by Zabeel’s Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, Conveyance is also nominated to the United Arab Emirates Derby (UAE-II) in Dubai March 27, but Baffert said they have not made up their minds on his next race. The Wood and Arkansas Derby are also options.
Finally, Baffert said his other Derby hopeful, Tiz Chrome, is being pointed toward the Gotham (gr. III) at Aqueduct on March 6 after a disappointing fourth–place finish in the Robert Lewis (gr. II) Feb. 13. The son of Tiznow came out of that race with a minor foot bruise, but is scheduled to return to the work tab Feb. 25.
“I think he’ll get back on track in this next race,” Baffert said. “Synthetics are not his bag. I think he’ll improve on dirt.”