Juvenile champion LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Smart Strike) continued his preparations on Sunday for his three-year-old bow in the March 13 San Felipe S. (G2), working four furlongs in company with El Martillo (Tiznow) over the Pro-Ride at Santa Anita.
The Bob Baffert charge was last seen taking the CashCall Futurity (G1) and covered a half-mile in :48 1/5 under Martin Garcia. El Martillo was clocked in :48 3/5.
"Nice" is how Baffert described the move, while Garcia said he went "really good."
Lookin at Lucky's only loss from six career starts came as a head second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).
The San Felipe is shaping up to be a David versus Goliath match, as undefeated and unheralded CARACORTADO (Cat Dreams) could square off against the Kentucky Derby Future Book individual favorite in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe.
"That's the plan right now," trainer Mike Machowsky said Sunday morning, referring to the San Felipe for Caracortado. "I'm going to see how he reacts and how (promising maiden winner) Nextdoorneighbor (Lido Palace [Chi]) runs in the (February 27) Sham (S. [G3]), and go from there.
"The spacing would be good. Three weeks after the San Felipe is the (April 3) Santa Anita Derby (G1), and if everything goes well, it gives you a month after that to the (May 1) Kentucky Derby (G1)."
Caracortado, which means scarface in Spanish, won his fifth straight race Saturday, posting a 1 3/4-length triumph in the Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) under regular rider Paul Atkinson. Machowsky bred the gelding and is a co-owner, along with Mr. and Mrs. Don Blahut.
Less than 24 hours after Caracortado's victory in the Lewis, Machowsky was still on Cloud Nine.
"I'm still pretty pumped up," he said. "I woke about 1:30 (Sunday morning) and couldn't sleep anymore. I watched the replays about 10 times and read all the articles about the race."
Baffert was forthright in his praise for Caracortado.
"He's a good horse," the Hall of Fame trainer said. "Every year there's a surprise horse like him among the three-year-olds, like Georgie Boy and Brother Derek."