Photo: Oaklawn Park
Isn’t He Clever was getting a bath Friday morning after jogging a mile at Oaklawn. Trainer Henry Dominguez stood
nearby, none the worse for wear after a Thursday flight from El Paso, Tx., to the Hot Springs Municipal Airport.
“Him and the mare handled it better than I did,” Dominguez joked, referring to the Arkansas Derby (G1) contender
and his stablemate, Twelve Twenty Two, who will start in Friday’s Apple Blossom Handicap (G1).
Indeed, Kirk and Judy Robison’s slender son of 2004 Arkansas Derby winner Smarty Jones seemed to be taking in
his new surroundings without a nonplussed air.
“He’s not a very big horse but he’s very agile and kind,” Dominguez
said. “He’s everything you want him to be, he’s got everything you want
in a horse.”
Coming off a runner-up finish by three-quarters of a length in the Sunland Park Derby (G3), Isn’t He Clever
will have to step up his game to contend on the Grade 1 level while seeking a berth in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
got enough earnings that if we’re at least third here, we’ll get in to
the Derby field,” Dominguez said.
“This is the first time we’re really going to test him and find out
what caliber he is. He’s going to tell us a lot about where we need to
run him going forward. Everybody says he’s a second-tier horse – we
really need to find out what kind of a horse he is.”
Pletcher Runners Have Easy Morning
Pletcher's Arkansas Derby contenders Stat and Raconteur both galloped
this morning at Oaklawn, and assistant trainer Michael Dilger reported
all was well.
both young horses that are training well, looking to step up to the big
leagues," he said. "Two nice horses trying to get their shot at the
Win or lose, both Pletcher trainees will be on a flight out of Hot
Springs headed back to Pletcher's Florida base at Palm Meadows on Monday
"That's where they'd prep for the Kentucky Derby," Dilger said.
Now they just have to win on Saturday to get there.