Isn’t He Clever will be entered to run in the Grade I Arkansas Derby. The late Triple Crown nominee is on the Kentucky Derby bubble with $188,000 in graded stakes earnings.
Most recently, Isn't He Clever had a stalking trip made a winning turn move in the Grade III Sunland Derby only to be caught late in the stretch by Daddy Nose Best.
“He’s doing good, real good,” said trainer Henry Dominguez. “We’re just hoping he runs a similar race to the Sunland Derby, but maybe wait a little longer this time. It’s his style, and we’re not going to try and change him.”
Isn’t He Clever has four wins and two seconds from seven starts. His only off-the-board performance came in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes when he went straight to the lead and eventually faded to fifth. He was elevated for fourth in that race with the disqualification of Groovin’ Solo.
“We’ve kind of thrown that race out,” said Dominquez. “It was his first race of the year, and he was fresh. That’s not his style. He’s done well since then and really matured.”
Dominguez said that jockey Robby Albarado, who won the 2007 Arkansas Derby with Curlin, will have the mount.
Nominations for the Arkansas Derby closed with 97 horses being made eligible, including several horses that weren't part of the early-bird nomination process before the Grade III Southwest Stakes. Among the new names on the list is Grade III Spiral Stakes third-place finisher Heavy Breathing, who is expected to run.
--Edited Oaklawn release with additional content by Dick Downey