(Edited press release)
Bo Hirsch’s homebred Papa Clem, winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park April 11, arrived at Churchill Downs April 14 to continue his preparation for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Papa Clem flew from Arkansas to Lexington, then traveled just over an hour by van to Churchill Downs. He arrived at the Louisville track at 5:30 p.m. and took up residence in Barn 10A, which houses horses trained by Cody Autrey.
The Gary Stute-trained Papa Clem was ridden by Rafael Bejarano when he won the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby. The victory was the Smart Strike colt’s first stakes triumph and improved his record to 2-2-0 in six races and lifted his earnings to $790,940.
The arrival of Papa Clem raises the number of likely Kentucky Derby contenders on the grounds to seven. The others are Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) winner I Want Revenge ; Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner General Quarters; Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner Musket Man; and Regal Ransom and Desert Party , Godolphin’s 1-2 finishers in the $2 million UAE Derby (UAE-II).
Seven horses trained by three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert – headed by Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) candidate Gabby's Golden Gal and champion Indian Blessing – arrived at Churchill Downs April 14 as well. The Baffert horses settled into Barn 33, the trainer’s tradition spot under the Twin Spires. Baffert’s Derby contender, Zayat Stable’s Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Pioneerof the Nile , is scheduled to arrive April 16.
Gabby’s Golden Gal, a 13-length winner of the Sunland Park Oaks, joins likely favorite Rachel Alexandra as the only Oaks candidates on the grounds. Indian Blessing is set to run in the Humana Distaff (gr. I) on Kentucky Derby day.
The Baffert group also included 3-year-olds Mythical Power and Turk. Both are nominated to the $100,000-added Derby Trial (gr. III) April 25, the opening day of the spring meet. Diamond Tags, a 3-year-old filly nominated to the $100,000 Eight Belles (gr. III) on Kentucky Derby day, is also settling in at the Baffert barn.