Commissioner , headed for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I), is among three horses multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher plans to send to to Oaklawn Park for the final day of the Racing Festival of the South April 12.
"Commissioner will go in the Arkansas Derby and Revolutionary and Golden Lad will run in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II)," said Pletcher, currently leading North American trainers in earnings in 2014.
Currently based in South Florida, Pletcher will be trying for his fourth Arkansas Derby win and his second in a row after Overanalyze won the 1 1/8-mile event in a mild upset last year. Pletcher's prior wins came back-to-back with Graeme Hall (2000) and Balto Star (2001).
The Arkansas Derby is one of the two final major qualifying races for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 3. There are 170 points (100-40-20-10) for finishing first through fourth at stake.
Commissioner, a beautifully-bred son of A.P. Indy, is lightly raced with just five starts and has earned $189,000 from two wins, one second and one third. He currently has 10 points following a third-place finish in the Sunland Derby (gr. III) March 23.
The WinStar Farm homebred stands in 30th place in the Derby point standings. He was sixth in the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II) prior to the Sunland Derby. Commissioner bobbled at the start of the Sunland Derby and was devoid of early speed before racing wide into the final turn. He showed good interest, however, in rallying for third.
Pletcher will also be looking for his second Oaklawn Handicap victory after taking the 2007 edition with Lawyer Ron and has two top chances to do it.
WinStar Farm's Revolutionary had a tough trip last out when seventh in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream, competing against Will Take Charge , who was a fast-closing second that day. The 4-year-old son of War Pass will again face the locally-based champion 3-year-old, who is trained by Pletcher's mentor, D. Wayne Lukas, in the Oaklawn Handicap. Revolutionary has earned $1,047,600 from four wins, one second and three thirds in 10 tries,
Golden Lad, a 4-year-old Robsham Stable homebred, is undefeated in two starts this year. In his last race, he successfully jumped up from the allowance ranks with his 6 3/4-length victory in Oaklawn's Razorback Handicap (gr. III) March 15.
Pletcher's said his horses will all get new riders for the upcoming races.
"Mike Smith will ride Commissioner and Revolutionary, and Gary Stevens will be on Golden Lad," he said.