Sunland Derby (gr. III) runner-up Isn't He Clever, most recently eighth in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I), has been transferred to trainer Steve Amussen, according to owner J. Kirk Robison.
A start in the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) is still under consideration, Robison said.
Isn’t He Clever won the Borderland Derby in February prior to finishing second to the Asmussen-trained Daddy Nose Best in the Sunland Derby. He had been under the care of leading New Mexico trainer Henry Dominguez.
A 3-year-old gelded son of Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones, Isn’t He Clever arrived at Asmussen’s barn at Churchill Downs April 17.
“We moved him to Steve’s barn because there are more opportunities for him on the dirt being in Kentucky and out in the East than if we brought him back (to New Mexico),” Robison said via phone from El Paso.
Isn’t He Clever, with $191,333 in graded stakes earnings, is 21st on the most recent graded stakes earnings list. Graded earnings are used to determine the 20 participants in the 138th running of the Run for the Roses.
“We’re evaluating our options,” Robison said. “The Derby is still under consideration, but I’ve always said I would never enter the Derby if I didn’t think the horse would be competitive. The horse will go out for some exercise this week, but won’t have a work till next weekend. The decision will be based on Steve’s opinion.”
Bred in Kentucky by Monticule, Isn’t He Clever has a career record of 4-2-0 from eight starts and earnings of $395,293. He was purchased for $45,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.