Isn't He Clever

Isn't He Clever

Lisa Dominguez/ Coady Photography

Two Added to Arkansas Derby Probable Field

Graded stakes-placed Isn't He Clever and Heavy Breathing among 97 nominees.

New Mexico-based Isn't He Clever and the Todd Pletcher-trained Heavy Breathing were added to the mix for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I) when nominations closed with 97 horses being made eligible for the race at Oaklawn Park.

The 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-olds will close out the Oaklawn meet April 14.

A son of 2004 Arkansas Derby winner Smarty Jones , Isn’t He Clever finished second in the Sunland Park Derby (gr. III) and has $188,000 in graded stakes earnings, placing him 20th on the list that will be used to determine the starting field for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) if it is oversubscribed. The Derby is limited to 20 starters.

“We’re just hoping he runs a similar race to the Sunland Derby, but maybe wait a little longer this time,” said trainer Henry Dominguez. “It’s his style (to be near the front) 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 coming in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita in February when he went straight to the lead and eventually faded to fifth. He was elevated to 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 jockey Robby Albarado, who won the 2007 Arkansas Derby with Curlin , will have the mount.

Heavy Breathing, a son of Giant's Causeway  trained by Pletcher for Starlight Racing, has won two of three starts and earned his only graded money of $47,000 when finishing third in the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) over the Polytrack surface at Turfway Park March 24.