Ken Ramsey reported April 16 that Pleasant Prince will start in the April 24 The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (gr. III). With a victory in Churchill Downs’ opening day one-turn mile prep, the colt will be entered in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
“The Derby is a special race,” Ramsey said. “I could win three Dubai World Cups and that might mean more internationally, but not to me. I’m getting kind of long in the tooth and I’ve got Derby fever something bad.”
Pleasant Prince, beaten a nose by Ice Box in the March 20 Florida Derby (gr. I), was a disappointing seventh, beaten 9 1/4 lengths by Stately Victor, April 10 in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) over Keeneland’s Polytrack.
“It’s kind of hard to swallow the fact we came within an eyelash of winning the Florida Derby and we can’t get into the Derby,” Ramsey said from Keeneland. “The difference was $300,000 (first money to second money). Ice Box gets in and we had to go and run at Keeneland.
“He didn’t lift a foot in the Blue Grass,” he continued. “We’ll toss that out. I’m not an advocate of sending out a horse on short rest, but he’s a special horse. He came out of the race fine.
"We’re not out of it – not until the last cat is hung, so to speak.”
Trained by Wesley Ward, Pleasant Prince has $166,250 in graded stakes earnings, to date not enough to make the top 20 list that is required to make the starting gate for the May 1 Derby. With a victory in the $200,000 Derby Trial, his graded earnings would stand at $286,250, which today would rank him No. 18. A runner-up effort would put him close.
Ramsey, along with his wife, Sarah, also owns Dean's Kitten, the winner of the Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II), who is No. 16 on the Derby list with $326,475 in graded earnings.
Pleasant Prince, bred in Florida by Adena Springs, is a son of Indy King out of the Pleasant Tap mare Archduchess. He has a 1-2-1 record form eight career starts and has earned $201,370.
After finishing fifth behind Eskendereya in a one-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Jan. 7, he has made four successive starts at nine furlongs: finishing second by a half-length to Ice Box in an allowance race; fourth behind Eskendereya in the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II); and then second in the Florida Derby and seventh in the Blue Grass.
“I did a lot of research on the Internet and lots of horses used to use the Derby Trial to run in the Derby,” Ramsey said. “The last to win both was Tim Tam (in 1958). This could be the fairy tale.”