Atoned (green and yellow silks) will have his final Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) April 5.

Atoned (green and yellow silks) will have his final Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) April 5.

Skip Dickstein

Preps Set for Dogwood Derby Pair

Dogwood Stable has finalized plans for their two Kentucky Derby hopefuls Atoned and Blackberry Road. The former will make his next start in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) April 5, while Blackberry Road will have his final prep in the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) April 12.

According to Dogwood president Cot Campbell, Atoned will be ridden by Joe Bravo, and Calvin Borel returns aboard Blackberry Road.

“Obviously we want to keep the horses separated while we seek a final prep for each in our quest to add graded stakes earnings for Kentucky Derby participation,” Campbell said. “These are exceedingly busy days for top riders, and we’re quite pleased to have these two jockeys for our horses.

“In a perfect world these two races – both at a mile and an eighth – are our targets. The Derby Trail is shifting and unpredictable, however, and we will be ready to readjust our plans.”

Atoned was second by a neck last time out in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby on March 15, his first start since his troubled second in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes last November. The colt picked up $60,000 in that race, bringing his total career earnings to $196,757, $100,000 being graded stakes earnings. Atoned, who is trained by Todd Pletcher, won the Continental Mile Stakes at Monmouth last August, then finished second in a pair of Delaware Park stakes before his aforementioned start in the Remsen. From eight lifetime starts, Atoned has two wins and five second-place finishes.

The David Carroll-trained Blackberry Road was fourth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 8 in his last start. With a win, two seconds and two thirds from nine lifetime starts, Blackberry Road has total purse earnings of $158,235, with $123,417 being graded stakes earnings. His last seven starts have been in graded stakes, with second-place finishes in the in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds in January and the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs in November. The colt was third in the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes last September at Turfway Park.