Dogwood's Atoned (right) finished 2nd in the Remsen.

Dogwood's Atoned (right) finished 2nd in the Remsen.

Skip Dickstein

Dogwood Colts on Derby Trail

Atoned, Blackberry Road aim for Kentucky Derby after 2nd-place finishes Nov. 24.

Two horses owned by Dogwood Stable have validated their status as early candidates for the 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, the partnership announced Nov. 26.

Both colts raced to very close seconds on Nov. 24 in different locations – Atoned in the $200,000 Remsen (gr. II) at Aqueduct and Blackberry Road in the $250,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.

Atoned, by Repent, missed by a scant neck in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen after clipping heels on the backstretch and almost going down. He is now in Aiken and will have a working vacation here before he rejoins trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn in Florida mid-January. While in Aiken, Atoned will be trained by Ron Stevens.

According to Cot Campbell, president of Dogwood Stable, “Atoned should be able to fulfill some Florida engagements in late February and we expect him to have two or three races before the Derby.”

Atoned has run seven times during his 2-year-old campaign, with the results being two wins and four seconds. He won the Continental Mile at Monmouth Park in August, then finished second in his next three stakes engagements. He wraps up the year with $136,757 in purse earnings.

“Blackberry Road – who was given a forced breather in October and November due to David Carroll’s barn being quarantined for the Equine Herpes Virus – will start next on Jan. 12 in the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans,” stated Campbell. “He ran a hell of a race on Saturday – coming from 15 lengths out of it to be beaten by only a half-length in the mile and a sixteenth race.”

A winner of $108,235 from six career starts, with a win, a second, and two thirds by his name, Blackberry Road is ridden by jockey Calvin Borel, winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby aboard Street Sense. The Gone West colt is a half-brother to Vindication, Champion 2-year-old colt of 2002.

Blackberry Road broke his maiden in his second start, and then ran in three straight grade III events – the Bashford Manor at Churchill (finishing fourth), the Arlington-Washington Futurity (unplaced), and the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (finishing third) – before the Nov. 24 stakes race.

“Calvin refers to Blackberry Road as ‘Little Street’ – as in this year’s Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, which is a very pleasing association,” said Campbell. “Calvin will ride at Oaklawn Park this winter, and he is committed to our colt for his Louisiana engagements.”