Premium Tap, Magna Graduate Top Clark Noms

(from Churchill Downs notes)
Premium Tap, third to Invasor in the Breeders' Cup Classic powered by Dodge (gr. I), and defending winner Magna Graduate head a roster of 24 older horses nominated to the 132nd running of the $500,000-added Clark Handicap presented by Norton Healthcare (gr. I), which will run on Nov. 24.

This year's 1 1/8-mile contest is the first time that the historic race has been renewed as a grade I event. The Clark tops Churchill Downs' "Big Four Weekend" that also includes the $300,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23 and the closing day co-features for 2-year-olds on Nov. 25: the $200,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) and the $200,000-added Golden Rod (gr. II) for fillies.

The John Kimmel-trained Premium Tap won the Woodward (gr. I) at Saratoga to highlight a 2006 campaign in which he has won three races. The son of Pleasant Tap has a career record of 5-3-2 in 16 races and has earned $977,280.

Magna Graduate has not won in three starts since his 2005 Clark victory for trainer Todd Pletcher. The 4-year-old son of Honor Grades finished fourth to Brass Hat in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park in February and then finished fourth to Godolphin's Electrocutionist in the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in March. He was later elevated to third in that race following the disqualification of runner-up Brass Hat.

Pletcher's colt was injured while training at Churchill Downs for the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) and went to the sidelines for surgery. He returned to racing with a seventh-place finish in the Emirates Airline Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) on the Breeders' Cup World Championships undercard on Nov. 4

Magna Graduate has a record of 6-3-4 in 18 races and has earned $1,779,330.

Pletcher also nominated Master Command, winner of the Meadowlands Breeders' Cup (gr. II), and A.P. Arrow, the runner-up in the Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II).

Other nominees considered likely or possible for the Clark Handicap include Bright One, the 3-year-old winner of the West Virginia Derby (gr. III); It's No Joke, winner of the Emirates Airline Ack Ack and the Hawthorne Gold Cup; Irene's Mon, runner-up in the Ack Ack; Super Frolic, winner of the 2005 Hawthorne Gold Cup (GII); and the Nick Zito-trained duo of Wanderin Boy and Andromeda's Hero, the 2-3 finishers behind Bernardini in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).