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. 4Magna 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).