A field of eight 3-year-olds is expected to contest Saturday's $350,000 Ohio Derby (gr. I), going 1 1/8 miles at Thistledown. The field is highlighted by stakes winners Magna Graduate and Pinpoint.
Magna Graduate captured the John Battaglia Memorial in March. Since then, the colt has finished fourth in the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) and the Lone Star Derby (gr. III) and finished third in the Illinois Derby (gr. II).
Magna Graduate represents local owner Elisabeth Alexander of Eutrophia Farm. Magna Graduate is scheduled to arrive at the northern Ohio oval Thursday.
"He had his last breeze at Belmont Monday morning," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "He may gallop on Friday and do some paddock schooling. He fits this race and the distance is well within his reach."
Jockey Gary Stevens will have the mount as the pair will break from post two.
Pinpoint began his racing career in February at Gulfstream Park. The colt collected three straight wins including the Sir Barton at Pimlico. Pinpoint ran in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) but was unplaced.
Trained by Nick Zito, Pinpoint races as a homebred for Arthur B. Hancock, III.
Jockey Larry Melancon will have the mount and the pair will break from post seven.
Tim Poole, assistant trainer to Zito, says the 1-1/8 mile distance is the attraction for his horse. "He has the ability for this distance," says Poole. "He's a good natured horse that doesn't take too much to get ready to run. He's an intelligent individual who picks things up quickly and has talent. We've been lucky to have him in our barn."
Another stakes winner capable of stealing the Ohio Derby is Hal's Image, winner of the Unbridled Stakes at Calder Race Course. The Florida-shipper is set to arrive Wednesday morning. Hal's Image is the half-brother to the late Hal's Hope, who won the Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park in 2000.
"The timing is great and the distance fits," says trainer Barry Rose. "He's ready to go now. He's had a three-week layoff. He has a lot of speed and is a very excited horse, very similar to Hal's Hope."
Encouraged by Hal's Image's success in the Unbridled, Rose entered the son of Halo's Image in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), but the colt found the jump in class too tough and finished 11th. In his most recent start, Hal's Image was beaten by a head in allowance company at Calder.
Regular rider Carlos Olivero will have the mount and break from the outside post eight.
Hal's Image is owned by Rose Family Stable, representing mother Elsie and the four children; Barry's father Harold, passed away in 2003.
The field for Saturday's $350,000 Ohio Derby (gr. III) at Thistledown includes:
1--Unbridled Energy (Richard Migliore, 4-1)
2--Magna Graduate (Gary Stevens, 5-2)
3--Silver Haze (Elvis Perrodin, 12-1)
4--It's Time to Smile (Scott Spieth, 15-1)
5 --Palladio (Dos Ramos, 6-1)
6--Straight Line (Chris Emigh, 6-1)
7--Pinpoint (Larry Melancon, 7-2)
8--Hal's Image (Carlos Olivero, 6-1)