Arkansas Derby Winner Papa Clem Arrives At Churchill Downs For Kentucky Derby 135

Apr 15, 2009 John Asher

Bo Hirsch’s homebred Papa Clem, winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (Grade II) on April 11 at Oaklawn Park, arrived at Churchill Downs late Tuesday afternoon to continue his preparation for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).

    Papa Clem flew from Arkansas to Lexington, Ky., then traveled just over an hour by van to Churchill Downs.  He arrived at the Louisville track at 5:30 p.m. (all times EDT) and took up residence in Barn 10A, which houses horses trained by Cody Autrey.

    The Gary Stute-trained Papa Clem was ridden by former Churchill Downs leading rider Rafael Bejarano when the son of Smart Strike won the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby on April 11.  The victory was his first stakes triumph and improved his record to 2-2-0 in six races and lifted his earnings to $790,940.

    The arrival of Papa Clem raises the number of likely Kentucky Derby contenders on the grounds to seven.  The others are Wood Memorial (GI) winner I Want Revenge; Toyota Blue Grass (GI) winner General Quarters; Illinois Derby (GII) winner Musket Man; and Regal Ransom and Desert Party, Godolphin’s 1-2 finishers in the $2 million UAE Derby (GII).

    Seven horses trained by three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert – headed by Kentucky Oaks (GI) candidate Gabby’s Golden Gal and multiple stakes winner Indian Blessing – arrived at Churchill Downs on Tuesday afternoon.  The Baffert horses settled into Barn 33, the trainer’s tradition spot under the Twin Spires.  Baffert’s Kentucky Derby contender, Zayat Stable’s Santa Anita Derby (GI) winner Pioneerof the Nile, is scheduled to arrive at the Louisville track on Thursday, April 16.

    Gabby’s Golden Gal, a 13-length winner of the Sunland Park Oaks, joins likely favorite Rachel Alexandra as the only Kentucky Oaks candidates on the grounds.  Indian Blessing, runner-up to Big City Man in the $2 million Golden Shaheen at Dubai’s Nad Al Sheba on March 28, is set to run in the Humana Distaff (GI) on Kentucky Derby Day.

    The Baffert group also included 3-year-olds Mythical Power and Turk.  Both are nominated to the $100,000-added Derby Trial (GIII) on April 25, the opening day of the track’s Spring Meet.  Diamond Tags, a 3-year-old filly nominated to the $100,000 Eight Belles (GIII) on Kentucky Derby Day, is also settling in at the Baffert barn.

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