Derby for 'Clem'; Old Fashioned out

Updated: April 13, 2009, 10:44 AM ET
By Jay Privman | Daily Racing Form

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- The first two finishers in Saturday's Arkansas Derby are both headed to Kentucky, but only the victorious Papa Clem will go to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby on May 2. Runner-up Old Fashioned will go to Lexington for knee surgery.

Papa Clem "looks perfect," his trainer, Gary Stute, said Sunday morning here at Oaklawn Park as Papa Clem walked the barn's shedrow. "Last night, he was trying to bite everybody. He was feeling like a million bucks."

Papa Clem will go to Churchill Downs on Tuesday, and will remain there through the Kentucky Derby. Stute, who trains just six horses, was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon, and said he would go to Churchill Downs within a week.

"I was really stressed out the last couple of days," Stute said. "He was doing so good, training so good, that I thought he had no excuses if he got beat, except for my training.

"This is the biggest win for me," said Stute, the son of veteran California trainer Mel Stute. "This ranks right up there with when Snow Chief won the Preakness for my dad. He had run so bad in the Derby, it was redemption."

Stute was smoking one of his ever-present cigars on Sunday, and fielding calls both congratulating him and asking for Derby tickets. At the other end of the stable area, though, the mood was somber at trainer Larry Jones's barn, where Old Fashioned was resting in his stall after suffering a knee fracture in the race Saturday.

"Welcome to the Derby trail," Jones said ruefully Sunday morning.

Jones said Old Fashioned suffered a non-displaced slab fracture to his right knee. "He's pretty comfortable," Jones said. "He ate all his supper last night. He's a tough ol' rascal.

"He's bearing weight on it. I don't foresee this being a life-threatening situation. This isn't like last year," he said, referring to the death of the filly Eight Belles in the Kentucky Derby. "He will live a very good life."

Jones said Old Fashioned would be sent by van to Lexington, Ky., on Monday. Jones was desirous of the colt having surgery at Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic. "That's where we have our work done, but I haven't contacted them yet," Jones said. "It being Easter, they probably just have a skeleton crew working there today."

Horses can recover from slab fractures and race again, but Jones said "unless horses of that caliber come back at the same level, it makes no sense."

Summer Bird, who finished third in the Arkansas Derby in only his third career start, will be pointed to the Lone Star Derby on May 9, trainer Tim Ice said Sunday morning.

"I wish he had a little more experience," Ice said. "My major goal with him is the Belmont Stakes. The farther he goes, the better for him."

Rebel Stakes winner Win Willy, who finished fourth in the Arkansas Derby, is still under consideration for the Kentucky Derby, trainer Mac Robertson said Sunday.

"We'll see in about a week how he's doing and how the rest are doing," Robertson said. "He kind of flattened out. The middle of the track wasn't the place to be as the day went on. He had to go wide. That might have cost him third, but he wasn't going to beat the first two."

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