04/22/2012 3:19PM

2012 Kentucky Derby: Isn't He Clever joins Asmussen, still possible for Derby

Lisa Dominguez/Coady Photography
Isn't He Clever, formerly trained by Henry Dominguez, has been transferred to Steve Asmussen's barn at Churchill Downs.

Isn’t He Clever, the winner of the Borderland Derby at Sunland Park in February, has been transferred from trainer Henry Dominguez to Steve Asmussen, owner J. Kirk Robison told Churchill Downs publicity staff on Sunday.

Isn’t He Clever is currently based at Churchill Downs with Asmussen and is being considered for the Kentucky Derby. Isn’t He Clever finished eighth behind Kentucky Derby hopeful Bodemeister in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 14 in his most recent start for the New Mexico-based Dominguez.

A gelding by Smarty Jones, Isn’t He Clever has won 4 of 8 starts and $395,293. In late March, Isn’t He Clever finished second in the Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby in New Mexico behind the Asmussen-trained Daddy Nose Best.

In a statement released by Churchill Downs, Robison said Isn’t He Clever was transferred to Asmussen because of a larger number of racing opportunities for 3-year-olds in Kentucky and the East compared with New Mexico.

“We’ve evaluating our options,” Robison said of the Kentucky Derby.

“The Derby is still under consideration, but I’ve always said I would never enter the Derby if I didn’t think the horse would be competitive.”

Isn’t He Clever has $191,333 in graded stakes earnings, leaving him 22nd on that list.

The Kentucky Derby has a maximum field of 20 horses. If the race oversubscribes, the top 20 horses who were nominated to the race secure a berth. Hero of Order, who won the Louisiana Derby and has $617,375 in graded stakes earnings, must be supplemented at time of entry, and cannot replace a horse who was nominated in January or March.