11/23/2007 12:00AM

A.P. Arrow reaches peak in Clark

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - Todd Pletcher sent out three horses Friday in the 133rd running of the Grade 2 Clark Handicap, and two of them ran okay. The third, A.P. Arrow, raced to the greatest victory of his career when he turned back Brass Hat for a three-quarter-length win in the signature race of the Churchill Downs fall meet.

A.P. Arrow, with Ramon Dominguez aboard, stalked the pace set by longshot Plug Me In before challenging for command turning for home, then outgamed Brass Hat to the wire. Diamond Stripes finished third, favored Istan was fourth, and the other Pletcher horses, Fairbanks and Magna Graduate, were fifth and sixth in a field of nine 3-year-olds and upward.

As the longest-priced runner of the Pletcher trio, A.P. Arrow returned $22.40 after finishing in 1:48.66 over a fast track. Bred and owned by the Allen Paulson Living Trust, the 5-year-old horse earned $329,741 from the $554,000 total purse.

"He is a horse that consistently has been running well," said Pletcher.

Plug Me In led for nearly six furlongs at 72-1 before the other ones got serious. Brass Hat, with Willie Martinez up, was among the first to pounce, doing so from the outside, but A.P. Arrow always had clear sailing, and he proved clearly best in the final furlong.

"I was able to stay within striking distance, and he was comfortable," said Dominguez. "He kind of knew what he was going to do when he made the lead. He made sure he was going to stay there. That is what it felt like."

The victory was the second in the Clark for Pletcher, who won in 2005 with Magna Graduate. Contrary to earlier information provided by a spokesperson for owner Elisabeth Alexander, Magna Graduate will not be retired and will point for a 6-year-old campaign. Istan and Purim are both finished racing and headed to stud for the 2008 season.

A.P. Arrow, by A.P. Indy, has won 5 of 21 starts, with his previous most notable victory coming in the Gradeo3 Skip Away Handicap at Gulfstream Park in March.

Thorn's Song upsets Cosmonaut

Thorn's Song ($16.80) wore down heavily favored Cosmonaut in the final furlong of the Grade 3, $227,400 River City Handicap to notch his first stakes victory.

Trained by Dale Romans and ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Thorn's Song was always close to the pace, and so was Cosmonaut. After taking over for longshot Ra Der Dean down the backstretch, Cosmonaut, the 11-10 favorite, held a tenuous lead until Thorn Song edged clear under steady urging to prevail by a half-length. Gun Salute finished third in the field of 10 older turf runners, another two lengths back.

The Zayat Stables owns Thorn Song, a 4-year-old Unbridled's Song colt who has never been worse than second in six races since Romans moved him to the turf in June. He ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.37 over a firm course.

"This horse is a grinder," said Desormeaux.

* Pretty Jenny ($10.80), with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, got the jump on favored Change Up and Desormeaux and ran off to a two-length score in the $57,590 Dream Supreme overnight handicap.