03/23/2009 11:00PM

Papa Clem gets in a local breeze


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Papa Clem got his first real feel for the Oaklawn Park surface on Tuesday morning, when he breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40 in preparation for the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 11. The horse arrived here last week from Fair Grounds, where he was second to Friesan Fire in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 14.

"It was just perfect," trainer Gary Stute said of the work from Papa Clem. "The main thing was just to get him used to the track, and next week we'll probably go seven-eighths."

Jockey Larry Sterling worked Papa Clem. Rafael Bejarano will have the mount in the Arkansas Derby.

Papa Clem worked first after the renovation break on Tuesday, going into his drill at the five-furlong pole. Sterling sat chilly throughout, with clockers carrying the horse through fractions of 12.60 seconds for his opening eighth of a mile, 25 for the first quarter, 38 for three furlongs, 49.20 for a half-mile, and out six furlongs in 1:14.20.

Stute said Papa Clem is scheduled to breeze back next Monday.

Papa Clem is based in Southern California. He won his maiden at Santa Anita in December, then returned one start later to finish second to Pioneerof the Nile in the Grade 2 Lewis on Feb. 7. Papa Clem, a son of Smart Strike, races for his breeder, Bo Hirsch.

Hamazing Destiny may try Northern Spur

Hamazing Destiny, one of the meet's most impressive debut winners and eighth in the Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel in his two-turn debut March 14, could make his next start in the $100,000 Northern Spur at Oaklawn on April 11, said his trainer, D. Wayne Lukas. The one-mile race for 3-year-olds is one of several options for the horse, who also could turn up at Keeneland.

Hamazing Destiny stalked the pace early in the Rebel before fading, and Lukas said he felt the horse was compromised by the track condition, which was listed as good for the 1 1/16-mile race.

"He didn't handle it at all," he said.

Hamazing Destiny was well regarded in the Rebel, bet down to 6-1 following his 10 1/2-length debut win here Feb. 7, for which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96. Since the Rebel, he has worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.20 seconds, the quickest of 49 moves at the distance here March 22.

Lukas said plans are to nominate Hamazing Destiny to the Triple Crown this week, keeping his options open for a race like the Preakness.

Lukas also said Flying Private, who finished second in the Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End last weekend at Turfway, was scheduled to arrive back at Oaklawn on Tuesday.

Lukas weighing options for Silver Edition

Silver Edition, who dead-heated for the win in the $50,000 Hot Springs with Red Hot N Gold last weekend here, could make his next start in one of two stakes, Lukas said. He said the horse is under consideration for the Grade 2, $250,000 Commonwealth at seven furlongs at Keeneland on April 11. The other option is the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at six furlongs at Oaklawn on April 10.

Silver Edition is Grade 2-placed at seven furlongs. For his effort in the Hot Springs he earned a Beyer Figure of 94.

Flint active at Oaklawn

Trainer Bernie Flint, who is based at Fair Grounds, will be active this week at Oaklawn. He has Unbridled Express, who in his last start was third in the 2006 running of the Grade 1 Hopeful, set to return from a 2 1/2-year layoff in a first-level allowance here Thursday.

Flint said he also plans to run Solarana, a Group 2 winner in her native Argentina who has been racing at Fair Grounds, in the $50,000 Carousel on Saturday. He said he is considering a start in the Grade 2, $250,000 Fantasy here April 5 for More of the Best. She is a half-sister to Unbridled Express, and in her last out won a first-level allowance at Fair Grounds.

Earlier this meet, Flint shipped Citizen up from Fair Grounds to win the $50,000 Mountain Valley at 29-1.

Magnum targets Oaklawn Handicap

Magnum is being pointed for the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap here April 4, said his trainer, Darrell Vienna. The horse finished second in the race in 2006. Vienna said David Flores is scheduled to ride Magnum, who in his last start was fifth, beaten two lengths by the victorious Einstein, in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap.

* There are five $50,000 stakes here between Friday and Sunday, with four restricted to horses bred in Arkansas.