03/26/2010 12:00AM

Pleasant Prince in shaky spot


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - As of Friday, Pleasant Prince held down the all important 20th and final spot on the graded earnings list with $162,500. But with 14 more graded stakes for 3-year-olds still on the calendar leading up to the Kentucky Derby on May 1, it's not a position the Florida Derby runner-up figures to hold on to for very long.

But despite the realities of the math, owner Ken Ramsey and trainer Wesley Ward are sticking to their guns and not planning on running Pleasant Prince again prior to the Derby.

"I spoke with Mr. Ramsey back at the barn after the Florida Derby and we decided this horse's best chance to win the Kentucky Derby was to train into the race rather than squeeze another race in beforehand," Ward said Friday. "He really wants to do what's in the best interests of the horse rather than pushing him just to get into the Derby."

Ward is counting on the possibility that there could be as many defections amongst the Derby contenders currently above Pleasant Prince on the earnings list as there will be new additions following the next several weeks of Derby preps.

"Historically horses begin falling off the trail the closer you get to the Derby," said Ward. "We're just hopeful fate will come our way."

Ward plans to keep Pleasant Prince at Gulfstream at least through the middle of next week and perhaps even longer, depending upon how he's training and the availability of flights to Kentucky. Pleasant Prince will ultimately complete his final Derby preparations at Keeneland.