04/12/2009 11:00PM

Small stables, big results

Kurtis Coady/Coady Photography
Jockey Rafael Bejarano celebrates aboard Papa Clem after winning Saturday's Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Between them, Gary Stute and Tom McCarthy train exactly seven horses. But one of Stute's six is Papa Clem, who on Saturday won the Arkansas Derby here at Oaklawn Park. McCarthy's one-horse stable consists of General Quarters, who on Saturday won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Both trainers, and their horses, secured berths in the May 2 Kentucky Derby, whose ranks of top contenders took a hit when Old Fashioned suffered a career-ending injury when finishing second in the Arkansas Derby.

Papa Clem, who got a Beyer Speed Figure of 99, was scheduled to travel to Churchill Downs on Tuesday. On Sunday morning, Stute said the colt "looks perfect." Stute flew home to California on Sunday to look after his remaining horses at Santa Anita, but 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."

Pointing to Papa Clem as he walked around the barn's shedrow Sunday morning, Stute said, "This is 95 percent of my income, right here."

"This is the biggest win for me," added 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."

Old Fashioned suffered a non-displaced slab fracture to his right knee, according to his trainer, Larry Jones, who said Old Fashioned would be sent to Lexington, Ky., and likely undergo surgery at the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic this week.

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

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."

Jones was downcast Sunday morning.

"With Proud Spell going out 12 days ago, and then this colt, it's a pretty major hit to the barn," he said. "It gets tough."

Jones still has an excellent Kentucky Derby contender in Friesan Fire, the Louisiana Derby winner, who was scheduled to work Tuesday at Keeneland.

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.

"My major goal with him is the Belmont Stakes," Ice said. "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, according to trainer Mac Robertson.

"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."

General Quarters got a 95 Beyer in the Blue Grass. He won the Sam Davis Stakes earlier this year before finishing fifth to Musket Man in the Tampa Bay Derby.

"He had some traffic problems in the Tampa Bay Derby, and I knew he was better than that," McCarthy said. "Since that race, he'd been showing me he was ready to run a big one, especially that last work," a five-furlong drill in 58.20 seconds.

Eibar Coa rode General Quarters in the Blue Grass, a week after riding Musket Man to victory in the Illinois Derby. His agent, Matt Muzikar, said no final decision has been made as to which horse Coa would ride in the Kentucky Derby.

Hold Me Back, who finished second in the Blue Grass, will move on to the Derby, according to Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm, which owns Hold Me Back.

Terrain, who finished fourth, also is still under consideration for the Derby, trainer Al Stall Jr. said.

Charitable Man, who finished seventh in the Blue Grass in his first start since September, will point for the Travers Stakes later this year, according to Neal McLaughlin, the brother and assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Theregoesjojo, who finished ninth, had a stifle problem that plagued him as a 2-year-old flare anew, according to trainer Ken McPeek. He is off the Derby trail.

Plans have not been solidified with Mafaaz, who finished eighth. He earned an automatic berth in the Derby by virtue of his win in the Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at Kempton. Should he defect, that would open another spot in the Derby, which is capped at 20 runners.

If more than 20 horses enter the Derby, the field is determined by earnings in graded stakes races.

The weekend's results boosted the chances that Dunkirk, the Florida Derby runner-up, would have sufficient graded stakes earnings to make the Derby field. But that puts jockey Garrett Gomez and his agent, Ron Anderson, in a difficult spot. They have been riding Dunkirk, but they also have been riding Pioneerof the Nile, the Santa Anita Derby winner.

On Monday, Anderson, who is at Keeneland, and Bob Baffert, the trainer of Pioneerof the Nile who was at Santa Anita, exchanged a series of phone calls after which they agreed to meet in Lexington, Ky., on Friday to discuss the situaiton. Pioneerof the Nile is scheduled to work Wednesday at Santa Anita. Baffert is flying to Kentucky later this week in order to run Mythical Power in the Grade 2, $300,000 Lexington Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland.

Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy, who finished second in the Santa Anita Derby, are both scheduled to fly to Kentucky on Thursday.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Square Eddie, who is scheduled to make his first start since Jan. 17 on Saturday in the Lexington Stakes, "worked lights out," trainer Doug O'Neill said, when breezing six furlongs in 1:12.20 on Saturday morning at Hollywood Park. He was scheduled to fly to Kentucky on Tuesday.

Another California invader for the Lexington, Jeranimo, worked a half-mile in 49 seconds Monday at Santa Anita for trainer Mike Pender.

- additional reporting by David Grening and Marty McGee