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Apr 06, 2012

The son following in dad's footsteps


Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Eight years ago Smarty Jones won the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and proceeded to capture the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes before finishing a heart wrenching second to Birdstone in the Belmont Stakes. The Pennsylvania-bred was voted the Eclipse Award as the year's champion colt.

A son of the great Smarty Jones is following in his footsteps by being entered in the Arkansas Derby on Saturday, April 14. Isn't He Clever is one of 97 three-year-olds nominated for the 1 1/8-mile stakes coming three weeks before the Run for the Roses.

Trained by Henry Dominguez, the gelding is coming off a second-place performance behind Daddy Nose Best in the Sunland Derby, beaten less than a length.

"We're just hoping he runs a similar race to the Sunland Derby, but maybe wait a little longer this time," Dominguez said. "It's his style (to be near the front) and we're not going to try and change him."

Isn't He Clever had won Sunland Park's Borderland Derby on Feb. 25 for his only win this year. Three weeks earlier at odds of 7-1 he was fifth in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes behind I'll Have Another at Santa Anita. A disqualification moved him up to fourth.

"We've kind of thrown that race out," said Dominquez. "It was his first race of the year and he was fresh. That's not his style. He's done well since then and really matured."

Isn't He Clever, owned by Kirk and Judy Robison, has four wins and two seconds from seven starts with $188,000 in graded stakes earnings. He currently stands 21st on the earnings list that determines the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field.

"What I like about Isn't He Clever is he doesn't get excited about anything. You know, he's real good about anything that you want him to do," the New Mexico based trainer noted. "He's not unruly and he just behaves and he does everything you want him to do."

Robby Albarado, who won the 2007 Arkansas Derby aboard Curlin, will have the mount. He will be the fourth different jockey to ride Isn't He Clever in as many races.

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