Frisky Thunder defeated Pleasant Strike by a half-length in last year's race for one of his 3 wins in 4 starts in 2008. He tuned up for this spot by holding on by a neck, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Pleasant Strike, in a 7 1/2-furlong allowance on Delaware Park's turf on May 23.
Pleasant Strike was also making his first start of the season in that race. He was the beaten favorite at 3-5 in last year's Van Clief.
The seven-horse field also includes Lazy Lane Farm's Southwest. Fifth in last year's Virginia Derby after a troubled trip, Southwest missed by a head in his first start of the year in a high-priced optional claimer at Delaware.
James S. Carter's Should Expect (20/1), Turner Thoroughbred Farm's Slouts (50/1), Mede Cahaba Stable & Stud LLC's Class Bopper (30/1) and Albert P. Coppola's Mouth Weather (8/1) round out the field.
All seven entries are homebreds.