By Amy Owens —-
IRAP BUCKS HISTORICAL TREND WITH TOYOTA BLUE GRASS SHOT
• GALLOPING OUT
• OPENING WEEKEND PROBABLE STAKES FIELDS
IRAP BUCKS HISTORICAL TREND WITH TOYOTA BLUE GRASS SHOT
Reddam Racing’s Irap will shoot for a piece of history along with the $600,000 winner’s share of the purse in next Saturday’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2).
No maiden has won the race, which will have its 93rd running this year. Two maidens started in last year’s race: Laoban, who finished fourth, and Goats Town, who was sixth.
Trained by Doug O’Neill, Irap, a half-brother to champion sprinter Speightstown, has compiled a record of 7-0-3-1. He finished fourth in last Sunday’s Sunland Park Derby (G3) in New Mexico.
“He got here yesterday afternoon,” said Antonio Romero, Irap’s exercise rider who is overseeing the colt’s preparations here. “He went to the Fair Grounds from El Paso, spent one day there and then flew in here.”
Irap jogged on Keeneland’s all-weather training track Friday morning for his first local activity.
A graduate of Keeneland’s 2015 September Yearling Sale, Irap has banked $156,600. Two of his runner-up finishes came in the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity (G1) and the Robert B. Lewis (G2),
One reason Irap remained on the road in the quest for points toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) is because stablemate So Conflated is being pointed to the Santa Anita Derby (G1), the same day as the Toyota Blue Grass.
“Mr. (Paul) Reddam wants to get a horse in the Kentucky Derby,” Romero said about Irap’s owner.
The Reddam-O’Neill tandem struck Derby gold for a second time last year with Nyquist to go with I’ll Have Another in 2012.
Nyquist spent more than three weeks at Keeneland after winning the Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) before completing his Kentucky Derby preparations at Churchill Downs. O’Neill indicated by text that Irap would follow the Nyquist path and remain here before going to Louisville should he earn enough points to get a spot in the Derby starting gate.
The Toyota Blue Grass is worth 170 points with 100, 40, 20 and 10 points being awarded to the first- through fourth-place finishers. Irap has accumulated 13 points and is 23rd on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. The top 20 point earners secure a spot in the gate.
O’Neill said Julien Leparoux, who won the 2013 Toyota Blue Grass on Java’s War, would have the mount on Irap.
While Irap limited his Friday morning activity to the training track, three other Toyota Blue Grass hopefuls galloped on the main track.
Whitham Thoroughbreds’ undefeated McCraken galloped over the sealed surface with Yoni Orantes aboard for trainer Ian Wilkes.
Harold Lerner, AWC Stables, Scott Akman and Nehoc Stables’ Its Your Nickel galloped shortly after the track opened for training with Pablo Portes aboard for trainer Kenny McPeek.
Calumet Farm’s Wild Shot, who arrived at Keeneland from South Florida on Thursday, galloped. He is expected to work a half-mile Monday or Tuesday, according to trainer Rusty Arnold. He said via text that Corey Lanerie, who rode Wild Shot to a runner-up finish behind McCraken in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) in November, would have the mount in the Toyota Blue Grass.
At Palm Beach Downs, Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta’s Tapwrit worked a half-mile in :48.75. Via text, trainer Todd Pletcher said the winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) would ship to Keeneland on Sunday and Jose Ortiz would have the mount in the Toyota Blue Grass.
Stonestreet Stables’ homebred Valadorna, one of the leading candidates for next Saturday’s 80th running of the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), galloped on the training track Friday morning.
David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse, said Valadorna “may work Saturday morning depending on the weather and how much more rain we get (Friday).”
Second in last year’s 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita and third in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds in her most recent race on Feb. 25, the Curlin filly broke her maiden at Keeneland last October in her second career start.
OPENING WEEKEND PROBABLE STAKES FIELDS
$150,000 TRANSYLVANIA (G3) PRESENTED BY KEENELAND SELECT (Entries close Monday; Race Friday April 7) – Big Score, Bird Is the Word, Bird’s Eye View, Cowboy Culture, Horse Fly, Oscar Performance, Profiteer, Sonic Boom, Ticonderoga.
$1,000,000 TOYOTA BLUE GRASS (G2) (Entries close Tuesday; Race Saturday, April 8) – Irap, It’s Your Nickel, J Boys Echo, McCraken, Practical Joke, Tapwrit, Wild Shot.
$500,000 CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND (G1) (Entries close Tuesday; Race Saturday, April 8) – Daddys Lil Darling, Elate, Pretty City Dancer, Valadorna. Possible: Princess Karen, Tapa Tapa Tapa.
$300,000 MADISON (G1) (Entries close Tuesday; Race Saturday, April 8) – Clothes Fall Off, Constellation, High Ridge Road, Mines and Magic, Paid Up Subscriber, Paulassilverlining, Wheatfield. Possible: Kathballu.
$250,000 COMMONWEALTH (G3) (Entries close Tuesday; Race Saturday, April 8) – A. P. Indian, Apprehender, Awesome Slew, Cautious Giant, Fish Trappe Road, Limousine Liberal, Redesdale, Riding in the Wind, Seeking the Soul, Tale of S’avall, Yockey’s Warrior.
$200,000 SHAKERTOWN (G2) (Entries close Tuesday; Race Saturday, April 8) – Blue Wings, Green Mask, Hogy, Holding Gold, Mongolian Saturday, Rainbow Heir.
$150,000 ADENA SPRINGS BEAUMONT (G3) (Entries close Thursday; Race Sunday, April 9) – Dancing Rags, Laney, Ms Locust Point, My Miss Chiff, Promises Broken, Sweet Loretta, Tapped. Possible: Sounds Delicious.