With Irap's remarkable win in Saturday's $1 million Blue Grass S. (G2), Tiznow will have one of the favorites in this year's $2 million Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 6 at Churchill Downs.
Irap had flashed plenty of talent in his seven starts prior to the Blue Grass, finishing second in both the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) and Robert B. Lewis S (G3). The Reddam Racing colt would see his fortunes turn in the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass as he turned back the charge of Practical Joke and pre-race favorite McCraken.
Irap got away cleanly and tracked in second to Wild Shot, who posted a half-mile in :48.34. Going into the final turn, Irap took over the top spot from a fading Wild Shot. Down the stretch, Irap dug in to hold off the late charge of Practical Joke to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.39 on a fast track.
"When you look at his races, he was running good," winning rider Julien Leparoux said. "It was a tough field today and what he did was great. I knew leaving from the gate I could ask him for a little bit more. The plan worked perfect.”
Irap's victory was the first by a maiden in the history of the Blue Grass and earned the Reddam Racing colt 100 points in Road to the Roses Kentucky Derby Challenge, assuring him a spot into the Churchill Downs classic.
"He's a son of Tiznow, and he has a ton of ability. The fact he was still a maiden was kind of unfortunate, but he's always been a talented horse," trainer Doug O'Neill said.
Irap upped his earnings to $772,600 with the win. The impeccably-bred colt is out of Silken Cat, also the dam of WinStar's top-class stallion Speightstown. Dennis O'Neill bought Irap on Reddam's behalf for $300,000 at the OBS March 2016 2-year-olds in Training Sale.