LEXINGTON, KY (April 8, 2017) – Reddam Racing’s Irap became the first maiden to win the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) for 3-year-olds on Saturday, holding off Practical Joke by three-quarters of a length before a crowd of 32,610.
Trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Irap covered the 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track in 1:50.39 in the 93rdrunning of the race. It was the second victory in the race for Leparoux, who won the race in 2013 with Java’s War.
The victory was worth $600,000 to Irap, a Keeneland sales graduate, and also gave him 100 points toward the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) to be run May 6 at Churchill Downs.
Irap has 113 points and a spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby that is limited to the top 20 point getters that pass the entry box.
Wild Shot took the lead out of the gate and set fractions of :23.79 and :48.34 with Irap in closest pursuit.
On the turn, Irap took over and opened a daylight advantage with Practical Joke making his first move. However, through the stretch, Irap never wavered and held off the two-time Grade 1 winner. Favored and previously undefeated McCraken was another 3 lengths back in third and 2½ lengths in front of J Boys Echo.
Tapwrit finished fifth with It’s Your Nickel sixth and Wild Shot seventh.
Practical Joke picked up 40 Kentucky Derby points to give him 74, McCraken doubled his total from 20 to 40, and J Boys Echo added 10 points to give him 63.
Irap is a Kentucky-bred son of Tiznow out of the Storm Cat mare Silken Cat. Two times graded-stakes placed prior to his victory, Irap increased his earnings to $772,600 with a record of 8-1-3-1.
Irap returned $64.60, $22.40 and $6.80. Practical Joke, ridden by Joel Rosario, returned $5.60 and $3.20 with McCraken, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., paying $2.40 to show.
Racing resumes Sunday with a nine-race program beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET. Headlining the program is the $150,000 Adena Springs Beaumont (G3) for 3-year-old fillies that goes as the eighth race with a 4:57 p.m. post time.
Keeneland’s stellar Toyota Blue Grass (G2) card was extremely attractive to bettors. The All-Stakes Pick Five, encompassing the five stakes races, handled $633,000 to eclipse all previous non-carryover Pick Five pools. The All-Stakes Pick Four, which included the Shakertown (G2), Madison (G1), Central Bank Ashland (G1) and Toyota Blue Grass, handled an all-time Keeneland record $733,000. The late Pick Four, which ended in race 11, handled $546,000. Taken together, the three big multi-leg wagers handled $1.912 million, a 32 percent increase from 2016.
The Pick 6 carryover for Sunday is $67,281.15.