2017 Kentucky Derby Horse Profile for Irish War Cry

Irish War CryIrish War Cry (Coglianese Photos)

Irish War Cry Career Statistics

Starts: 5

Wins: 4

Places: 0`

Shows: 0

Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings: $672,660

Owner: Isabelle de Tomaso

Trainer: Graham Motion

Jockey: Rajiv Maragh

Pedigree: Curlin – Irish Sovereign, by Polish Numbers

Recent Finish: 1st, Wood Memorial, G2 (4/8/17)

Notable Wins:  Wood Memorial, Holy Bull, G2 (2/4/17)

Irish War Cry (Curlin) and jockey Rajiv Maragh win the Wood Memorial (Gr II) at Aqueduct Racetrack

Irish War Cry History

Irish War Cry had a 97 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the Holy Bull (G2) in February at Gulfstream in his first try beyond a mile. He won that race with the benefit of an easy, uncontested lead. That won’t be the case in the Derby. He flopped in his next race finishing 7th as the 6-5 favorite in the Fountain of Youth (G2), with Derby runners Gunnevera and Practical Joke finishing 1st and 2nd.

The beautiful New Jersey-bred son of Curlin breezed very well at his Fair Hill base in Maryland leading up to the Wood, and then he bounced back to settle beautifully and win the Wood Memorial. He stalked the leader Battalion Runner and gave his best when asked by jockey Rajiv Maragh at the eighth pole to kick away for a 3 ½ length win. He will be one of the top 3-4 favorites in the Derby. His recent win in the Wood Memorial looks fairly impressive, but his final eighth time of :38.98 seconds was not.

Irish War Cry will arrive at Churchill Downs May 1. The keyin the Derby is to get him to relax early, and that’s often a challenge with the cavalry charge into the first turn. He’ll likely be stalking the pace setters pending his post draw, but he has a tremendous presence about him and has posted some strong speed figures as the only 3-year-old horse with three triple-digit Brisnet speed figures, and another at 99. Irish War Cry has a similar running style to Derby favorite Always Dreaming, and it shouldn’t surprise bettors if he’s making a solid Run for the Roses when the real running begins down the stretch.

Some key speed figures and stats for Irish War Cry:

  • Final 3/8ths time in Wood Memorial Derby – :38.98 seconds
  • Career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure in Wood Memorial
  • Only Derby horse with three 100+ Brisnet Speed Figures
  • Has won 4 of 5 starts

Horses that are finishing strongly at the end of their prep races are more likely to handle the distance of the Kentucky Derby (1 ¼ miles) than horses that are tiring at the end of their prep races. Thus, many handicappers believe one of the key factors to emphasize is how fast each contender ran the last three-eighths of a mile in their final prep race.

Irish War Cry ran a final 3/8 mile in 38.98 seconds in his final prep in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Generally, a final three-eighths time of less than 38 seconds is considered good, while anything over 39 seconds is slow. Of course, these times can be affected by a variety of factors, including the speed of the racetrack and the early pace of the race (it’s easier to finish fast if you’ve gone very slow early on). However, the fact remains that each of the last five Kentucky Derby winners – and 15 of the last 20 – ran the last three-eighths of their final Derby prep race in less than 38 seconds.

But note that Aqueduct had a severe speed bias all day when he won the Wood, so his time was affected more by the speed of the track and he didn’t need to give it all in the final furlong with no closers making a move.

The Wood Memorial has not produced a top-three finisher in the Derby since Funny Cide and Empire Maker ran 1-2 in 2003 after Empire Maker beat Funny Cide in the Wood. That’s just a trend, and Irish War Cry has the pedigree and star potential to buck it and will be included in many sharp handicappers exotic wagers.

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