Irap Continued Improvement Plenty Good to Win Indiana Derby
A preview of the $500,000 Indiana Derby showed Irap as the best horse in the field and the horse to beat. The Tiznow colt did not disappoint his betting backers Saturday night, drawing off and cruising home an easy 5-length winner in the featured race at Indiana Grand.
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Irap ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.21. He paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60 in the Grade 3 race for 3-year-olds. Irap is trained by Southern California-based Doug O’Neill.
“I think you have to (take Irap seriously),” O’Neill said. “He’s getting better with each race. We’ve learned so much from him. We just couldn’t be more happy than we are now. And Mario rode just a perfect race. Just very, very happy.
Colonelsdarktemper, owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, finished 2nd to return $9.60 and $5.80, while Untrapped was another length back in 3rd and paid $2.80 to show. The order of finish was rounded out by Watch Me Whip, Awesome Saturday, early pacesetter Wild Shot, Hollywood Handsome, Han Sense, Brockton George, and Top Credentials.
With a strong win in the Indiana Derby, owner Paul Reddam is expecting his maturing horse to take another shot “at the big boys again,” so the 1 ¼ mile Travers Stakes (G1) is likely next in late August at Saratoga.
The $285,000 winner’s share in the Indiana Derby boosted Irap’s earnings to $1,357,600 from a line of 11-3-3-1. He’s won back-to-back races after winning the Ohio Derby (G3) June 24.
“He’s definitely grown up since then (18th in Kentucky Derby),” Gutierrez said. “He was very unlucky in that race, and he was a bit immature back then. He has matured a lot, and he showed that today.”
Indiana Grand reported record attendance of 13,622 and record handle of $3.581 million on Saturday’s 10-race program.
Other Stakes winners on Indiana Grand’s big Saturday card included:
- $100,000 Indiana General Assembly Distaff – Beauly (13-1)
- $100,000 Warrior Veterans Stakes – Western Reserve (9-2)
- $100,000 Mari Hulman George Stakes – Tiger Moth (7-1)
- $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial – Eagle (5-2)
- $200,000 Indiana Oaks – Overture (12-1)