KENTUCKY DERBY PICTURE THROWN INTO DISARRAY
IRISH WAR CRY – 101 Beyer Speed Figure
IRAP – 93
GORMLEY – 88
KENTUCKY DERBY POINTS
Rank Horse Points Owner(s) Trainer b on-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Girvin 150 Brad Grady Joe Sharp $849,800
2. Gormley 125 Mr. & Mrs. Jerome S. Moss (Jerry & Ann Moss) John Shirreffs $884,000
3. Irap 113 Reddam Racing LLC (J. Paul Reddam) Doug O’Neill $744,000
4. Irish War Cry 110 Isabella De Tomaso Graham Motion $672,660
5. $-Thunder Snow (Ire) 100 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor $1,621,063
6. Always Dreaming 100 Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Teresa Viola Racing Stables et al. Todd Pletcher $589,000
7. Gunnevera 84 Peacock Racing Stables LLC (Solomon Del-Valle, Guillermo Guerra & Jaime Diaz) Antonio Sano $1,137,800
8. Practical Joke 74 Klaravich Stables Inc. (Seth Klarman) & William H. Lawrence Chad Brown $966,000
9. J Boys Echo 63 Albaugh Family Stables LLC (Jason Loustch) Dale Romans $305,000
10. State of Honor 62 Conrad Farm (Manfred & Penny Conrad) Mark Casse $309,564
Mastery 60 Cheyenne Stables LLC (Everett Dobson) Bob Baffert $480,000
11. Tapwrit 54 Bridlewood Farm (John & Leslie Malone), Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners (Aron Wellman) & Robert V. LaPenta Todd Pletcher $325,570
12. Malagacy 50 Sumaya U.S. Stables Todd Pletcher $540,000
13. Hence 50 Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) Steve Asmussen $481,129
14. $$-Fast and Accurate 50 Kendall E. Hansen Mike Maker $320,712
Epicharis (Jpn) 40 U. Carrot Farm Kiyoshi Hagiwara $851,195
15. McCraken 40 Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC (Janis R. Whitham) Ian Wilkes $385,048
16. Battle of Midway 40 Fox Hill Farms, Inc. (Rick Porter) Jerry Hollendorfer $224,000
17. Patch 40 Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) Todd Pletcher $200,000
18. Battalion Runner 40 St. Elias Stable (Vincent Viola) Todd Pletcher $140,000
19. Cloud Computing 40 Klaravich Stables Inc. (Seth Klaraman) & William H. Lawrence Chad Brown $115,000
20. Untrapped 34 Michael Langford Steve Asmussen $210,000
Note: One spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate is an invitation to the “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby” point leader. The invitation order of
preference is Epicharis-JPN (50 points), Mont Saint Legame-JPN (40 points) and Adirato-JPN (20 points).
21. Classic Empire 32 John C. Oxley Mark Casse $1,493,820
El Areeb 30 M M G Stables LLC (Mohammed Al-Gadhi) Cal Lynch $330,000
22. Royal Mo 30 Mr. & Mrs. Jerome S. Moss (Jerry & Ann Moss) John Shirreffs $213,000
23. Local Hero 30 e Five Racing Thoroughbreds (Bob Edwards) Steve Asmussen $140,000
+Conquest Mo Money 20 Judge Lanier Racing Miguel Hernandez $296,000
24. Iliad 20 Kaleem Shah Inc. Doug O’Neill $220,000
25. Master Plan 20 Al Shaqab Racing, WinStar Farm et al Todd Pletcher $214,700
If it wasn’t already a bit confusing, the picture of major contenders for the Kentucky Derby on May 6 became cloudier following 3 major ‘prep’ races on Saturday.
These races – the Wood Memorial in New York, Blue Grass in Kentucky and Santa Anita Derby in California – are nice, big races in their own right so don’t get fooled into thinking these races operate all that much as ‘preps’.
Two of the winners yesterday were colts who had been looking very good on their way to the Derby until poor recent outings. The other winner had never won a race before.
From Thoroughblog’s point of view, the Blue Grass had such a slow pace that the 3 big ones from that race had little chance and all rate another look on Derby day (McCraken, J Boys Echo and Tapwrit). The Wood Memorial was intriguing, and a fast race, and somehow Irish War Cry bounced back from a dreadful run in Florida. At Santa Anita, many horses had terrible trips and while Gormley has bounced back to good form, he really was ‘all in’ to win this race…
WOOD MEMORIAL – Shrewd tactics not only by trainer IAN WILKES to send IRISH WAR CRY to New York, but by comeback kid Rajiv Maragh to park this pretty chestnut colt just off the pace of Batallion Runner early in the race.
IRISH WAR CRY simply glided up to the lead around the turn and went on to win this historic race with flair, posting a 101 Beyer Speed Figure and certainly claiming the title of most impressive winner on a day of Derby preps.
Unbeaten in his first 3 races, this New Jersey bred by Curlin from the Polish Numbers mare Irish Sovereign was drilled 21 lengths by Gunnevera in the Fountain of Youth. Owned and bred by Isabelle de Tomaso, this colt looks quite all right after that win.
BLUE GRASS STAKES- GRADE 2
Downgraded this year, the Blue Grass winner has not won the Derby since 1991 (Strike the Gold) and it has been a decade since a runner in the Blue Grass won the Derby.
This year’s race appeared to be the deepest field and yet it was a race that featured a very slow, early pace and a very busy maiden colt stole the event.
J Paul Reddam – formerly of Windsor Ontario, has won 2 Derbys in 4 years and has another Derby starter this year in IRAP, a son of Tiznow from Canadian champion Silken Cat, by Storm Cat.
He became the the first maiden to win the $1 million Blue Grass (G2) 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 93rd running of the race.
His Beyer was a new top of 93 in his 8th career race.
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 is the 10th foal of Mazarine Stakes winner SILKEN CAT (1995 champion 2yo filly in Canada for Sam-Son Farms) and her first foal was the brilliant SPEIGHTSTOWN, a Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and now top sire.
Silken Cat, arguably one of the best Quebec-bred horses, came from a breeding planned by Ferme du Bois Verte. She rana 101 Beyer Figure first time out for trainer Mark Frostad , won her next 2 starts before she was sold to Aaron and Marie Jones. She finished third in the Del Mar Debutante in her lone outing for the Jones’.
Her other 8 runners include just 1 winner.
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.
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 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.
Quotes from Connections
J. Paul Reddam (whose Reddam Racing is owner of 31-1 longshot winner Irap. He and trainer Doug O’Neill watched the race from Santa Anita.)
“(When the horses were coming down the stretch) We thought, ‘Oh this is looking good’ and then in the stretch when we saw he actually had a chance, we all just started yelling and screaming. It seemed like the wire was taking forever to get there. When he made the lead I thought that son of a gun is going to hit the board here. Then, about the eighth pole I was thinking man we have a chance to win here because McCraken had backed out of it and a couple other horses didn’t fire for whatever reason. I really have got to say (trainer) Doug (O’Neill) did a fantastic job – he and his team. It’s just fantastic feeling when you don’t think you are going to (win).”
Doug O’Neill (winning trainer)
“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. (Jockey) Julien (Leparoux) gave him a great ride. Unbelievable.”
On whether Irap is continuing to the Kentucky Derby-G1
“That’s the plan. As long as he stays injury free, that will be our next move.”
Chad Brown (trainer of Practical Joke)
“He showed a lot of heart. I was disappointed with the trip but that was due to the (outside) post. (Jockey) Joel (Rosario) really didn’t have a chance to tuck him in. The winner really ran a courageous race. He really ran fantastic and I thought my horse did, too. Post is so important and today even though it was a short field, it hurt us because he had to go wide. I am proud of his effort.”
Brian Hernandez Jr. (rider of third-place finisher and beaten favorite McCraken)
“We had a good trip. He (McCraken) ran his race, and it was a good third today. He ran with some well proven horses. We will just go on from here.”
Ian Wilkes (trainer of McCraken)
He declined to comment immediately after the race.
Robby Albarado (rider of fourth-place finisher J Boys Echo)
“He got bumped around some, but he ran a decent race.”
Dale Romans (trainer of J Boys Echo)
“I thought we’d win the race, but he ran a credible race. You can go back in history and look at horses that run third or fourth in this race and come back and do well.”
On whether this performance sets J Boys Echo up for the Kentucky Derby
“I was hoping he would move forward off the other (last) race (when he won the Gotham-G3). We’re gonna go. He’s a good horse, and we’ll see what happens. Twenty horses in a mile and a quarter race; a lot of stuff can go right.”
Jose Ortiz (rider of fifth-place finisher Tapwrit)
“He broke well, maybe a step behind. Going into the first turn I was in a good spot behind Rosario (on Practical Joke) so I tried to follow him the whole way. When I tried to keep up with a half-mile remaining, I didn’t have too much horse. I don’t think he liked the track too much. When I hit the backside I was kind of nervous already.”
Todd Pletcher (trainer of Tapwrit)
“He seemed to run kind of flat. I thought he saddled beautifully and behaved really well in the post parade and the gate. He had his head in the air a little bit and missed the break a touch. Then he got stuck four or five wide all the way around there. It seemed like he struggled with the race track a little bit. He just ran kind of evenly and flat the whole way.”
On whether Tapwrit will continue to the Kentucky Derby
“We’ll see how he comes out of it and talk to everyone, but we feel like he’s that caliber of horse. As long as we don’t find any major reasons (not to), we’ll certainly take him to Churchill (Downs) and see how he trains there.”
GORMLEY BOUNCES BACK
with files from Santa Anita media –
Set down while well off the pace leaving the half mile pole, Gormley kept to his task through the lane en route to a half length win in Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, trained by John Shirreffs and owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, the Malibu Moon – Race to Urga by Bernstein colt got the mile and one eighth in 1:51.16 while picking up 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.
“I think the key was Espinoza rating Gormley and then making his big move,” said Shirreffs. “This is very exciting. It’s thrilling to have a Kentucky Derby horse and it’s for the same owners as (2005 Kentucky Derby winner) Giacomo. Royal Mo (third place finisher, also trained by Shirreffs and owned by the Mosses) ran really big. If he had a better post position, you wonder how he would have done.”
Fourth in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes here on March 11, Gormley was off at 6-1 in a field of 13 3-year-olds and paid $14.40, $7.20 and $5.00.
“Today, the big difference is that he was ready,” said Espinoza. “He’s really quick out of the gate and today the plan was to take him back and make him run, because it seemed like there was a little bit of speed in the race. I had a little bit of a hard time taking him back but all I had to do was jerk him one time, a bit harder than I wanted, and that’s all it took.
“He relaxed very nice. Down the backside, I started laughing to myself because I knew I was in a good position and I knew all the horses in front of me were going to stop…The only problem is his size. He’s not a very big horse but he’s tough and that’s what I like about him. He works really hard and that’s what it takes.”
A winner of the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes in his second start on Oct. 1, Gormley took the Grade III Sham Stakes two starts back and now has three graded stakes victories included in an overall mark of 6-4-0-0. With the $600,000 Derby first prize, he now has earnings of $920,000, while his stablemate, third place finisher, Royal Mo, banked $120,000 and collected 20 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.
“It’s been such a great time bringing both of these horses up and they both came through beautifully today,” said Jerry Moss. “It was fantastic to see Royal Mo do so well today. Gary (Stevens) rode him perfectly. He was the pacesetter for a while even…We’re just delighted.”
Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Jerry Hollendorfer’s Battle of Midway pressed the issue throughout and finished second, a half length in front of Royal Mo. Off at 7-1, Battle of Midway paid $7.80 and $5.40.
“He ran really well,” said Nakatani. “I wish we could’ve gotten a breather at some point, but it didn’t work out that way. He ran dynamite.”
WOODBINE TRACKS CRAMMED WITH HORSES
A couple of hundred horses worked at Woodbine on Saturday and Sunday mornings, the first nice mornings, weather-wise, in a few days. Spotted out on the track were runners from all the top stables and stakes stars such as CAREN (102 1/5) Sunday, GLENNVILLE GARDENS, JUST BE KIND, GOODOLDHOCKEYGAME, GALE FORCE and so many more.
The tracks were quite fast on both days. Saturday on the Tapeta, the 59 times clocked by MARTEN RIVER and PUNTROOSKIE were very sharp. Keep an eye out for them.