Dissecting The Derby: Irap

Dissecting The Derby: Irap

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - No race is tougher to ferret out than the Kentucky Derby, which at times can seem as perplexing 30 minutes before post time as it is 30 days before the run for the roses.

It can look so easy after the fact, so here we helpfully tell you in advance why the winner prevails.

Of course we do it for every horse in the field -- as well as explaining why you can't possibly cash a ticket betting that horse.

So let us do the detective work as we case out the Kentucky Derby.

IRAP (Post position 9; 20-1 odds)
Owner: Reddam Racing LLC
Trainer: Doug O'Neill
Jockey: Mario Gutierrez
Record: 8–1-3-1
Earnings: $772,600
Sire-dam: Tiznow-Silken Cat
Fastest Bris speed figure: 100, Toyota Blue Grass
Fastest Beyer speed figure: 93, Toyota Blue Grass
Last race: First in Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland

Why he can win:
He mastered the deepest Kentucky Derby prep in winning the Blue Grass, including defeating the then-Derby favorite, previously unbeaten McCraken. The team of owner Reddam Racing, trainer Doug O'Neill and Mario Gutierrez know how to win the Derby, having done so in 2012 with I'll Have Another and again last year with Nyquist. No previously winless horse had ever won the Blue Grass, as he did. Watch out now that — after never finishing less than two lengths of the winner in his first seven starts — he knows the idea is to hit the wire first! His sire, the WinStar Farm stallion Tiznow, was a two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner who infuses stamina into his offspring, so distance shouldn't be an issue. Most significantly: You know auto-correct will helpfully change Irap's name to Iran in the headlines if he wins.

What he won't:
The Blue Grass was a fluke. He got away with a dawdling pace and was trying his best to lay down.

Should Irap win, Paul and Zillah Reddam would join only three other owners with three Kentucky Derby victories (Belair Stud at three, Col. E.R. Bradley at four and Calumet Farm at eight) and the first in the modern era. O'Neill would be only the seventh trainer with at least three Derby triumphs. The last time the Blue Grass Stakes was downgraded from a Grade 1 to a 2, as it was this year, it produced the winners of the 1990 Derby (Unbridled) and Preakness (Summer Squall). Irap was a $300,000 Ocala Breeders' Sales March 2-year-old purchase.

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