The 143 Kentucky Derby is restricted to only 20 Kentucky Derby runners and will run on Saturday, May 6, 2017, for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Here is the latest look at Irap, one of the contenders for the 2017 Kentucky Derby to be run at Churchill Downs.
Owners: Reddam Racing LLC
Trainer: Doug O'Neill
Pedigree: Tiznow – Silken Cat, by Storm Cat
Last Race Result: 1st Place, Blue Grass Stakes, 4/8/17
Horses that are 0-for-7 in their careers leading into April don't reach the Kentucky Derby. They just flat out don't do it. But Irap beat the odds, came back from a horrible start at the Sunland Derby on just two weeks of rest against the best field in the Kentucky Derby prep races and beat them all at the Blue Grass Stakes. He's earned his spot here at the Kentucky Derby for sure, and the four weeks off after two back-to-back grueling races is going to be well-needed and much deserved.
But there's the story of how to line this colt. We're not sure what's going to happen on the Kentucky Derby morning line odds, but Irap won't be +800 as he is right now. This is clearly an overreaction to what we saw at the Blue Grass Stakes. If he's really that good of a horse, whatever price hits the board in the beginning of Derby betting will be awesome. But if he is who he'd been up to that point, why in the world would anyone want to bet on this pony at anything less than 100 to 1?
Alright, Irap. You've got our attention. Sure, the Blue Grass Stakes wasn't the fastest ever. The 99 rating per Equibase was only just barely better than Brody's Cause last year and nowhere near what Carpe Diem and Dance With Fate pulled off in the years prior. But there's no doubting that that was a darn good field at Keeneland Park, and the fact that Irap beat them all and did it on short rest while everyone else was on regular rest shows that he's got a huge heart.
Down the stretch, Irap looked like he was going to be a beaten horse. Practical Joke and McCraken were right on his tail heading into the last two furlongs in the front stretch, and at that moment in time, we would have bet good money that he was going to finish fourth or worse. Instead, Irap just dug in and ran the biggest two furlongs of his life, looking at Practical Joke like he was a mere speed bump on the path to his first career victory.
And here, we have the biggest problem with Irap. He had literally never even led a race before in his career, let alone won one, and that makes us wonder if he needs to be more of a front running horse. He didn't come out of the box on the lead at the Blue Grass Stakes, but he was closer to the lead than he usually was and was put into a really good position by jockey Julien Leparoux. Once Irap blew past Wild Shot and led for the very first time in his career, it's like he had been there a million times before. McCraken and Practical Joke both challenged him in those last two furlongs, but he dug in for everything he was worth and put down two really good horses who will both be in the Kentucky Derby alongside him.
If Irap doesn't get to the head of the field, is he going to taper off as he did in every other race he's run aside from the Blue Grass? Because there sure isn't a precedent for him coming from off the pace and being able to win from behind. That makes him a scary play in the Kentucky Derby, particularly at a price like this. It's hard though, to say that he just flat out stands no chance to win after the guts he showed at Keeneland.
With a maximum of 20 horses accepted into the Kentucky Derby field, there is a significant vetting process to qualify the horses among this group of three-year olds. A points system is in place to reward winners and other top finishers of the main races leading into the Derby. The Top 20 horses will get the first opportunity to run in the Kentucky Derby, though as horses bow out of the process, the next ones in the standings are given their chances until the field of 20 is set.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby wraps up the second week of April, thus ending a grueling stretch of eight months of qualifying for the top colts in the world. The field won't be finalized until the Kentucky Derby post draw on Wednesday, May 3.
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Below are some of the contenders that will possibly run the day of the race. There are 20 Derby Contenders for the race but these are the most likely ones will be confirmed a place at the event.
|Rank||Horse||Points||Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings||Graded Stakes Earnings||Breeder||Trainer||Owner|
|1||Girvin||150||$840,000||$840,000||Bob Austin & John Witte||Joe Sharp||Brad Grady|
|2||Gormley||125||$884,000||$884,000||Castleton Lyons & Kilboy Estate||John Shirreffs||Moss, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S.|
|3||Irish War Cry||110||$676,660||$616,660||Isabelle de Tomaso||H. Motion||Isabelle de Tomaso|
|4||Irap||108||$760,000||$738,000||Aaron & Marie Jones||Doug O'Neill||Reddam Racing LLC|
|5||Always Dreaming||100||$589,000||$589,000||Santa Rosa Partners||Todd Pletcher||St Elias, Teresa Viola Racing Stables, Brooklyn Boys, MEB Stables|
|6||Gunnevera||84||$1,137,800||$1,134,200||Brandywine Farm & Stephen Upchurch||Antonio Sano||Peacock Racing Stables, LLC|
|7||Practical Joke||74||$966,000||$966,000||Whispering Oaks||Chad Brown||Klaravich Stables, Inc. and Lawrence, William H.|
|8||J Boys Echo||63||$305,000||$305,000||Betz, Blackburn, J. Betz, Ramsby, CNHHNK||Dale Romans||Albaugh Family Stables LLC|
|9||State of Honor||62||$310,364||$280,000||Manfred Conrad & Penny Conrad||Mark Casse||Conrad Farms|
|10||Mastery||60||$480,000||$480,000||Stone Farm||Bob Baffert||Cheyenne Stables LLC|
|11||Tapwrit||54||$325,570||$280,000||My Meadowview LLC||Todd Pletcher||Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and LaPenta, Robert V.|
|12||Epicharis (JPN)||50||$753,381||$400,000||Masatsugu Kamada||Kiyoshi Hagiwara||Carrot Farm|
|13||Malagacy||50||$540,000||$540,000||John Trumbulovic||Todd Pletcher||Sumaya U.S. Stable|
|14||McCraken||40||$385,048||$335,320||Whitham Thoroughbreds, LLC||Ian Wilkes||Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC|
|15||Battle of Midway||40||$224,000||$224,000||Thor-Bred Stables, LLC||Jerry Hollendorfer||Fox Hill Farms, Inc.|
|16||Patch||40||$200,000||$200,000||Calumet Farm||Todd Pletcher||Calumet Farm|
|17||Battalion Runner||40||$140,000||$140,000||Dell Ridge Farm, LLC||Todd Pletcher||St. Elias Stable|
|18||Cloud Computing||40||$135,000||$135,000||Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc & Stretch Run Ventures, LLC||Chad Brown||Klaravich Stables, Inc. and Lawrence, William H.|
|19||Mont Saint Legame (JPN)||40||$0||$0||Kawashima Bokujo||Koji Maki||Shinichi Yamashita|
|20||Untrapped||34||$210,000||$210,000||Indian Creek & Jonathan Sheppard||Steven Asmussen||Michael Langford|
|21||Classic Empire||32||$1,493,820||$1,493,820||Steven Nicholson & Brandi Nicholson||Mark Casse||John C. Oxley|
|22||El Areeb||30||$330,000||$270,000||Dixiana Farms LLC||Cathal Lynch||M M G Stables, LLC|
|23||Royal Mo||30||$213,000||$213,000||Brandywine Farm||John Shirreffs||Moss, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S.|
|24||Local Hero||30||$140,000||$140,000||Three Chimneys Farm LLC||Steven Asmussen||e Five Racing Thoroughbreds|
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