LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 8, 2016) – Despite missing the break and trailing the field of eight early, Irish Jasper rallied along the rail to wear down favored Stonetastic late to win the TCA by 1¾ lengths and earn a berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) Nov. 5 at Santa Anita.
With the victory, Farish earned his 24th Keeneland graded stakes win to receive the Keeneland Bowl as part of the track’s Milestone Trophy Program.
Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Irish Jasper completed the six furlongs on a fast main track in 1:09.64. It was the second victory in the race for Leparoux, who won in 2009 on Informed Decision.
Irish Jasper is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of First Defence out of the Mr. Greeley mare Irish Connection. The victory was worth $150,000 and increased Irish Jasper’s earnings to $550,300 with a record of 15-8-0-1.
Irish Jasper returned $8, $3.40 and $2.60. Stonetastic, ridden by Paco Lopez, returned $2.80 and $2.20 and finished a neck in front of Bendable, who paid $2.80 to show under Jose Ortiz.
I’m a Looker finished fourth and was followed in order by Meshell, Spelling Again, Sarah Sis and 2015 race winner Fioretti.
Quotes from the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2)
Will Farish (winning co-owner of Irish Jasper)
“She’d won two Grade 3s, but this race was a big thing for us. A big thing to have it here at home. Julien (Leparoux) rode a hell of a race, particularly from the eighth pole where he had to make that move. Going that fast, it’s pretty tough.”
On whether Irish Jasper’s connections will take advantage of the “Win and You’re In” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1)
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Julien Leparoux (winning rider)
“It was a little scary at the beginning. I thought she was going to break a little bit better. After that, she traveled very good and we got through on the rail. She made a big run.”
Paco Lopez (rider of runner-up Stonetastic)
“I love the position of my filly. Today she cost me a little in the first jump and the second jump. Seemed like she was easy in the first quarter (:21.84), a little fast in the second (quarter fraction). Then I stayed right there. I knew the 1 (Irish Jasper) was coming. I was waiting for the 5 (Bendable) but the 1 came on.”
Jose Ortiz (rider of third-place finisher Bendable)
“I stuck with the plan to stay off of Stonetastic and at the quarter pole I went after her because she was the favorite. My filly gave me a good run from the quarter pole to the wire. She never gave up on me and I’m very happy the way she ran.”
Robby Albarado (rider of fourth-place finisher I’m a Looker)
“I had a good trip. Turning for home I thought I had a chance to beat them. She put me right in position where I needed to be. It was a really good race. You’ll see these horses in the Breeders’ Cup. These are the fastest fillies in the country. I expected her to run big. She ran huge.”