NORTH RANDALL, OH – The 83rd running of the Grade 3, $500,000 Ohio Derby Saturday at JACK Thistledown Racino came right down to the wire, with Irap getting up by a nose over the 4-5 favorite Girvin.
As expected, Fast and Accurate had the lead as the field reached the first turn, setting fractions of :23.06 and :48.04 under pressure from Vibe, with Girvin just behind in third. Fast and Accurate relented first, followed by Vibe, and Girvin took the lead coming into the final turn. Irap, meanwhile, had made his way out of traffic in the first turn, tracked Girvin down the backstretch, and then came after him in the stretch. Girvin came over onto Irap as the two neared the wire, but Irap caught him despite the bump in a thrilling renewal of Ohio’s richest and only graded Thoroughbred race.
Final time for the 1 1/8-mile dirt race for 3 year olds was 1:50.48.
“He broke good and we had good position,” said winning rider Julien Leparoux. “I was a little farther back in the first turn (than expected), but I was right behind Mike Smith (on Girvin), and I knew that was the right horse to follow. He’s the kind of horse you have to ask pretty early because he has that long, long stride, so I was able to get him going early and got there on time. I didn’t know that I’d won, it was so close.”
Trained by Doug O’Neill, Irap is owned by Reddam Racing, LLC.
“I’m sitting here right now with the Reddams, we watched it together,” said O’Neill by phone. “There were some anxious moments because he got in a little traffic, but about the 1/2-mile pole, it kind of cleared out, and Julien had him in good position and came running with him. It was so close—it could have gone either way.”
Asked about Irap’s next start, O’Neill said, “There’s talk about bringing him home to California, there’s talk about the Indiana Derby—we’ll see how he comes out of it in the morning and put our heads together and come up with a plan.”
Untrapped and Sorry Erik completed the superfecta, followed by Game Over, Hinton, Talk Less, Vibe, and Fast and Accurate.
The Ohio Derby was the second graded stakes win for Irap, who also won the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes. A Tiznow colt out of the Storm Cat mare Silken Cat, his record stands at 2-3-1 in 10 starts for purse earnings of $1,072,600.
Irap returned $7.60, $3, and $2.40. Girvin brought back $2.40 and $2.10, while Untrapped paid $2.80 to show.
JACK Thistledown Racino