SHELBYVILLE, IN – Any doubt of Irap‘s skillset compared to the nation’s 3-year-old crop was put to rest when he dominated the Grade 3, $500,000 Indiana Derby on Saturday at Indiana Grand Race Course.
As expected, Wild Shot, Colonelsdarktemper, and Han Sense showed the early speed, with Wild Shot and jockey Corey Lanerie cutting fractions of :23.71 and :47.71 before Irap took the lead by the 3/4 marker.
Under jockey Mario Gutierrez, Irap rode the rail before taking the lead by 6 furlongs in 1:11.78 before completing a mile in 1:35.91 and crossing the finish in 1:42.21 for the victory, Irap’s second straight in the unofficial Midwestern Triple Crown.
“It helped that I got time to run a couple of horses over the track before this race,” said Gutierrez, who was making his riding debut at Indiana Grand and rode two prior races (including Mopotism in the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks) before the Derby. “When I asked for him (Irap) to run, he responded. He gave no indication to me he was slowing down at the wire.”
An increasing 5 lengths behind Irap, Colonelsdarktemper finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Untrapped, with Watch Me Whip, Awesome Saturday, Wild Shot, Hollwood Handsome, Han Sense, Brockton, and Top Credentials completing the order of finish in the second leg of the unofficial Midwestern Triple Crown.
With the winner’s share of $285,000, Irap increased his career earnings to $1,375,600 with a record of 11-3-3-1. All three wins came in the past four races, including the Grade 3 Ohio Derby and the Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass.
“I thought he’s matured as a racehorse now,” said Reddam, who is a former philosophy professor at California State University. “He always had the tools, which is why we put him in ambitious spots, but mentally, he wasn’t quite there yet. Now, he’s there.”
Irap returned $4.80, $3.20, and $2.60. Colonelsdarktemper brought back $9.60 and $5.80, while Untrapped paid $2.80 to show.