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It took a little longer than normal for Irap to show his speed. Usually, he pops right out of the gate and then, basically, tells the rest of the field to “come catch me if you can.”
On Saturday night, jockey Mario Gutierrez had to use a different tactic after his 3-year-old colt had some traffic issues going into the first turn. On Saturday night, Irap had to settle off the pace and wait his turn.
But speed is speed. If any place knows speed, it is Indianapolis. Or towns nearby. And, when it finally came time to turn on the jets, well, Irap was ready. Willing. And, more than able.
In true Indy 500-type fashion, Irap was all engine when his rider hit the gas. Urged to show his speed in the final turn this time, Irap obliged his jockey and pleased his supporters, spurting to an easy and impressive 5-length victory in the G3 Indiana Derby.
Irap has now won three stakes out his last four races — including the G2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and the G3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown. The only disappointment came in the G1 Kentucky Derby, when he struggled home at the end of the pack — 18th — after a rough beginning.
This time, though, Irap was able to handle anything and everything thrown at him. And, most of all, he easily handled the others in the Indiana Derby.
Irap, who was sent off as the 1.40-1 favorite, ran off to a 5-length victory, with Colonelsdarktemper a game second and Untrapped, another Kentucky Derby starter, running third. Watch Me Whip, supplemented to the Stakes for his connections, was a deep closing fourth.
At the beginning, things didn’t really go smoothly for Irap. After some early jostling for position, Gutierrez had to settle back in the fourth path and allow head strong Wild Shot and Hans Sense to battle for the front. Colonelsdarktemper — owned by the famed race car family of A.J. Foyt — was a stalking third.
But when called upon at the 3/8ths pole, Irap yanked Gutierrez nearly out of the saddle and it was wait no more. The son of Tiznow and out of the Storm Cat mare, Silken Cat, drew off to win with just mild urging.
Colonelsdarktemper — who came into the Indiana Derby off a huge try against McCraken in the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs — was game throughout and held second for jockey Jon Court and trainer Jinks Fires.