Irap is the equine equivalent of the student who skips ahead a few grades. He was runner-up last year in the Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity in his third career start despite not winning his first two starts. After losing again in the maiden ranks on New Year’s Eve, he was promoted to stakes company where he has raced exclusively this year.

He was something of a curiosity when he left his West Coast base for Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes in April. Still a non-winner, Irap had three placings in stakes plus a fourth in the Sunland Derby. As a 31-1 long shot, Irap won the Blue Grass as a prelude to being an also-ran in the Kentucky Derby.

He soon returned to the head of the class with victories in the Ohio Derby and Indiana Derby. He solidified his status as ranking among the best of his generation when third in the Travers Stakes August 26.

He is a son of Tiznow, the only two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic and a member of the Racing Hall of Fame. His mother, Silken Cat, also produced 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Speightstown. Irap was offered at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale, but was listed as not sold on a final bid of $140,000. He resurfaced at the 2016 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s March sale where he was purchased by trainer Doug O’Neill’s brother, Dennis, on behalf of owner J. Paul Reddam for $300,000.

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