Saturday's $1 million Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland featured the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) Pool 3 favorite McCraken, recent prep winners Tapwrit and J Boys Echo, and Grade 1 winner Practical Joke. However, all were upset by the maiden Irap, who gamely held off Practical Joke to register a 31-1 upset in the historic 1 1/8-mile fixture.
In close pursuit of early leader Wild Shot through the opening five furlongs, Irap seized control under Julien Leparoux approaching the far turn. Soon taken on by Practical Joke, who made a wide, early bid down the backside, Irap gamely dug in during the stretch run and held on to win by three parts of a length in a time of 1:50.39 over a fast track.
Owned by Reddam Racing and trained by Doug O'Neill, who campaigned Kentucky Derby winners I'll Have Another (2012) and Nyquist (2016), Irap paid $64.60.
The first known maiden to the win the Blue Grass, Irap earned 100 qualifying points toward Kentucky Derby eligibility. Practical Joke earned 40 points while finishing three lengths ahead of 8-5 favorite McCraken, who was making his first start since February. McCraken suffered his first career defeat here, but earned an additional 20 Derby points for a total of 40.
J Boys Echo and Tapwrit, who, like McCraken, also had relatively rough trips, finished fourth and fifth, but both had enough Derby points going in to remain qualified for the Run for the Roses. It's Your Nickel and Wild Shot rounded out the order of finish.
Now an earner of $772,600 from a line of 8-1-3-1, Irap had a third and two fourths in three attempts in maiden company, but has otherwise competed in stakes. A distant second to Mastery in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) in December, he preceded this win with seconds in the Robert B. Lewis (G3) and $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland, with a follow-up fourth in the Sunland Derby (G3) last time.
A $300,000 OBS juvenile buy when last through the sales ring, Irap is by Tiznow and out of the Storm Cat mare Silken Cat, a Canadian champion who has also famously reared U.S. champion sprinter and noted sire Speightstown.