Kentucky Derby Runners on the Breeders' Cup Trail for July 15
Three-year-old superiority following the 2017 Kentucky Derby is still far from established, but one thing is clear: the form shown by the Derby contestants since the First Saturday in May has proven to be strong.
A number of the field have won races or run strongly at the top level since the Derby, and last weekend’s racing produced victories for three Derby contestants: Hence in the Iowa Derby, Practical Joke in the Dwyer Stakes, and Thunder Snow in the Prix Jean Prat.
This weekend, it’s the turn of Irap and Untrapped, who clash again in the $500,000 Indiana Derby (G3) over 1 1/16 miles, to reinforce the quality of the Kentucky Derby. Their connections will want them to run well if they are to consider a fall campaign aimed at the Breeders’ Cup.
Irap and Untrapped both finished in the second half of the Kentucky Derby field. But both of them ran solid races in the Ohio Derby (G3) over 1-1/8 miles June 24, with Irap narrowly beating another Derby runner in Girvin, and Untrapped running third a further 4-1/4 lengths back.
Irap produced the biggest surprise of the Derby prep races when he broke his maiden status in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. His victims included Practical Joke, McCraken, and Tapwrit, all of whom have since won graded stakes races. Prior to then, he’d run a number of useful races in good 3-year-old company without winning.
Untrapped hasn’t won since taking a maiden special weight race at Churchill Downs Nov. 20 last year. But he’s run well at three, finishing second in the LeComte Stakes (G3) and the Risen Star Stakes (G2), third in the Rebel Stakes (G2), and sixth in the Arkansas Derby (G1).
Their opponents include Hollywood Handsome, who was considered good enough to contest this year’s Belmont Stakes (G1), though he didn’t get a chance to show his ability when a race scrimmage forced jockey Florent Geroux out of his irons.
Also racing on Saturday is one of the boom 3-year-olds heading into last year’s Kentucky Derby. Mohaymen was the favorite for Pool 2 and Pool 3 of the 2016 Kentucky Derby Future Wager after winning his first five races, four at grade 2 level. He disappointed with a fourth-place finish behind Nyquist in the Florida Derby (G1), though he showed better form when filling the same place behind the same horse in the Kentucky Derby.
Surprisingly to many, Mohaymen hasn’t won since then in four starts, and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has decided to see if a switch to turf will revitalize the son of Tapit. He takes on a useful field in the Forbidden Apple Stakes over a mile at Belmont Park. His opponents include recent stakes winners Disco Partner and Offering Plan, and the 8-year-old veteran Grand Arch, the third-place finisher in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).
You can watch all of these races live at TwinSpires and while there, place a bet or two!