Long-shot Irap won the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes for his first career victory and 100 points toward the Kentucky Derby, holding off Practical Joke by three-quarters of a length Saturday as favorite McCraken made a late charge at Keeneland.
The Doug O’Neill-trained bay colt paid $64.60 as a 31-1 long shot, getting in the mix quickly from the No. 6 post and battling Wild Shot as unbeaten McCraken gave chase at the far turn. Irap took charge at the stretch and held off runs from Practical Joke and McCraken to pull off the upset in the Grade 2 race after finishing fourth in his previous start.
Jockey Julien Leparoux guided Irap over 1⅛ mile in 1:50.39 on the Kentucky track.
Practical Joke, the third choice, paid $5.60 and $3.20 and earned 40 points in the Derby standings. McCraken, who entered 4-0 and was the 8-5 favorite, returned $2.40 and received 20 points.
Wood Memorial — Irish War Cry won the $750,000 Wood Memorial by four lengths at Aqueduct, bouncing back from a poor performance in his previous start.
Ridden by Rajiv Maragh, Irish War Cry ran 1⅛ miles in 1:50.91, earning 100 points on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard for the victory.
The 3-year-old colt paid $9 to win for trainer Graham Motion.
Irish War Cry faded to seventh in the Fountain of Youth after dominating the Holy Bull.
Battalion Runner, co-favorite at 2-1 with Cloud Computing, earned 40 points. Cloud Computing earned 20 points, while 21-1 shot True Timber finished fourth and collected 10 points in the system used to determine the 20-horse starting field for next month’s Kentucky Derby.
Santa Anita Derby — Gormley won the $1 million Santa Anita Derby by a half-length in the West’s major prep for the Kentucky Derby.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Gormley ran 1⅛ miles in 1:51.16 and paid $14.40 to win at 6-1 odds. Battle of Midway was second, followed by Royal Mo and Reach the World in fourth.
Sydney Cup — The $1.5 million Sydney Cup was halted halfway through the 3,200-meter event after two horses threw their riders and one of the horses, Almoonqith, had to be euthanized.