The threesome all put in their penultimate workouts for the Kentucky Derby at Keeneland on Friday morning, beating a Saturday forecast for rain.
Toyota Blue Grass winner Irap put in the first of two scheduled pre-Kentucky Derby workouts at Keeneland on Friday, covering a mile in 1:44.
Video of Irap Workout
With Julien Leparoux aboard, Irap worked over a fast track after the morning track renovation break. Timed from the seven-eighths pole, Irap started off at a two-minute lick with fractions of :15 and :29 and then produced splits of :41.20, :53, 1:06, 1:30 and the mile in 1:44.
“I thought he went great,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “Julien was happy with it and Irap switched leads right on cue and finished well. I do that a lot with my two-turn horses. It was a good piece of work.”
Friday marked the first time O’Neill had seen Irap since he finished fourth in the Sunland Derby on March 26.
“He looks phenomenal,” said O’Neill. “We love it here at Keeneland. This brings back a lot of good memories. It made a lot of sense to stay here because there are a lot of options with the (all-weather) training track. It worked last year and it was a no-brainer to stay here.”
O’Neill was scheduled to return to California Friday. He will be back at Keeneland next Friday when Irap puts in his next work.
“Mario will work him next week,” O’Neill said. “It will be pretty much as the same as today with the two-minute lick and then three-quarters.”
For Nyquist’s final pre-Derby work last year, O’Neill had the colt work before the first race of that afternoon’s program.
“I’d love to do the same thing this year, but we had a little more clout last year,” O’Neill said of Nyquist. “That is when the track is at its best.”
O’Neill said Irap would ship to Churchill Downs April 29 or 30.
Practical Joke, with Fernando Rivera aboard, worked a half-mile in :49.80 in company with Ticonderoga for trainer Chad Brown.
Video of Practical Joke Workout
Keeneland clockers caught the Into Mischief colt in fractions of 12.60, 24.80, 37.40, 49.80 and out five furlongs in 1:01.60.
“He worked fine,” Brown said. “He worked an easy half, and I was happy with what I saw. He’s moving sound and happy. He’ll have a serious work next Friday at Churchill, weather permitting.”
Brown said Practical Joke would ship to Churchill Downs on Monday. He said he is pleased with how Practical Joke has fared this month at Keeneland, saying, “The horse is full of himself. His energy level is great. Since he arrived at Keeneland, he’s loved it here. That’s why we kept him here a little longer after the (Blue Grass).”
Brown said Ticonderoga, fourth in the Transylvania Stakes on April 7, would return to New York and possibly be pointed to a race in late May.
Tapwrit and workmate Wissam jogged a short distance to the finish line before turning around and starting to gallop.
Video of Tapwrit Workout
With Jose Ortiz aboard Tapwrit and Romain Techer on the maiden Wissam, the pair eased into the move with an opening quarter mile of 25 and cruised in tandem through the stretch. With Ortiz giving Tapwrit mild encouragement in the closing strides, they finished five furlongs in 1:01.40. Tapwrit left his workmate behind in a strong gallop out of 1:14.80.
“We were looking for a good maintenance drill,” said Ginny DePasquale, Todd Pletcher’s assistant who is handling his Keeneland string. “He galloped out very well and Jose was very pleased. He had to keep him focused a little bit, but that is just him. That is why he was tapping him at the end. He has come a long way, but you have to tell him, ‘This is what we are doing today.’ You have to keep him focused.”
Edited Keeneland release