Irish Prize Heads Bang-Up Firecracker

Neil Drysdale trainee Irish Prize is likely to go highweighted in the $250,000-added Firecracker Breeders' Cup (gr. II) July 4 at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old Irish River gelding has been setting off fireworks throughout 2001, with three graded stakes wins from four starts. Irish Prize most recently took down the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park, and earlier in the year captured both the San Gabriel H. (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita and the Fastness H. (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood. He totals seven wins from 19 starts lifetime, good for earnings of $672,754. Irish Prize is owned by Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum, and was assigned 122 pounds for the Firecracker.

His likely foes for the race, with weights, include Aly's Alley (117), Band Is Passing (117), Strategic Mission (116), Northcoate Road (115), Conserve (114), and Where's Taylor (114). Stanley Ersoff's Band Is Passing arrived in Louisville Friday from his base in Florida.