Reddam Racing's multiple graded stakes winner Irap, who went from divisional upstart to one of the more consistent 3-year-old males this season, was euthanized Oct. 20 after developing laminitis, his connections announced.
Trained by Doug O'Neill, Irap suffered a lateral sesamoid fracture of the left front while finishing second to West Coast in the Sept. 23 Pennsylvania Derby (G1). The son of Tiznow underwent surgery at New Bolton Center where they fused his ankle and put in metal plates to stabilize the area. Though the initial prognosis was positive, owner Paul Reddam said the strong-bodied colt started taking a turn for the worse days after.
"After the surgery to repair the broken sesamoids in the front left leg he was doing well," Reddam said. "(He) was walking the next day and we thought it might be OK. Three days after the surgery he got a fever and subsequent infection at the operation site. He was doing better the last week and a half but last night they discovered rotation in the opposite (right) foot. We didn't want him to suffer.
"He was going to be a top-class older horse."
Overcoming daunting odds was something of a hallmark for Irap from the moment he hit the ground. A half brother to champion and sire Speightstown , Irap was the final foal out of Aaron and Marie Jones' top producer Silken Cat, as the Storm Cat mare hemorrhaged during his birth. The team at Taylor Made Farm was able to save both Silken Cat and her baby—the former passing away months after the fact. Irap was later consigned to the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale where he failed to meet his reserve with a final bid of $140,000.
"He was all class; he was just a nice horse," recalled Frank Taylor of Taylor Made Farm. "That mare of course was very special to us; she did a lot for us. She ended up living for a while before she passed months later ... but fortunately we got him out."
Success would take a bit more time to find its way to Irap. After being purchased by Dennis O'Neill for $300,000 at the 2016 Ocala Breeders' Sales March 2-year-olds in training auction, he made his debut at Santa Anita Park in October of 2016, finishing third going 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course.
Switched to dirt two starts later, Irap lost his first seven starts but did run second to well-regarded Mastery in last December's Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity (G1). When he entered the gate for the April 8 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, he was dismissed at odds of 31-1—then proceeded to shock even his connections when he broke his maiden by three-quarters of a length over a field that included multiple grade 1 winner Practical Joke and eventual Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) winner Tapwrit.
Following an 18th-place run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), Irap silenced those tempted to label him a one-hit wonder when he defeated future grade 1 winner Girvin in the June 24 Ohio Derby (G3) before rolling to a five-length victory in the July 15 Indiana Derby (G3). He finished third in the Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) prior to his ill-fated outing in the Pennsylvania Derby.
"I'm really heartbroken... I'm just numb right now," Doug O'Neill said via text message regarding Irap's passing.
Irap recorded three wins from 13 lifetime starts and earnings of $1,672,600. His effort in the Kentucky Derby was the only time he had finished worse than fourth.
"We count ourselves lucky to have been part of his life, even if it was for an all too brief time," Paul and Zillah Reddam said.