It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I O Ireland has star potential.
Being a daughter of prominent international stallion Giant’s Causeway,
Team Block’s homebred 3-year-old filly has a right to be a good one.
Yet, I O Ireland’s impressive bloodlines are hardly restricted to
her paternal side of the family. The Illinois-bred filly is out of
multiple-stakes winner Ioya Two, whom trainer Chris Block campaigned
during a career in which she earned more than $460,000. Ioya Two has
become a stellar broodmare, as well, producing Ioya Bigtime, a
graded-stakes winner of nearly $500,000, and Amazing Results, a
graded-stakes winner of nearly $375,000.
I O Ireland, who is set to make her stakes debut in the $75,000
Ginger Brew Stakes over Gulfstream’s turf course on Tuesday, debuted
with a fourth-place finish at Arlington Park last August, before
breaking her maiden against state-breds at Arlington Park a month later
and capturing an entry-level allowance at Keeneland in October.
“She’s a big filly and I think she’s a work in progress, personally.
She’s run very green in her three starts, and I think there’s a lot of
potential with a pedigree like that,” Block said. “For what she’s
accomplished in her short career so far, she’s shown enough ability and
talent that I think she has a future if we do right by her.”
Block has realistic expectations for I O Ireland in the Ginger Brew, a 1 1/16-mile turf race that drew a field of 14.
“We’ll go forward on Tuesday, which is the New Year for her. I’m
looking for a solid performance – something I can improve off of. We
always like to win, but I’m the kind of guy, when you have a horse like
this, I don’t look at it as one race,” Block said. “I’m looking for a
step forward in the education process and maturity process on Tuesday.”
I O Ireland has been training well over the Gulfstream turf for her 3-year-old debut.
“Her first work was good on the turf. The second one was much
better,” Block said. “I think she’s good enough and ready to take a step
forward mentally, and the physical part of it, I hope will fall into
place, where it gets her ready to go as we move into her next race and
the races thereafter.”