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Breeders Cup 2015

I O Ireland Tries Tougher in Ginger Brew

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC

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.”



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