|Irrefutale (left) and Amazombie in the Ancient Title|
Photo: Benoit Photo/Hollywood Park
Irrefutable went through the sales ring twice, initially as a Keeneland September yearling, when he brought $450,000, and then at the Fasig-Tipton Calder Selected Two-Year-Olds-in-Training sale, where he was purchased by Eldon Farm and Gainesway Stable for $600,000, a price that was second only to the $700,000 paid for Zensational among Unbridled's Song juveniles sold in 2008.
It would be almost two years before Irrefutable would make his debut, and by then, he sported the colors of Kaleem Shah. From the get-go, the patiently handled Bob Baffert trainee signaled he had a ton of talent. He easily put away six-furlong maiden special weight foes at Santa Anita in his first start, two days after Christmas, 2009, in a final time of 1:08.25.
Irrefutable raced only twice in 2010 and didn't win again until New Year's Day of this year, when he captured an allowance sprint at Santa Anita under regular pilot Mike Smith in 1:07.27, coming whisper close to the track record (1:06.98) set by The Factor just six days earlier.
Stretched out to six and a half furlongs, Irrefutable came home victorious again against Santa Anita allowance company in March, and went on to win a six-furlong allowance optional claimer on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill on the first Saturday in May, in what would be his last triumph.
But though Irrefutable never won another race, his best efforts were yet to come. He was just a neck behind eventual Vosburgh victor Giant Ryan in the Grade II Smile at Calder in July, and three-quarters of a length shy of future Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Amazombie in the Grade I Ancient Title in October, while defeating Grade I winners The Factor and Square Eddie.
Overmatched in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, he rebounded just three weeks later in the Underwood, getting up for second with a determined late run. It was because of the way he did it, with a fighting spirit and a fluid stride, that Irrefutable's subsequent collapse on the racetrack was so completely unexpected. It was inconceivable that he could be gone, just like that.
Irrefutable exits the stage having won or placed in nine of his 13 career starts, with earnings of $286,980. We will miss him.