Looking for a horse that is in it for the long haul, and can carry their good form over longer than just a few months? Look no further than the New York bred warrior Icabad Crane. Just days away from turning seven, the gelded son of Jump Start will be making his 30th career start Saturday at Aqueduct in the Alex M. Robb. The final stakes on NYRA’s calendar year, the Robb has attracted a solid field of statebreds going 1 1/16 miles on the inner track.
Thirty starts may not be sound like anything extraordinary, but in this age of spacing out races and hasty retirements, Icabad Crane is quietly putting together a career that deserves recognition. Taking a quick look at his career record, you will see a hard trying horse that seldom fails to give it his best. In his 29 starts, he has registered seven wins, while finishing in the top three an impressive 23 times.
Icabad Crane first came to prominence a full 3 ½ years ago when he won the Fedrico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico before coming back a few weeks later to finish third in Big Brown’s Preakness. Since his excellent showing in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, Icabad Crane has probably not been followed closely by a national audience, but has proven to be a stalwart in New York bred stakes over the last three years including three stakes wins over the inner track at the Big A.
The defending champion in the Robb, Icabad Crane is appreciated by his connections, including reigning Kentucky Derby winning trainer, Graham Motion.
“He’s one of our favorites, not only because he’s been around for so long, but also because he’s a lovely character,” said Motion. “He’s an ideal horse, really, for an owner. He’s made 29 starts, even though we have tried to space out his races.”
If you haven’t seen Icabad Crane of late, he is a horse who likes to rally either from the middle of the track or a little further back than that, so he usually does well in races that feature an honest pace. While the field in the Alex M. Robb is not loaded with speed types, there is enough in there to believe his late kick will be potent on Saturday. Winless in his three starts since taking the Evan Shipman at Saratoga, he is also a horse with strong stamina, and is likely to appreciate the return to two-turns, after getting only one-turn in his last two efforts.
I often write about superstars or budding stars in the sport, but a horse like Icabad Crane who wins stakes every year, tries hard every time, and has been competing in stakes races for the better part of four years is truly the heart and soul of our sport. Best of luck to Icabad tomorrow.