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Icabad Crane Faces Inherit The Gold in Alex Robb

Inherit The Gold Wins 2011 Excelsior
Photo: NYRA
Icabad Crane will attempt to conclude his 6-year-old campaign with a second straight victory in the $75,000 Alex M. Robb for New York-breds when he competes at Aqueduct Racetrack on New Year’s Eve.


The Alex M. Robb, a 1 1/16-mile race on the inner track, will be the final stakes in 2001 offered by The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA).


Icabad Crane, a gelding owned by Earle Mack, has won three stakes on the inner track, including last year’s Alex M. Robb and February’s G’day Mate. In his four most recent starts, he got up by a nose in the Evan Shipman over a sloppy Saratoga Race Course in July, was seventh on turf in Saratoga’s West Point presented by Trustco Bank in August, made a mild rally to be fourth in the McMahon Adena Empire Classic at Belmont Park in October, and was an even third in the Adirondack Holme overnight stakes on the Aqueduct main track November 20.


The 1 1/8-mile McMahon Adena Empire Classic and one-mile Adirondack Holme were both contested around one turn, and trainer Graham Motion believes Icabad Crane is better suited for the Alex M. Robb’s two-turn journey.


“[The Adirondack Holme] was not an ideal race as it was one turn and was probably a little short for him,” said Motion. “He kind of just ran out of ground. I think [the two turns and extra distance of the Alex M. Robb] makes it a fairer match.”


The Alex M. Robb will be the 30th career start for Icabad Crane, who in 2008 was third in the Grade 1 Preakness.


“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.”


Icabad Crane, 5-1 on the morning line, will have the services of David Cohen from post position 4.


Inherit the Gold will be making a three-week turnaround in the Alex M. Robb, having finished second in the 1 3/16-mile Queens County Handicap on December 10 following a win in the NYSS Thunder Rumble in November and a seventh in the McMahon Empire Classic.


“Every time there’s a two-turn race for New York-breds, it’s something that’s going to be on my mind,” said Jim Hooper, who trains Inherit the Gold for Glas-Tipp Stable and his wife, Susanne. “He came out of the Queens County well. He’s ready to put out a good effort on Saturday, and it sounds like he’ll have to.”


Inherit the Gold is 5-1-0 from seven starts on the inner track, with four of those wins having come during the previous inner-track meet. Three of his four stakes wins have come at distances between one mile, 70 yards and 1 1/8 miles, including the Grade 3 Excelsior on the Big A main track in April.


“I think this is probably his best distance, between 1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles,” said Hooper. “He’s a 12-second horse – he gets into a 12-second rhythm, and that’s where he stays. If you can continue to run 12-second eighths after a mile, you’re moving.”


Junior Alvarado has the assignment aboard Inherit the Gold, the 5-2 second choice on the morning line, from post 6.


The 2-1 morning-line favorite for the Alex M. Robb is Groomedforvictory, who in his most recent start returned from a nine-month layoff to take the Adirondack Holme by a head. It was his first start since being claimed by trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr. for $62,500 out a victorious effort at Gulfstream Park in effort.


Owned by Sullivan Lane Stable, Groomedforvictory will leave from post 7 with Ramon Dominguez aboard.


WellSpring Stables’ Stormy’s Majesty will be making his first start since a runner-up effort in the Evan Shipman, in which he just failed to hold off Icabad Crane after leading at the top of the stretch.


“He had some foot issues,” said trainer Dominic Galluscio. “He’s training really well and he’s run well fresh before. Icabad Crane beat him [in the Evan Shipman], but that was 1 1/8 miles. I don’t know how he got caught that day. This track may favor the front runners more than the closers. Inherit the Gold is tough, Groomedforvictory is tough – they’re real triers. [Stormy’s Majesty is] is ready for a big effort, though.”


Stormy’s Majesty, winner of the Noble Nashua overnight stakes on the Aqueduct main track in April, was made the 3-1 morning-line third choice for the Alex M. Robb. Cornelio Velasquez will ride from the rail.


The Alex M. Robb field also includes Spa City Fever, Tap Attack, Midnight Billy, and Uncle T Seven.


The field for the $75,000 Alex M. Robb:








Stormy's Majesty (NY)

C H Velasquez


D G Galluscio



Spa City Fever (NY)

C C Lopez


P J Kelly



Tap Attack (NY)

A Lezcano


R Persaud



Icabad Crane (NY)

D Cohen


H G Motion



Midnight Billy (NY)

J Valdivia, Jr.


J Ortiz



Inherit the Gold (NY)

J Alvarado


J Hooper



Groomedforvictory (NY)

R A Dominguez


R E Dutrow, Jr.



Uncle T Seven (NY)

J L Espinoza


J Aquilino





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