Icabad Crane picked up his fifth stakes
victory in thrilling fashion on Monday at Saratoga Race Course, getting up in
the final stride of the $75,000 Evan Shipman for New York-breds.
Content to trail the field in fifth as loose front-runner
Stormy’s Majesty set comfortable fractions of 24.76 and 48.95, Icabad
Crane was put to task by Rajiv Maragh on the far turn and made an unrelenting
rally to tag the pacesetter.
“I knew it was going to take a lot for my horse to catch up,”
said Maragh. “The other horse had put quite of bit of separation between
himself and the field. But my horse ran as hard as he could. He’s such a
hard trier. When I hit the wire, I thought I might have it. I was hoping for
the best. He didn’t mind having the mud splashed in his face at all.
He’s a pretty classy horse.”
Icabad Crane, the 2-1 second choice, paid $6.30 for a $2 win wager and
completed 1 1/8 miles over a sloppy, sealed main track in 1:51.41.
It was the second stakes victory of 2011 for the 6-year-old Jump Start
gelding, who followed his triumph in the G’Day Mate overnight stakes at
Aqueduct Racetrack in February with a third in the Grade 3 William Donald
Schaefer Memorial at Pimlico in May and a sixth in the Grade 2 Suburban
Handicap at Belmont
on June 2.
Trained by Graham Motion for owner Earle I. Mack, Icabad Crane is 7-6-8
from 26 starts, which include a second to Giant Moon in last year’s Evan
Shipman. The $45,000 winner’s share of the 2011 Evan Shipman purse lifted
his earnings to $548,895.
“That was a gutsy ride, it’s not easy to win at Saratoga, and my
compliments to Graham on a fine job,” said Mack. “I appreciate the
opportunity to be here, and the opportunity to win at this world class track. [The
horse’s name] was a misspelling at the beginning, a miscommunication. I
went to school in Sleepy Hollow, so I know just where the headless horseman
rode. I gave Graham his half brother and we’re going to call him Van
Tassel, right from the same storybook, ‘The Legend of Sleepy
Mine Over Matter, who finished 4 ¾ lengths behind the winner, edged Saginaw by a nose to
finish third, and they were followed home by Spa City Fever. Friend Or Foe, who
formed a coupled entry with Mine Over Matter, was scratched, as were
Johannesburg Smile and Naughty New Yorker.