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Icabad Crane Relishes Saratoga Slop

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 Hollow.’”


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.



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