Aaron Cohen, racing manager for owner Earle I. Mack, knows his colt Icabad Crane may have trouble outlasting Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Big Brown if he runs his race in the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico.
But Icabad Crane, a 3-year-old son of Jump Start --Adorahy, by Rahy proved he stands a chance in the second jewel of the Triple Crown with his impressive performance in the April 19 Frederico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico.
“What we think is that this is a horse that has won over the racetrack already, and he likes to come off the pace,” said Cohen of Icabad Crane, who posted a head victory over pacesetter Mint Lane in the Tesio, rallying from sixth to clear the 1 1/8-mile race in 1:50.83.
“In spite of what most people think about the Preakness, horses that come from off the pace seem to actually have a bit of an advantage,” Cohen added. “I’m certainly not saying he’s going to win, but I think he’s an honest horse who will run his race, and that race may be good enough to hit the board.”
Bred by Marlene Brody’s Gallagher Stud, Icabad Crane was named for the police officer who is the focal point of the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow", an eerie story by Washington Irving set in the colt’s native New York.
Trained by H. Graham Motion, Icabad Crane was purchased by Cohen’s ARC Bloodstock for $110,000 at the 2007 Ocala Breeders’ Sale Co. March selected sale of 2-year-olds in training.
“He was very athletic-looking individual, and he was a New-York bred, and he came to us at a number within our budget,” said Cohen, who manages around 60 horses in training worldwide for Mack.
“He’s not a real, big horse,” Cohen continued. “He’s like a puppy dog. He’s really easy to get along with and has always been cooperative. He’s never done anything wrong to get here. He’s a really nice horse to be around.”
Motion, who also trains Kentucky Derby contender Adriano, stables many of his horses at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, where Icabad Crane worked an easy five furlongs in 1:02.60 May 9. The colt will most likely be ridden by Jeremy Rose in the Preakness, and is scheduled to be shipped to Pimlico the morning of the race.
Icabad Crane has won three of four starts. His sole loss came in a third-place finish in the Rushaway Stakes over Turfway Park’s synthetic racing surface. Breaking his maiden at 2 at Aqueduct, Icabad Crane launched his 2008 campaign with an allowance victory at the New York track Jan. 20. He will enter the Preakness with earnings of $125,400.