In 2008, Icabad Crane ran third to Big Brown in the Preakness Stakes. He was trained throughout his racing career by Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Graham Motion and when the horse retired from racing in August 2013, Graham and his wife Anita took ownership and sent him to Olympian Phillip Dutton for education in the sport of eventing.
Their plan was to show what retired race horses can do in new careers. Icabad Crane retired from racing at the age of 8. From 33 starts, he had 7 wins, 7 seconds and 9 thirds, with total earnings of $585,980. Admittedly, he was a bit of a novelty when he arrived at Dutton’s world-class training facility but everyone connected with him continue to be amazed at the gelding’s transformation. Apparently he has a charming and cheeky personality, an amazing work ethic and a great desire to please. All these qualities are what it takes to be a success.
Icabad Crane won his first competition at Aiken’s Full Gallop Farm Horse Trials in March. He has since finished 8th in two Novice Events, most recently going clear cross country and in the show jumping phases. With an active Facebook page, helped in no small way by excellent photos by Maggie Kimmit, there can be no better advertisement for off-track thoroughbreds in their new career.
Although he’s one of a kind, Icabad Crane is not unique. We need an Irish version to promote the potential that racehorses have for a second career. We have the horses, we have the riders. We have the photographers to tell the story. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to put the team together to do it?
Listen to Graham and Philip in a recent radio interview – click here and scroll to the 1 hour 4 minute mark.