Icabad Crane Wins America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest


Icabad Crane and Phillip Dutton showed off their jumping skills in the America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest. (Megan Stapley Photography)

Returning to that track where he finished third in the 2008 Preakness Stakes, Icabad Crane was able to better that performance on Oct. 5 at Pimlico Race Course.

The gelding, retired from racing just over a year ago, won the America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest sponsored by EQUUS Foundation and hosted at Pimlico by the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP).

Icabad Crane, ridden by eventing Olympic gold medalist Phillip Dutton, bettered nine other horses, showing off many different disciplines to take home the winner’s share of the $10,000 prize. The disciplines on display were polo, show hunter, eventing, ranch work, steeplechase, fox hunter, show jumper, barrel racing, dressage, and pony club with each horse credibly showing off their chosen discipline.

While the end product was on display Sunday, the contest started this summer and fans were able to follow the progress of all 10 horses on the Retired Racehorse Project website. Fans were able to vote earlier this month for their favorite horse and again while the horses were showing off their moves at Pimlico, leading Team Icabad to pull out all the stops to secure the win.


When voting started earlier this month, the Icabad Crane team released a series of videos with famous industry personalities talking about the horse. Among the participants in the series were his trainer during his racing career and current owner Graham Motion plus jockey Julien Leparoux, with current rider Phillip Dutton and his daughter Olivia also making videos.

The videos upped the horse’s popularity, but Dutton made sure the win was secure when he showed off Icabad Crane’s moves in front of the crowd at Pimlico.

With a 5-stride line of jumps set up on track, Dutton adjusted Icabad Crane’s stride so he took them in four, five, six, seven, and eight strides before taking another go at four strides. But that wasn’t the end of the demonstration as Dutton’s 13-year-old daughter, Olivia, then got on the gelding and showed off his work when not jumping, winning over the crowd.

“He is very adjustable and such a sensible horse,” Phillip Dutton said. “The last time he was at Pimlico was when he ran in the Preakness Stakes in 2008, so to give it a go in front of the grandstands says a hell of a lot about the horse.”


Just 121 votes behind Icabad Crane was Pookie’s Princess, who finished second in the contest. Pookie’s Princess showed off a variety of skills under western tack, including reining and western dressage, before laying down on the track for her rider Patrick King.

Grade 2 winner Discreet Dancer, who was showing off show-jumping skills, finished third. Olympic show jumper Armand Leone trained the gelding, representing New Vocations, for the demonstration.

Seven-hundred people attended the event with another 5,000 viewers watching on Bloodhorse.com. The America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest was held during the RRP’s second annual Thoroughbred Makeover and RRP President Steuart Pittman labeled the weekend a success.

“We are grateful to our sponsors, our host, our participants, and to all of the racing, equestrian, and mainstream local media outlets for spreading this story to millions of readers, viewers, and listeners,” he said. “The demand for these horses after racing is growing and that is our gift back to the horses.”

A replay of the America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest will soon be available on www.retiredracehorseproject.org.

To read what Icabad Crane’s owner Graham Motion had to say about Icabad, the America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred contest, and aftercare, click here.

newsletter sign-up

Stay up-to-date with the best from America's Best Racing!