Heavy favorite Ice Princess obliges in Maddie May

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

NYRA/Coglianese Photos

By Sarah Mace

Bet down to odds of 2-5 in the $100,000 Maddie May Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies featured on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack, Ice Princess obliged her backers when she rallied to a convincing 2 1/2-length victory in the one-turn mile. The grey / roan daughter of Palace Malice, co-owned by Flying P Stable, R.A. Hill Stable and Corms Racing Stable, is now two-for-two in 2020 for trainer Danny Gargan.

Ice Princess won her September 6 Belmont debut – an off-the-turf affair run at 1 1/6 miles over a sloppy (sealed) racetrack – by an eye-popping 12 lengths. Her connections thought well enough of that performance to run her back four weeks later in the Grade 1 Frizette, where she finished an even fourth.

Freshened for 3 1/2 months for her sophomore campaign, Ice Princess returned to action on January 20 to win a first-level New York-bred allowance at one mile by 4 1/2 lengths, roundly defeating three of her four Maddie May Rivals: Courageous Girl, Myawaya and Holmdel Park. The fifth member of the five-horse Maddie May field was Nicky Scissors (3-1 second choice), who was looking to step up in her first race against winners after breaking her maiden second out at 6 1/2 furlongs by more than 10 lengths on January 17.

Following a good start for all, Ice Princess settled in fourth at the rail letting Nicky Scissors and 35-1 Courageous Girl, battle it out for the lead. Manny Franco, aboard for all three of the filly’s prior starts, had to keep an eye on possible traffic issues as Ice Princess found herself boxed in at the fence in the close-packed bunch for the length of the backstretch.

Following early splits of 23.45 and 47.15, Nicky Scissors began to tire leaving Courageous Girl on the lead solo. Ice Princess, shuffled back to last at one point, saw a seam late in the turn, angled out three-wide and advanced, engaging Courageous Girl at the three-sixteenths marker and grabbing the lead by a head with a furlong to go.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Living up to her name, Courageous Girl stayed in the fight but was ultimately outmatched as Ice Princess drew off to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Myawaya (9-2) finished third 5 3/4 more lengths back, followed across the line by Holmdel Park (9-1) and Nicky Scissors. After six furlongs in 1:12.59, Ice Princess stopped the timer at 1:39.70. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“I was the favorite, so they weren’t going to let me do it easily,” jockey Manny Franco said. “I had horse the whole way. I felt that as soon as I got out and I asked my filly, she was going to respond the best. I felt that I had a lot of horse. She still is a little green. When she made the lead, she kind of pulled up a little bit. Once you start working on her, she gets going.”

David Donk, who trains surprise runner-up Courageous Girl, commented, “I thought Dylan [Davis] gave her a great ride. I was a little concerned there was so much speed in the race. Obviously, she didn’t match up on paper the way she has run. But Dylan gave her an excellent trip and she really hung in there and the winner had to get by her and really earn it.”

When the race was drawn, R.A. Hill Stable’s Randy Hill was already looking forward to Ice Princess’ next appointment with the starter. “She’s nominated to the Bourbonette at Turfway Park (on March 14) so we’d like to try and get some Kentucky Oaks points with her,” Hill said. The Bourbonette offers 20-8-4-2 Oaks points to the top four finishers.

As to the filly’s future prospects, Franco opined, “The more distance, the better for her. She’s got the right body for it and I think she can go the distance.”

Bred by Mina Equivest and foaled at Thomas Mina’s Five Oak Farm in Saratoga Springs, Ice Princess is out of the Awesome Again mare Happy Clapper, an Ontario-bred multiple stakes-placed runner last purchased for $90,000 by Summerfield Sales at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale. Both of her offspring to run are winners. She also has an unnamed juvenile colt by Exaggerator, a yearling filly by Connect and was bred to Kantharos in 2019.

Corms Racing and R. A. Hill bought Ice Princess for $75,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale in 2018. From three wins in four starts, the grey has earned $148,300.

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