Stakes stars Fiesty Icon and Maryland Magic get their first try at 110-yards in the Gridiron Gallop on October 20
The ‘Gridiron Gallop’, at the unique distance of 110-yards, is popular with racing fans as the start is virtually in front of the crowd.
Ajax Downs photo
AJAX DOWNS, MONDAY OCTOBER 18, 2021 – Stakes winners FIESTY ICON and MARYLAND MAGIC will try something new at Ajax Downs on Wednesday, October 20 when they try to conquer the unique ‘Gridiron Gallop‘, a 110-yard sprint that will take less than seconds to run. The Gridiron Gallop is race eight on a 10-race Quarter Horse card that has a first race post time of 12:55 p.m. There are just three racing dates remaining in the 2021 Ajax Downs season which comes to a close on Nov. 3.
Wednesday’s feature race is for horses who have never won at the 110-yard distance and only four horses in the eight-horse field have even attempted the short sprint.
Rick Kennedy’s veteran Fiesty Icon, the 2020 Horse of the Year won the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity on Aug. 18 at 330 yards and was recently fourth in the 400-yard Ontario Bred Maturity. The nine-year-old is well known, however, for his sharp starts from the gate. Regular rider Tony Phillips will be aboard Fiesty Icon and they will break from post position eight. Maryland Magic, a three-time winner in 2021, won the 250-yard Sprint Series Leg 2 on Sept. 8 and this black stallion is in razor-sharp form for owner Milena Kwiecien. Ismael Mosquiera is named to ride.
Kwiecien, the meet’s leading owner, also has her fast little mare AJ Chick in 15 in the field and she has three top three placings in six tries at the Gridiron distance.
Christine Tavares’ Sugarmans Delight, who starts from post one came within a neck of winning at 110-yards in his second start of this year on July 21. The eight-year-old comes off one of the fastest wins of his career when he took an optional claiming race at 330 yards on Oct. 6 with a 101 speed index.
*Rick Crispi of Guelph is the second leading owner at Ajax Downs this year and has a chance to add to that total on Wednesday with contenders in races two and seven. And Crispi has an exciting week coming up as his top three-year-old Painted Snowclouds competes in the $150,000 Adequan Derby Challenge (Grade 3) at The Downs at Albuquerque, New Mexico on Oct. 23. Trained by Clint Crawford, Painted Snowclouds is a three-time winner this year and qualified for the Adequan Derby with a close second-place finish in the Ruidoso Derby Challenge in August.
“This is a very exciting event and the culmination of the Bank of America Challenge Series, one of the premier Quarter Horse racing events in the world,” said Crispi. “I am privileged to be the owner of such an outstanding racehorse.” Post positions for the Adequan Derby and four other Championship races will be drawn on Wednesday, Oct. 20.
(Photo – Owner Rick Crispi with Ajax Downs’ leading rider Cory Spataro)