AJAX DOWNS, FEBRUARY 26, 2021 – Rick Kennedy’s exceptional gelding FIESTY ICON was voted the 2020 Horse of the Year at Ajax Downs by the Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario it was announced Friday. Feisty Icon was 8-years-old last year but had arguably the best season of his remarkable career that included a Horse of the Year title in 2015 when he was a 3-year-old.
QROOI president Bob Broadstock presented Rick and Karen Kennedy with Fiesty Icon’s Horse of the Year trophy on Feb. 26 at Ajax Downs. The annual QROOI Awards ceremony and dinner was cancelled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. All of the 2020 Ajax Downs racing award winners will be formally announced next week, March 5.
“We were surprised,” said Kennedy about the Horse of the Year announcement. “You know, he just loves racing and I think that is why he’s just so good every year. When I get the truck and hook up the trailer he gets excited, hoping that he is going to the track.”
It was Fiesty Icon’s stirring victory in the $54,000 Alex Picov Memorial Championship over three-time Horse of the Year Country Boy 123 that secured the title for the Ontario sired and bred son of Sugarman Perry – Fiesty Spirit by Special Effort. It was Fiesty Icon’s fourth attempt at winning the Championship having been just behind Country Boy 123 in the 2017 and 2018 editions and missing by a nose in 2016. Tony Phillips guided Fiesty Icon to the Championship victory, his third win of nine races in 2020.
Fiesty Icon, also known as ‘Ike’, won two other races last season with his regular rider Ed Walton and was second in the Ontario Bred Maturity and Ontario Sired Maturity. The lanky gelding earned 39 QROOI points and he collected $59,889 during the season. He was also the 2020 High Point Aged Male Horse.
Bred by Picov Cattle Company, Fiesty Icon was bought privately by Kennedy as a yearling in 2013. His career totals stand at 20 wins from 50 races and earnings of over $355,000.
“We have been blessed, and lucky, that Ike is sound, happy and always playing,” said Kennedy whose farm in his Mount Albert, ON. “We also have had good riders who encourage him and let him know he is special.”
Will Ontario Quarter horse racing fans get to see Fiesty Icon at the age of nine in 2021?
“Like all of us, Ike is chomping on the bit ready to do something,” said Kennedy. “He’s had a great winter and now he is getting bored.”
The 2021 Ajax Downs season is set to begin May 9.
For more information on Quarter Horse racing and how to become involved as an owner or shareholder, contact the QROOI at call (905) 426-7050. Follow Ajax Downs on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram @AjaxDowns or at www.ajaxdowns.com