Fiesty Icon wins ‘Gridiron Gallop’ at Ajax Downs

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Published October 21, 2021 at 9:34 am

By Jennifer Morrison

Don’t tell nine-year-old Fiesty Icon you can’t teach an old horse new tricks.

Ajax Downs’ reigning Quarter Horse of the Year won his first attempt at the ‘Gridiron Gallop,’ at the unique distance of just 110-yards on Wednesday, with an impressive finishing kick.

The tall Ontario-bred gelding, owned and trained by Rick Kennedy, broke well from post position eight under jockey Tony Phillips and launched a powerful surge to grab the lead from favoured Maryland Magic to win by a head. Fiesty Icon sped the distance in 6.907 for a strong 99 speed index. He was clocked at 64 km/h while racing with a 10-mph tailwind.

“I know it was a much different distance for him today,” said Phillips. “But he’s got that big, long stride, he levels out and finds another kick.”

Fiesty Icon, who was also Ajax Downs’ Horse of the Year in 2015, won the Picov Maturity at 300-yards in July and the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity in August. He was coming off a fourth-place finish behind Had to Be Ivory in the Ontario Bred Maturity at 400 yards on September 29.

Fiesty Icon paid $8.70 as the 3 to 1 third choice. It was the 22nd career win from 55 races in his illustrious career and his earnings now stand at $392,986. The son of Ontario stallion Sugarman Perry was bred by Picov Cattle Company.

A huge day of racing is on tap for next Wednesday – the penultimate racing day of the 2021 season – with three stakes races and an Ontario Sires Stakes/Ajax Downs t-shirt giveaway (with program purchase). The $100,000 final of the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity for 2-year-olds headlines a card which will include the $50,000 Alex Picov Memorial Championship for older horses and the Ontario Sired Stakes Derby, worth $50,000, for 3-year-olds.

Fans can register to attend the races by visiting www.ajaxdowns.com. First race post time is 12:55.

Watch the ‘Gridiron Gallop’ at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFlVk_qJUxI

Photo Clive Cohen New Image Media

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