(King Ice wins the Governor’s Handicap at Horseshoe Indianapolis on Wednesday / All Photos by Coady Photography)
From the Horseshoe Indianapolis Media Team / Tammy Knox:
King Ice loves to make it a horse race. The three-year-old used a big move midway through the stretch to move from seventh to first to win the 20th running of the $250,000 Governor’s Handicap Wednesday, Aug. 2 at Horseshoe Indianapolis.
Starting from post nine in the 12-horse lineup, King Ice was disinterested in tackling the early speed and went to his normal spot at the back of the pack in the one mile, 70-yard event. Bad Boy Geist and Santo Sanjur pushed out of the gate and beat race favorite Run Away Rojo and Reylu Gutierrez to the top spot heading into the turn. The top horse had lots of company early as Looking Good Lewis and Alberto Burgos was stalking in second with Win Me Over and Eddie Perez sitting three-wide. Run Away Rojo was tucked in along the rail behind the leader and was saving ground and energy early on.
Around the final turn, horses began to tire and Run Away Rojo saw an opportunity to advance up the inside. As Track Announcer John Dooley called it, “Run Away Rojo slips through for Reylu” and appeared to be on his way to a big effort. King Ice was just coming up to the horses in the first pack on the outside and barely in the camera view.
In the stretch, Run Away Rojo took over and a blur began to appear on the outside. King Ice was in full motion and was on a mission, delivering a three and one-quarter length blow at the end to claim the title. Run Away Rojo finished second over Corona Grande and Edgar Morales for third.
“I think he enjoys it (coming off the pace),” said Graham. “Last time, I tried to force him to move on, but he didn’t go. This time, I just let him have his way. He’s a great horse to ride.”
King Ice paid $3.20 for the win. The Keen Ice colt is owned by Hillerich Racing and Bernie Flint’s L.T. B. Inc. The homebred is from the Hillerich Racing-Flint’s breeding operation. The dam of King Ice, Express Run, is a former standout in Indiana, winning six races and earning the title in the Frances Slocum and more than $343,000 in earnings. The sire is Unbridled Express, who was also bred by Hillerich and Flint. The standout Indiana sire stands at Swifty Farm and has earned year-end honors as the top stallion in the state. His most recent son, King Ice, joins a long list of elevated winners. The colt is trained by George Leonard III.
“He’s a very cool horse to have in the barn,” said Leonard III. “He’s very relaxed. I’m very blessed to have a horse like this in my barn.”
Hillerich and Flint have long been partners on the Indiana racing circuit. They have campaigned many winners over the years. King Ice is the latest to join their elite group of top performers in the Hoosier State.
“We are totally blessed to have a horse like him, and all credit goes to Jimmy (Graham) and George (Leonard III),” said Hillerich Racing. “We’d be lying if we weren’t nervous when he comes from behind like that, but he’s a great horse. Bernie (Flint) is the brains behind our operation, and he wanted to be here today. He’s on the mend.”
Flint was most likely tuned in to see his most recent horse thriving in Indiana. As Hillerich concluded, “The ‘king’ reclaimed his crown today.”
The 21st season of live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing extends through Friday, Nov. 17. Live racing is held Tuesday through Thursday with Saturday racing added in during the summer months. First post Tuesday and Wednesday is 2:30 p.m. Thursday racing begins at 2:10 p.m. The Summer Saturday Racing Series includes four all-Quarter Horse dates July 22, Aug. 12, Sept. 2, and Oct. 7 beginning at 10:45 a.m. For more information on live racing at Horseshoe Indianapolis, visit www.caesars.com/horseshoe-indianapolis.