12/31/2010 4:33PM

Icabad Crane ends losing streak in Alex M. Robb Stakes

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Icabad Crane runs down Manteca to win the $65,000 Alex M. Robb Stakes on Friday at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – After beginning his career with three wins from his first four starts, Icabad Crane had won just once in his last 17 outings. That one win came over Aqueduct’s inner track in the King’s Point Handicap last March.

On Friday, in his first start over the inner track since the King’s Point, Icabad Crane erased nine months of frustration with a half-length victory in the $65,000 Alex M. Robb Stakes for New York-breds. Icabad Crane, under Rajiv Maragh, ran down the pacesetting Manteca, who finished second by 2 3/4 lengths over Mine Over Matter. They were followed in the order of finish by Giant Moon, Spa City Fever, and Ruffino. Writingonthewall and Stud Muffin scratched.

It was the fifth victory in 22 career starts for Icabad Crane and his third win from eight starts over the inner track. Icabad Crane, a 5-year-old son of Jump Start owned by Earle Mack and trained by Graham Motion, was coming off second-place finishes in the $250,000 Empire Classic at Belmont where he stumbled badly out of the gate and a nose loss to Ruffino in the Tinchen’s Prince over Aqueduct’s main track on Nov. 25.

On Friday, Icabad Crane was last of six in the early stages of the Robb as Manteca set fractions of 24.34 seconds for the quarter, 48.87 for the half, and 1:13.75 for six furlongs. Icabad Crane had moved into contention between horses down the backside before tucking in behind Manteca around the far turn.

“The pace was slow; when he gave me that indication he wanted to go I wasn’t going to tell him no,” Maragh said.

Maragh took Icabad Crane off the rail at the three-sixteenths pole and he was able to run down Manteca in the final 70 yards. Icabad Crane covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.48 and returned $4.90 as the favorite.

“It was good that the horse on my inside stayed on fighting, it helped my horse run hard to the wire,” said Maragh, who was heading to south Florida on Friday night where he will ride the winter at Gulfstream Park, which opens Wednesday.

◗ In a fitting conclusion to the year, jockey Ramon Dominguez won the nightcap aboard favorite Gentle Edwin, giving him four wins on the card and 369 for the year, which put him second nationally behind DeShawn Parker. Dominguez scored 353 of his victories on the New York Racing Association circuit.

Gentle Edwin was one of three winners on the card for trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who won the second with Eve of Destruction and the third with One Turn Eddie.