03/05/2013 1:34PM

Santa Anita: Yorkshire Icon making U.S. debut at a mile on turf


ARCADIA, Calif. – The 3-year-old colt Yorkshire Icon spent most of 2012 running at racecourses in and around Yorkshire, England, winning 2 of 9 starts.

Thursday, Yorkshire Icon can become a California icon when he makes his American debut in an optional claimer for 3-year-olds over a mile on turf at Santa Anita.

Trained by Dan Blacker for Jim Ford and Robert Maycock, Yorkshire Icon drew the rail in a field of seven and will be ridden by Hall of Famer Gary Stevens.

“He’s a little compact, racy sort,” Blacker said. “Contrary to that, he seems like he wants to run long. Distance is his thing. In all his works, he gives the impression that he wants to run long.”

Yorkshire Icon was purchased for approximately $25,000 last fall by bloodstock agent and former Southern California trainer Jamie Lloyd on behalf of Ford and Maycock. Last year, Yorkshire Icon won a maiden race over 7 1-/2 furlongs at Beverley Racecourse, and a seven-furlong claiming race at Thirsk. Both tracks are in Yorkshire.

Considering that Beverley has a sharp uphill run in the final furlong, Blacker is confident Yorkshire Icon can handle a mile. In his only start at a mile last year, Yorkshire Icon was fourth in a minor handicap at Newcastle.

“This seems like a good spot to go two turns first time out,” he said.

“When you bring them over here, they tend to go a little further.”

When Yorkshire Icon was purchased last fall, Blacker didn’t think a long 2-year-old season hurt the Sixties Icon colt.

“He had a tough season,” Blacker said. “You think, ‘Will there be enough in the tank?’ or ‘He’s had a lot of races, he must be sound.’ At the sale, the horse was full of beans and he looked great.”

Yorkshire Icon will face a stern test from the maiden race winner Examen. Trained by Tom Proctor for the Heider Family Stables, Examen was fourth in a maiden race at Arlington Park last July and won his California debut in a maiden race over 1 1/8 miles on turf on Feb. 9.

Ridden in the maiden race by Garrett Gomez, Examen had a wide trip and took the lead in early stretch.

“He was pretty sharp last time,” said Aimee Dollase, Proctor’s assistant. “I think he’ll be able to relax a little more this time.”