Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tribute: Icon Project

If you are not a die hard fan of horse racing this name is probably not familiar to you. Icon Project was the daughter of Belmont winner Empire Maker. She had the proven ability to run her on just about any type of surface, whether it is turf, mud, or a fast dry track. Icon Project was not one of those early developing horses. As a three year old her race record left something to be desired, winning very little, and only once in a stakes.

As a four year old Icon Project had finally begun to find herself, in her second start of the year she got back to the winners circle, winning an allowance race at Gulfstream Park. Her next start would come only 13 days later in the Grade two La Prevoyante, going one and a half miles on the turf. Icon Project wound up a closing third in that race Criticism.

In her next start Icon Project finally found a surface she excelled on when the turf course came up too soft for the New York Stakes and was moved onto the muddy main track. Icon Project broke well and then settled second to last, while being kept off the rail. With half a mile left to run she began to advance towards the lead with almost no encouragement whatsoever. By the far turn the race was all over as Icon Project drew up along side of Criticism. Entering the stretch Icon Project kicked away, sailing home by 13 1/4 lengths.

In her next two starts Icon Project was switched off the turf to run in some of the most prestigious dirt races in America. She would run second to a free running Swift Temper in the Delaware Handicap. After running a good second, she would ship to Saratoga in NY to run in the Grade one Personal Ensign Stakes. Icon Project would exact her revenge against Swift Temper, by running away from the field, yet again, by a dominating 13 lengths.

After running the way she did against some of the best fillies and mares in on the east coast, thoughts of Breeders Cup glory began to enter the heads of her connections. For a while it was undecided whether Icon Project would run in the Beldame or Spinster, and for a while it looked like the Beldame was going to be the race, until a last minute decision was made to ship to Keeneland for the Spinster. Her connections had wanted to get a handle on how their star filly would get a hold of the synthetic track, which is what she would be racing on in the Spinster and the Ladies Classic.

The day field was set for the Spinster fans began to worry because as they looked upon the field Icon Project's name was not among the starters. A few weeks later the announcement was made that Icon Project was going to be retired. A lesion found on her tendon after her win in the New York stake had begun to hinder the filly, and after some bleeding issues the decision was made to retire.

The racing world suffered a great loss, when the decision was made to retire Icon Project. In her were the ability, the talent, and potential to reach beyond the stars up to the moon. Her dominating victories proved her talent, giving us fans of the game hope of another star in the making. We could have seen Icon Project and the super filly Rachel Alexandra hook up many times over the course of 2010, and what excitement would have been produced by such a match up? Now we are left wondering.

Icon Project was a great talent and only being to find the bottom of herself and it is a shame her career which held so much promise was ended so prematurely. The silver lining to this event is that we will be able to watch her foal of Giant's Causeway three years from now. She will live a happy life raising beautiful foals, that god be willing, grow up with even half the talent of their mother. May Icon Project live out the rest of her life peacefully and happily.


  1. Nice post, Dani! At least we can take comfort that the injury was found and it was decided to retire her rather than risk a greater injury by continuing to race.

  2. True. I try to believe that for every bad thing comes something good. For every retirement a new star is born. Ex. Bernardini and Invasor left and along came a great year for the three year olds having Hard Spun, SS and Curin. When Barbaro broke down Bernardini and Invasor picked up the pieces.

  3. Sorry to see Icon go, she was a real talent. Just saw Miremembered will not be in the Dirt many good horses not at the BC, sad.

  4. Posted the Misremembered news on FB earlier this morning. To bad, considering you were going to use him to try and beat Godolphin. Silver lining, the Clark is coming up to be a good field so far.