Florida Derby Taken by Ice Box
Crowds gathered at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, 20 March 2010, to witness the running of the 2010 Florida Derby. This historic race was inaugurated in 1952, and has become a popular Grade 1 race. It is customary for the winners of this event to move on to compete in the prestigious Kentucky Derby, which forms part of the Triple Crown. The event has a purse amount of $1 million. On Saturday spectators held their breath as the long shot, Ice Box, made his way from last place to win the Florida Derby.
Ice Box is trained by well known trainer, Nick Zito, and owned by Robert LaPenta. Everyone in the Ice Box camp was hoping for a great performance from this magnificent horse, but Ice Box was ready to deliver a spectacular victory. On 20 February 2010, Ice Box competed in a Grade 2 event, the Fountain of Youth, where he finished in fifth place, not giving punters much faith in his abilities. Rule was the race favorite, but is seemed that jockey Jose Lezcano knew just when to ask Ice Box for his best effort. Ice Box broke from gate eight, and had to rally against eleven other worthy contenders.
At the final turn, Ice Box and Lezcano were still in last place, but all of a sudden Ice Box took off, closing the gap between him and the front runners. Ice Box crossed the finish line in a time of 1:49:19, followed home by Pleasant Prince in second position, Rule in third and full brother to the famed Barbaro, Lentenor, finished in fourth place. The victory is the third win in seven career starts for Ice Box, and the decision now lies with Nick Zito to decide if he will be training Ice Box for the Kentucky Derby, or take on other racing events. Asked about Ice Box’s participation in the Kentucky Derby, Nick Zito commented that it would all depend on the health and readiness of Ice Box closer to the time. An elated Jose Lezcano could not subdue his delight in regard to their victory, saying: “I got into him a little more at the three-eighths and that's when he took off and started flying.” Ice Box most definitely proved that he has the skill and the talent to take on Grade 1 contenders.