Keen Ice seventh at Kentucky Derby, headed to Belmont
Article via The Des Moines Register, John Naughton. Photo Jamie Rhodes, USA TODAY Sports
Keen Ice finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, but the horse owned by Iowans will continue his Triple Crown career at Belmont Park.
Donegal Racing president Jerry Crawford told The Des Moines Register that he thinks Keen Ice's stamina could help the horse win the 11/2-mile long Belmont Stakes on June 6 in New York.
"We'll skip Preakness (the other Triple Crown race) and in five weeks, we'll go to Belmont," Crawford said.
Six-year-old Finnegans Wake charged from the back and won a $500,000 purse Saturday at Churchill Downs in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes. That race was immediately prior to the Derby.
"It was a good payday," Crawford said, laughing. The Des Moines attorney bred the horse himself and sold it to the partnership for a mere $15,000.
Victor Espinoza, who rode Finnegans Wake, also was aboard Derby winner American Pharoah before a record crowd of 170,513 in Louisville.
Donegal had its third Kentucky Derby entry in six years in Saturday's 141st Run for the Roses.
The partnership, which has 22 Iowans among its members, is one of only a few racing teams to enter horses in all three of the biggest races at Churchill Downs.
Keen Ice was a 44-to-1 long shot in the Derby.
A temperamental bay colt, Keen Ice got out of the gate and ran into traffic in the race.
"He doesn't have a lot of front-end speed," Crawford said. "(Jockey) Kent Desormeaux said he could have been fourth if he had not been stopped by horses several times."
Donegal's two previous entries took third at the Derby. Paddy O'Prado raced in 2010, Dullahan in 2012. Both horses compiled career earnings of $1.7 million.
More than 250 Donegal owners, friends and family members attended the Derby.
"The mood was emphatic, to say the least," Crawford said.
Finnegans Wake set the tone by winning by a nose at the finish line.
Espinoza changed silks for the next race after taking first in the turf event. It's the first time in the history of the back-to-back races that the same jockey won both.
"He's a fine, fine guy," Crawford said.
The Preakness will be held May 16. Keen Ice will stay at Churchill Downs until he's brought to New York, Crawford said.