Donegal Racing

Crawford of Donegal: "Keen Ice Will Win the Classic"

October 22, 2015

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Article from Lady and the Track, Jessica Smith.

Crawford of Donegal: “Keen Ice Will Win the Classic”– Quite lost within the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) clamor of American Pharoah versus Beholder is discussion of Keen Ice, but Jerry Crawford, President of collective owner Donegal Racing, is boldly trumpeting the colt’s superiority over the rest of the field.

“As Babe Ruth said, ‘It ain’t bragging if you do it.’ We will win the Breeders’ Cup Classic!” Crawford resolutely stated regarding Keen Ice’s chances in his biggest challenge yet.

The three-year-old son of Curlin only claims 2 wins in 11 lifetime starts, but his losses are rather telling of his progress. Purchased by Donegal Racing as a $120,000 yearling, Keen Ice broke his maiden for trainer Dale Romans at second asking at Churchill Downs.

Next challenged by a slew of graded stakes races as both a two- and three-year-old, Keen Ice was able to collect enough points to enter this year’s Kentucky Derby although he had yet to claim a second win. Finishing seventh in that classic, the colt soldiered on to the Belmont Stakes (GI) in which he finished a fast-closing third. A second-place finish to Triple Crown star American Pharoah followed in the Haskell Invitational Stakes (GI), but the tables finally turned in the Travers Stakes (GI) as Keen Ice took advantage of a quick pace to take down the champ and win his first graded stakes event.

The late August Travers was Keen Ice’s final prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, resulting in what will be a nine-week layoff between the two races. Although running in another race five weeks ago would have been ideal, Crawford isn’t concerned about the layoff, saying, “Ice could not be doing any better. He is very fit, so the rest likely won’t be bad for him.”

It seems as if Keen Ice is just getting better, too. “He’s the only horse in the Breeders’ Cup Classic I am certain is still getting better every day,” Crawford expounded.

It also seems that Keen Ice is ready to illustrate that he’s more than a one-dimensional closer. With other typical come-from-behind runners like Frosted and Honor Code in the field, Keen Ice would have quite a bit of competition should there be a pace meltdown, but Crawford thinks the colt will avoid that altogether. “He won’t be that far back,” Crawford explained. “He has developed tactical speed, and he will not lose touch.”

Keen Ice’s future following his run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic is unsettled. “It’s too soon to know. He is going to be a great sire, and the question is whether that happens in 2016 or 2017,” Crawford disclosed.

For now, the biggest question is whether or not Keen Ice will be able to triumph over the strong field of this year’s Classic, but to Crawford, there’s no question about it – Keen Ice will win the Classic.

Keen Ice will enter the Breeders’ Cup Classic starting gate at Keeneland on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. NBC will begin coverage at 4:00 pm ET. 

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