Five-year-old Keen Ice doesn't win often — but when he does, he sure makes it count.
He's best known for being the only horse to beat American Pharoah during his three-year-old season in 2015 — the year American Pharoah became the first horse to win the elusive Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Keen Ice, sent off at 16-1, unleashed a furious late run to beat him in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. American Pharoah went on to a huge win in the Breeders' Cup Classic that year at Keeneland and to Horse of the Year honors.
Keen Ice's second graded stakes win came this June, when he rolled to an upset in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont, defeating heavily-favored Shaman Ghost. That was just his third lifetime win in 22 starts, but he's earned over $3 million in his career.
Since his Suburban triumph, Keen Ice has finished second in two Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Challenge races. He was the runner-up to Gun Runner in the 1 1/8-mile Whitney at Saratoga on Aug. 5 and finished one length behind Diversify in the 1 ¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Oct. 7.
The son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin has also picked up some big checks in some of the sport's most valuable races. During his 3-year-old season, he was second in the Haskell at Monmouth, third in the Belmont Stakes and fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic. He improved that Classic finish position at four, running third at Santa Anita.
The Suburban victory came in his third start of this year. He ran fourth in the world's richest race, the $12 million Pegasus Invitational at Gulfstream (held for the first time this year), and was unplaced in the Dubai World Cup half a world away.
Donegal Racing paid $120,000 to purchase Keen Ice at the 2013 Keeneland September Yearling sale. The storied Calumet Farm in Lexington bought into him this year, and Keen Ice will start his stallion duties there when he retires from the racetrack.
Jerry Crawford founded Donegal Racing, which operates many racing partnerships, in 2008. An avid racing fan, Crawford developed an algorithm to try to pick classic winners to wager on. When that worked, he decided to see if would be just as effective in picking out racing prospects.
“In 2008, I thought, ‘I am going to go to Kentucky, I’m going to buy a horse that fits my formula and see what happens,’” Crawford told Jessica Martini in a September, 2015 Thoroughbred Daily News article.
“I’d bought horses before,” Crawford said. “I wasn’t a stranger to the business, but it was the first time I tried to use the algorithm that we’d created to buy a horse. And in September of 2008, the stock market collapsed and the first thing people stopped doing was buying horses. So, having been prepared to spend $250,000 to buy one horse, I spent $410,000 on eight. Then I was flying home trying to figure out how I was going to avoid paying alimony after I told my wife Linda that I’d bought eight horses. My buddies had always said, ‘Go buy horses and we’ll be partners.’ And that’s how Donegal racing got started–that year that I bought eight horses, not quite by accident.”
|No Replay Available||October 07, 2017||Jockey Club Gold Cup S.||BELMONT PARK||1||2|
|No Replay Available||August 05, 2017||Whitney S.||SARATOGA||1||2|
|No Replay Available||July 08, 2017||Suburban S.||BELMONT PARK||2||1|
|No Replay Available||March 25, 2017||Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline||MEYDAN RACECOURSE||1||7|
|No Replay Available||January 28, 2017||Pegasus World Cup Invitational S.||GULFSTREAM PARK||1||4|
|No Replay Available||December 17, 2016||Harlan's Holiday S.||GULFSTREAM PARK||3||2|
|No Replay Available||November 05, 2016||Breeders' Cup Classic||SANTA ANITA PARK||1||3|
|No Replay Available||October 07, 2016||BELMONT PARK||3|
|No Replay Available||March 26, 2016||Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline||MEYDAN RACECOURSE||1||8|
|No Replay Available||March 05, 2016||Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 Sponsored By Emirates||MEYDAN RACECOURSE||1||7|
|No Replay Available||February 06, 2016||Donn H.||GULFSTREAM PARK||1||6|
|No Replay Available||November 27, 2015||Clark H.||CHURCHILL DOWNS||1||4|
|No Replay Available||October 31, 2015||Breeders' Cup Classic||KEENELAND||1||4|
|No Replay Available||August 29, 2015||Travers S.||SARATOGA||1||1|
|No Replay Available||August 02, 2015||William Hill Haskell Invitational S.||MONMOUTH PARK||1||2|
|No Replay Available||June 06, 2015||Belmont S. presented by DraftKings||BELMONT PARK||1||3|
|No Replay Available||May 02, 2015||Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands||CHURCHILL DOWNS||1||7|
|No Replay Available||March 28, 2015||Louisiana Derby||FAIR GROUNDS||2||4|
|No Replay Available||February 21, 2015||Risen Star S.||FAIR GROUNDS||2||3|
|No Replay Available||January 24, 2015||Lambholm South Holy Bull S.||GULFSTREAM PARK||2||5|
|No Replay Available||November 29, 2014||Remsen S.||AQUEDUCT||2||3|
|No Replay Available||October 04, 2014||Claiborne Breeders' Futurity||KEENELAND||1||5|
|No Replay Available||September 06, 2014||CHURCHILL DOWNS||1|
|No Replay Available||August 23, 2014||ELLIS PARK||4|