One year after one of the most unexpected seasons out of an outside shot, Keen Ice retires just weeks ahead of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup. The Donegal Racing product will always be best remember as the only horse to ever beat future Hall of Fame candidate American Pharoah. Trainer Todd Pletcher acknowledged that ankle injuries have forced the ownership team to put Keen Ice out to stud.
To say that Keen Ice came out of nowhere in the 2015 Travers Stakes is an understatement. He broke his maiden easily as a two-year-old in September 2014, and then didn’t win another race until upsetting American Pharoah in the summer classic as a 12/1 underdog. He recently placed third in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The 2017 campaign was off to a promising start with a 4th place finish in a ruthlessly competitive Pegasus Cup, a bad trip to 7th in the Dubai World Cup, and a return home which resulted in a win in the 2017 Suburban Handicap. A pair of runner-up finishes to Gun Runner in the Whitney and Diversify in the Jockey Gold Cup seemed to maintain that momentum, but ankle injuries have been longstanding through the fall. Keen Ice retires with the Breeders’ Cup just around the corner.
“The swelling didn’t come down yesterday the way we thought it would and he was supposed to breeze tomorrow,” said Jerry Crawford, one of his owners. “It throws the timing off. We had intended to retire him after this race anyway.”
It’s obvious that Keen Ice retires just as he was peaking late in his career as a five-year-old, but it’s hard to imagine him competing with Arrogate and Gun Runner considering he hasn’t been able to challenge either. “We’re just very proud of him,” Crawford concluded.
Originally purchased as a yearling for $120,000 by Donegal Racing, Keen Ice retires after 24 starts with a record of 3-4-5. He earned $3,407,245 and will go on to stud at Calumet Farm.