September 28, 2023

Keen Ice missing BC Classic, retired after suffering injury

Keen Ice will take up stud duties at Calumet Farm now that his racing career has come to an end (c) Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography

Grade 1 winner Keen Ice has suffered a minor injury that will prevent him from running in the November 4 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Donegal Racing announced on its Facebook page Thursday.

The 1 1/4-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic was supposed to be Keen Ice’s swan song before he retired to take up stallion duties at Calumet Farm near Versailles, Kentucky. Bypassing that contest will see the five-year-old son of Curlin head to the breeding shed with a lifetime record of 24-3-4-5, $3,407,245.

“He’s got a wrenched ankle and there’s not time to let it quiet down,” trainer Todd Pletcher told the DRF’s Jay Privman on Thursday. “We’ve got to breeze now, trying to make a race on the other side of the country against the best horses in the world. It’s not shaping up right. He’s accomplished everything he’s accomplished, he’s already got a home at Calumet, so hopefully he goes on and has a successful stallion career.”

Donegal Racing posted the following statement on its Facebook page:

KEEN ICE banged up his right front ankle galloping this week and the swelling that usually goes away in 48 hours has persisted making it impossible for us to breeze him tomorrow as scheduled. As a result ICE will have to be scratched out of the Breeders’ Cup (it would have been his third). Just a week ago Todd was over the moon with how well ICE was training.

Dr. Allday has examined ICE very thoroughly and recommended that this is the point to retire him and we will. Undoubtedly there are some who would run ICE again, but it would not be fair to him after all he has accomplished.

What a career ICE has had! He has accumulated $3,407,245 in purse earnings or an incredible $141,968.54 per start! I wish we could find a barn full just like him.

One sports writer recently wrote that KEEN ICE pulled off the greatest upset in horse racing this century with his win over American Pharoah in the Travers two years ago.

ICE will know retire from racing to take up his career as a stallion. ICE will take magnificent conformation and tremendous stamina with him to the breeding shed and God knows racing needs more of both.

I would like to extend special thanks to both Dale Romans (who got ICE started on his fine career) and Todd Pletcher who managed to get the very best out of ICE coming off his injury as a three year old for the work they did helping ICE be at his best.

Keen Ice gained fame when he defeated Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. The Kentucky-bred bay was trained at that time by Dale Romans, for whom he also placed in that same year’s Belmont Stakes (G1).

Keen Ice captures the Suburban Stakes (G2) under jockey Jose Ortiz at Belmont Park on Saturday, July 8, 2017 (c) NYRA/Annette Jasko/Adam Coglianese Photography

Keen Ice was transferred to Pletcher in 2016 and would go on to run third behind Arrogate and California Chrome in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. He returned in 2017 to finish fourth in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and then shipped overseas for a seventh-place run in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1).

Keen Ice was freshened following that tough trip and rewarded the time off with a three-length romp in the Suburban Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park on July 8. He was bringing a pair of runner-up efforts in the Whitney Stakes (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Bred by Glencrest Farm, Keen Ice is out of the Awesome Again mare Medomak, who is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Coal Play. This is the same female family as champion Queena as well as Grade 1 scorers Too Chick, Brahms, Chic Shirine, Verrazano, Harmonize and Somali Lemonade.