First-crop Sires: Keen Ice on the board
Freshman Orientation: Keen Ice on the board
The only horse to beat Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in his three-year-old season, Keen Ice would not have been everyone’s prediction to be a sire of two-year-olds. So with three winners prior to the end of July, mostly over sprint distances, Calumet Farm would have every reason to feel good about the prospects for his progeny as the distances increase.
Keen Ice’s profile
Given that both his sire Curlin and damsire Awesome Again were Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winners, it’s perhaps not surprising that Keen Ice seemed to need at least 1 1/4 miles to show his best. But Keen Ice, whose dam Medomak hails from the family founded by Ashland (G1) winner Chic Shirine (which includes Verazzano, Serra Lake, and Harmonize), was more than a useful juvenile, winning once over a mile and finishing third in the Remsen (G2).
Trained by Dale Romans for Donegal Racing and Calumet, Keen Ice edged into the 2015 Kentucky Derby (G1) field after finishing third in the Risen Star (G2) and fourth in the Louisiana Derby (G2), and finished seventh behind American Pharoah. He improved from there, rallying for third in the Belmont S. (G1) and second in the Haskell Invitational (G1) before toppling American Pharoah in the Travers (G1).
Keen Ice continued to compete at the highest level for two years after that. He won the Suburban (G2) as a five-year-old and was regularly placed, including second-place finishes in the Whitney (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). He contested the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice, finishing fourth to American Pharoah as a three-year-old and third to Arrogate the following year.
Keen Ice initially stood at Calumet Farm for $20,000 but is now down to $9,500. Two weanlings sold for more than $100,000 in 2019, and his two-year-olds have sold up to $225,000 this year.
First winner: Icy Storm
It didn’t take too long for Keen Ice to get on the board with a winner. Icy Storm, a Calumet-bred colt owned by Team Hanley and Parkland Thoroughbreds, won his debut at Indiana Grand on May 3. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Icy Storm raced in a similar style to her sire, settling off the pace and rattling home in the stretch to win by a neck over five furlongs – way short of her sire’s best trip. She is out of the winning Pioneerof The Nile mare Downton My Lady, who hails from the family of the very good filly Sovereign Kitty.
Another son of Keen Ice, Keen Mind (out of the Mineshaft mare Cave In), started favorite in that same race and finished third.
Second winner: Ice Breaker
Winner number two for Keen Ice came across the border to the north. Ice Breaker, a filly out of the Ministers Wild Cat mare Castinette Dancer, improved on a debut fifth-place finish to win her second start at Hastings in Vancouver. Facing five opponents, Ice Breaker disputed the pace early on before taking control in the stretch and going on to win by 1 3/4 lengths.
Castinette Dancer was a well-performed filly in the Pacific Northwest, finishing second in the British Columbia Oaks. Her dam Premo Copy and granddam Soft Copy were also black-type winners in the Northwest.
Third winner: She Nasty
Four days after Ice Breaker won at Hastings, She Nasty became the third winner for Keen Ice in a maiden claiming race at Gulfstream Park. In a field of seven over sloppy going on June 25, She Nasty settled off the pace in a 5-1/2 furlong dash after a bump at the start, but rallied strongly in the mid stages and strode away to win by three lengths.
She Nasty was a $13,000 purchase at the Ocala October yearling sale for Larry Mejias and is raced by Heehaw Racing. Her dam, the Tapit mare Call Me Kim, is a daughter of Arriba Baby, a multiple Group 2 winner in Argentina. Arriba Baby’s granddam, Whydidju, is also the granddam of champion Argentinian two-year-old filly Slew of Reality.
About the series
Freshman Orientation is a series that highlights five different sires with a first crop of two-year-old Thoroughbreds. Could the juveniles show up at the Breeders' Cup, or even the 2022 Kentucky Derby? Follow along and find out!