First-Crop Sires: Winners Keep Coming for Keen Ice
It’s been an interesting season to date for the first crop of Keen Ice. And while the jury is still out on the only horse to beat American Pharoah as a three-year-old, the results haven’t been bad for a stallion whose progeny will probably be better suited as three-year-olds than as juveniles.
At a $20,000 fee, Calumet Farm gave Keen Ice a chance, and breeders responded in numbers. Of the stallions who served their first season in North America in 2018, only Klimt (131) had more foals than Keen Ice (123).
This is reflected in two-year-old racing numbers. For that incoming class of 2018, only Klimt and Connect have had more runners than the 65 that Keen Ice has had to date. And while his tally of winners is less than the other two, it’s still good for a horse that needed time and at least 1 1/4 miles on the track.
When last featured on these pages in mid-September, seven of Keen Ice’s progeny had won races. That total has now risen to 17.
One of the non-winners highlighted in the last report was Who Hoo Thats Me, who despite not being a winner was still his sire’s second-highest earner. He now tops the earning list, scoring his first victory in a maiden at Belmont Park Sept. 25, and then became his sire’s first black-type horse when finishing third in the Sleepy Hollow S. for New York-breds at Belmont Oct. 30.
He ran below his best when sixth in the Remsen S. (G2) but is clearly the best of Keen Ice’s progeny to date by Brisnet Speed rating (99) and Class rating (117.1). By comparison, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Corniche (by Quality Road) has a Speed rating of 102 and a Class rating of 122.3.
Outpaced in the Sleepy Hollow was another colt by Keen Ice, Sundaeswithsandy. He had joined the list of Keen Ice winners at Belmont Park Sept. 23, leading all the way to win by a half-length.
The second-best of Keen Ice’s progeny by Speed rating is Rich Strike. He won his second start at Churchill Downs Sept. 17, making progress after a muddling start to win by a staggering 17 1/4 lengths, prior to finishing third in a Keeneland allowance after a rough start. His best Speed rating is 85, and he should be a good horse for trainer Eric Reed.
Another useful-looking Keen Ice colt is Long Crow. The Steve Asmussen trainee won his third start at Churchill Downs Nov. 5, and then put up a very good performance in an allowance at the same track Nov. 13, coming from 17 lengths back at the half-mile pole to finish second by a length over 1 1/16 miles.
Bold Leader is fourth on the Keen Ice progeny earnings after four starts in the Mid-Atlantic region, the best effort being a victory Sept. 19 at Laurel Park. Other winners for Keen Ice include Luni Sima at Indiana Grand Sept. 28, Keen Cat at Remington Park Oct. 20, Eli (at his 12th start) at Turfway Park Dec. 12, and two Puerto Rico winners, Auditora and Keen Princess.
Meanwhile, She Nasty became Keen Ice’s first multiple winner when she scored at Gulfstream Park Sept. 30. She then followed up with two more victories at the same venue Oct. 17 and Nov. 4 before her winning streak ended with a third-place finish Dec. 9.
Keen Ice still has a bit to do to prove himself as a sire. But we will have a better idea this time next year, when his progeny have had a chance to race at three, particularly over longer distances.
About the series
Freshman Orientation is a series highlighting five different sires with a first crop of 2-year-old Thoroughbreds. Could the juveniles show up at the Breeders' Cup, or even the 2022 Kentucky Derby? Follow along and find out!