Keen Ice once again played the role of giant slayer when he defeated heavily favored Shaman Ghost in the Suburban Handicap (G2) at Belmont on July 8.
The Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate first earned that reputation when he handed Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah the lone loss of his sophomore campaign, besting that champion in the 2015 Travers Stakes (G1).
The Suburban score boosted Keen Ice's career earnings to more than $3 million.
Donegal Racing, who campaigns Keen Ice in partnership with Calumet Farm, purchased the now 5-year-old son of Curlin as a yearling from consignor Three Chimney Sales, agent, for $120,000 at the 2013 September Sale. Keen Ice also sold as a weanling for $48,000 to Chesapeake Bloodstock at Keeneland’s 2012 November Breeding Stock Sale. He was consigned to the November Sale by Four Star Sales, agent.
Bred in Kentucky by Glencrest Farm, Keen Ice is out of the Awesome Again mare Medomak. He is trained by Todd Pletcher.
In the Suburban, jockey Jose Ortiz let Keen Ice settle mid-pack in the five-horse field behind leaders Matt King Cole and Shaman Ghost. Shaman Ghost briefly assumed command at the top of the stretch but Keen Ice had a full head of steam on the outside. When Ortiz asked for more run, Keen Ice kicked clear to score by three lengths in the 1¼-mile race.
"I know that Shaman Ghost is a really good horse but how the race developed, my horse pulled me really close to him," Ortiz said. "I thought I was going to be a little farther (behind). When we hit the three-eighths pole, I was right next to (Shaman Ghost), on his heels, without asking, so I was in a very good position. Keen Ice gave me everything he had. He was full of run today."