Donegal Racing has partnered with Jerry and Ronnie Frankel to run grade I winner Keen Ice in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup (gr. I) Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park, Donegal’s Jerry Crawford confirmed Dec. 27.
To fund the race’s large purse, 12 spots in the starting gate were sold for $1 million each, but quickly sold out. Crawford said Donegal had been eyeing the Pegasus for Keen Ice, but since they did not own a spot in the starting gate, they partnered with owners Jerry and Ronnie Frankel who did. Bloodstock agent Brad Weisbord facilitated the deal between Donegal and the Frankels.
“We’ve been pointing at the Pegasus since we brought Keen Ice back into training,” Crawford said. “(Trainer) Todd Pletcher was pleased with how he was doing and thought that was an appropriate goal.”
With 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome and Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Arrogate also confirmed for the Pegasus, Crawford knows the 4-year-old son of Curlin —who finished third in the Classic, some 11 lengths behind Chrome—will have his work cut out for him.
“It would take a better lawyer than me to argue that we’re likely to beat California Chrome or Arrogate, but this is a race that third place is definitely worth running for, and we’re not strangers to races where people say we don’t have a chance—we were in the Travers a year ago when we didn’t have a chance and we won,” he added, mentioning Keen Ice’s victory over Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers Stakes (gr. I).
Crawford also added that his partners are impressed with the way Keen Ice handled Gulfstream Park’s track in his last race, a runner-up finish to another possible Pegasus contender Stanford in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (gr. III) Dec. 17.
“That’s by far the best he’s ever run on that track,” he said. “He closed well on it, the winner had things entirely his own way. Keen Ice did not, but he ran 41 feet longer than the winner. Todd has done a terrific job getting him ready for this.”
Bred by Glencrest Farm in Kentucky, Keen Ice was purchased by Donegal for $120,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale. His record is 2-2-5 from 19 starts, with earnings of $2,387,245. Before defeating American Pharoah in the Travers, he ran third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) presented by DraftKings and second in the William Hill Haskell Invitational (gr. I).