Keen Ice has a knack for comebacks.
So don’t be surprised if the product from Donegal Racing finds a way to finish strong later this season and earn a spot in the 2015 Kentucky Derby.
That’s the hope of owner Jerry Crawford.
After all, Keen Ice, the son of Curlin, closed from last under James Graham to finish third during last month’s Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes. After all, his three-year-old has yet to show its full capability. Crawford described his thoroughbred as a strong horse whose performance in five starts “cry out for more distance.”
“We think that once we start running a mile and a quarter, he will be as good as anybody,” said Crawford, a Des Moines lawyer whose interests also lie in politics — he has shepherded all but one Democratic presidential nominee in Iowa, dating back to 1980, according to the New York Times,
Trained by Dale Romans, Keen Ice, a long-striding colt, will probably need to finish fourth or better at the Grade II Louisiana Derby on March 28 to reach the starting gate May 2 at Churchill Downs, Crawford estimates.
“We hope a mile and an eighth is long enough for him to get that job done,” he said. “I think he will start to show his true potential in a mile and a quarter, and I think he’ll like a mile and a half even better.
Keen Ice’s best time at 1 1/16 mile is 1:43.38 in October.
So far, International Star and War Story have dominated the Fairgrounds’ participation in the road to the Kentucky Derby, finishing first and second, respectfully, in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes and Risen Star.
Still, neither was a favorite entering the Risen Star — even after Todd Pletcher-trained J S BACH pulled out one day earlier. According to the Fair Grounds, they were sent off as just under 4-1 as the second- and third-choice, and their exacta paid $42.20.
Mr. Z takes aim
Zayat Stable’s Mr. Z is also aiming for the 102nd running of the Louisiana Derby. Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Mr. Z has placed third in three consecutive two-turn stakes, including the Grade I $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity in December. His best time so far at 1 1/16 mile is 1:40.86. Mr. Z has also finished one mile in 1:38.43. ... Divine Dawn’s performance Saturday in the $60,000 Allen Lacombe Memorial will likely decide if the Grade I $500,000 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland (April 4) should follow. Two starts ago, Divine Dawn, trained by Larry Jones, endured a disappointing finish-place finish at the $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes. ... Family Day is Sunday at the Fair Grounds. Between noon and 4 p.m., children will have the opportunity to meet Disney princesses Cinderella, Elsa, Ana, Tinker Bell and Rapunzel and superheroes Captain America, Batman and Spider-man. Admission to the tent for Family Day is $5. Children 12 and under are free and must be accompanied by an adult. Families will also have the opportunity to meet miniature horses, courtesy of Equestrian Angel Therapeutic Outreach. Live racing begins with first post at 1:25