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Keen Ice Owner Displays Class in Winning Travers

Keen Ice Owner Displays Class in Winning Travers: Jerry Crawford, president of Donegal Racing, remains on cloud nine right now after winning the prestigious Travers Stakes (GI) at Saratoga Race Course with Keen Ice. Not only did Keen Ice take the “Midsummer Derby,” an important stakes event for three-year-old horses every summer, the long-winded colt defeated Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

Jerry Crawford Keen Ice

Jerry Crawford, president of Donegal Racing, remains on cloud nine right now after winning the prestigious Travers Stakes (GI) at Saratoga Race Course with Keen Ice on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. Photo: Coglianese/NYRA

The feat seemed impossible in the spring when American Pharoah defeated Keen Ice twice in the Kentucky Derby (GI) and Belmont (GI), or even last month when American Pharoah won the Haskell (GI) at Monmouth Park in a hand ride over the same horse.

Regardless, the Travers counts as Keen Ice’s second lifetime win out of 11 starts. His overall earnings rose to $1.5 million, which is not bad considering the son of Curlin cost them $120k as a yearling. Crawford answered over email a few questions about his celebration, the win and Keen Ice’s future plans.

He considers this the most special win for Donegal so far and they held a large-sized celebration to match the win’s importance.

“A party with 200 people, good friends, good food, good drink,” Crawford wrote about the gathering.

He acknowledged how Keen Ice improved as the season went on, specifically in terms of running style.

Crawford explained, “His tactical speed is now terrific, whereas it was non-existent earlier this year.”

As for how confident he felt about his chances of winning, despite the presence of American Pharoah, he gave a response most readers will not believe.

“I know this sounds crazy but Dale Romans, Javier Castellano and I were all convinced we would win,” Crawford explained.

Keen Ice fans are likely wondering which race the new Grade I stakes winner is headed towards. Because of his sire, he always had a good number of followers. The win over American Pharoah only increased the amount. Crawford is not sure where Keen Ice will run next though. When asked about the Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) at Belmont Park, he gave a non-committal response.

“It could be (his next race) if he is jumping out of his skin to run, but we could also train up to the Breeders’ Cup,” Crawford wrote.

Crawford also thinks American Pharoah ran much better than a lot of disappointed fans think. He made sure to give credit to the living legend.

“American Pharoah ran his best race ever yesterday. One and a half seconds faster than his Derby win, co-best Beyer at a classic distance, etc. We also ran 40 feet longer than him (Trakus),” Crawford pointed out.

“People should not pick on American Pharoah … he ran the best race of his life according to the facts.”

Even heartbroken American Pharoah supporters can appreciate an owner that displays class in defeating their champion horse. Crawford is right in his assessment of American Pharoah’s loss. He ran a great race on the inside while dealing with pressure from Frosted. The early confrontation just made him a bit tired. In a perfect world, Keen Ice and American Pharoah will come back in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and run at least one more great race against each other.

Travers Stakes 2015 Keen Ice Replay:

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