LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, May 27, 2015) â€“ Donegal Racingâ€™s Keen Ice, who finished a troubled seventh in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), breezed six furlongs in 1:13.60 over a fast track Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs in preparation for a showdown with Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah in the 147th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI) on Saturday, June 6.
Keen Ice was the only horse on track during the special 8:30-8:45 a.m. ET training period for Churchill Downs-based Belmont Stakes contenders. Tammy Fox was aboard and guided the son of Curlin through 1/8-mile fractions of :12.40, :24.40, :36.20, :48.60 and 1:00.60 before galloping out seven furlongs in 1:27.80.
â€œHeâ€™s doing well,â€ trainer Dale Romans said. â€œHeâ€™s picking it up every pole and had a lot of energy galloping out. He has just been so good even before the Derby and he just keeps on improving. I think the further the better. A mile-and-a-half shouldnâ€™t be a problem. I really like my chances.
â€œAmerican Pharoah is definitely head and shoulders above the rest of them in class, but I know we do want to go a mile-and-a-half. I know heâ€™s feeling good; heâ€™s sitting on all cylinders. Itâ€™s just a matter of if heâ€™s good enough to beat him.â€
Fox also spoke highly of Keen Ice, giving Romans two thumbs up as he came off the track.
â€œWhen I give two thumbs up that means that theyâ€™re really ready to go,â€ Fox said. â€œHe is as ready as he can be. Daleâ€™s done a great job with him.â€
AMERICAN PHAROAH WALKS SHED ROW; ALL â€˜VERY GOODâ€™ AFTER TUESDAY BREEZE â€“ Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI) winner American Pharoah got a day of rest and relaxation after breezing a half-mile in :48 on Tuesday. The homebred son of Pioneerof the Nile did not go to the main track for exercise Wednesday. Instead, he walked around the shed row in Barn 33 where trainer Bob Baffert keeps his string of horses at Churchill Downs.
â€œEverything looked very good this morning,â€ said Jimmy Barnes, Baffertâ€™s chief assistant.
Barnes also said American Pharoah would return to the track Thursday at 8:30 a.m. for a clockwise jog around the one-mile oval.
In other Belmont Stakes news, Conquest Stablesâ€™ Conquest Curlinate jogged and galloped one mile around the main track Wednesday. Norman Casse, assistant to father Mark, said that the son of Curlin would likely breeze Friday or Saturday morning depending on the weather.
American Pharoah (Barn 33), Conquest Curlinate (Barn 36) and Keen Ice (Barn 4) are the locally-based Belmont Stakes contenders stabled at Churchill Downs.
BELMONT STAKES POSSIBLE FIELD â€“ The possible 10-horse Belmont Stakes lineup (with jockey and trainer): Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner American Pharoah (Victor Espinoza, Bob Baffert); Blue Grass champ and Kentucky Derby 10th Carpe Diem (undecided, Todd Pletcher); Peter Pan runner-up Conquest Curlinate (Shaun Bridgmohan, Mark Casse); Blue Grass fourth and Kentucky Derby 11th Frammento (Mike Smith, Nick Zito); Wood Memorial and Kentucky Derby 4th Frosted (Joel Rosario, Kiaran McLaughlin); Louisiana Derby 4th and Kentucky Derby 7th Keen Ice (Kent Desormeaux, Dale Romans); Peter Pan winner Madefromlucky (undecided, Todd Pletcher); Florida Derby champ and Kentucky Derby 6th Materiality (undecided, Todd Pletcher); UAE Derby winner and Kentucky Derby 8th Mubtaahij-IRE (Irad Ortiz Jr., Mike de Kock); and Preakness runner-up Tale of Verve (Gary Stevens, Dallas Stewart).
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