12/28/2016 4:26PM

Keen Ice joins cast for Pegasus World Cup

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Barbara D. Livingston
Keen Ice became a Grade 1 winner in the 2015 Travers Stakes.

Donegal Racing and the brothers Jerry and Ronnie Frankel have reached a partnership agreement to start Donegal’s Keen Ice in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in south Florida on Jan. 28, the partners said on Wednesday.

Jerry Frankel, who purchased a starting slot in the Pegasus for $1 million earlier this year with his brother, declined to provide details about the partnership agreement but said it was a “one-off” applicable only to the Pegasus. The Frankels had been searching for a horse for their Pegasus slot for several months, Jerry Frankel said.

“We were looking at a couple of horses, and we came up with the best horse that we thought” was still available for the Pegasus, Frankel said.

The purse for the Pegasus is being provided entirely by the sale of 12 starting spots in the race for $1 million each earlier this year. Like many other buyers, the Frankels had purchased a slot in the race without owning a horse who would be competitive in the race.

Keen Ice, a 4-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher, has a career record of only two wins from 19 starts, though one of his wins was the 2015 Travers Stakes, in which he beat eventual Horse of the Year American Pharoah. Keen Ice has career earnings of $2.4 million and is by the popular stallion Curlin. He most recently was second in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes at Gulfstream on Dec. 17.

“He’s already proven he can win a big race,” Frankel said.

With the purchase, Keen Ice becomes the fifth horse to be named as a potential starter in the 1 1/8-mile race. Arrogate and California Chrome, the one-two finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, are also being pointed to the race and are the likely favorites. Keen Ice finished third in the Classic, beaten 11 1/4 lengths.

Frankel said they had pursued Arrogate but lost out in the bidding to sell their Pegasus slot to Coolmore, the international breeding and racing partnership, which sold its slot to Arrogate’s owner, Juddmonte Farms, last week. Interestingly, Coolmore co-owns the winner of the Harlan’s Holiday, Stanford, and that horse is now presumably out of consideration for the Pegasus now that Coolmore no longer has a slot. (The co-owner of Stanford is Stonestreet Stables.)

Other horses being pointed to the race include Eragon, a South American horse recently purchased by Jim McIngvale, and Shaman Ghost, owned by Stronach Stables. Shaman Ghost, a two-time graded stakes winner, was a veterinary scratch for the Classic.

The Pegasus is the brainchild of Frank Stronach, the owner of Stronach Stables and the private company that owns Gulfstream Park and a number of other racetracks and racing companies.