Welcome back to the Twelve Days of Curlin Babies, where we celebrate the twelve most memorable races from Curlin’s progeny throughout 2017. Through all the hundreds of races in which they ran this year, these are the ones that keep reappearing in my mind.
#12: Stellar Wind Wins the First Beholder Mile
#11: Fireball Merlin Carries His Class to Fort Erie
#10: Irish War Cry Rolls Onto the Derby Trail
#9: Federal Agent Makes It Five Straight
#8: Horse-for-Course Captured Slips Under the Radar
#7: Good Magic Gives Curlin a Breeders’ Cup Win — and Solomini, an Exacta
#6: Handsome Franco Weathers Hurricane Maria
#5: Iredell Romps over Majestic Hussar at Laurel
#4: Curlinup and I Try Stakes Company
#3: Volgograd Debuts — Finally
#2: Whisper to Curlin Fights On In Chicago
#1: Keen Ice Upsets the Suburban
Keen Ice (Medomak, by Awesome Again) did not always win, but when he did, he did so when it looked an impossible task.
Even though he went off the favourite in a Churchill Downs maiden race in September 2014, he had eight lengths to make up on Tiznow R J and Starbound with a furlong to go. Keen Ice got there.
The next year, in the Travers (G1), few thought Triple Crown champion American Pharoah could be beaten. No one bothered to tell Keen Ice that, and he took command in the final sixteenth.
Antepost, most had already handed this year’s Suburban Stakes (G2) to Shaman Ghost. The son of Ghostzapper had come closest to Arrogate in the Pegasus World Cup (G1), then followed that up with victories in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) and the Pimlico Special (G3). He had the form, the stamina, and the tactical ability to shine at a mile and a quarter in a field of five. Among the few who thought Shaman Ghost could be beat, most of them leaned toward Matt King Coal, figuring he could just wire the field.
Keen Ice, dismissed at 5/1, had other ideas.
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