Calumet Farm's Keen Ice is the seventh second-crop stallion since 2000 to sire a first-crop Kentucky Derby (G1) winner and the eighth such stallion to have a first-crop runner cross the wire first in America's premier classic.
The 10-year-old son of Curlin has 137 sophomore foals of racing age of which 78 have started and 20 have become winners. His son Rich Strike checked off a lot of boxes for the stallion May 7 when he became his first graded stakes winner, first grade 1 winner, and first classic winner.
A stallion's first crop is typically the strongest among his first four books. The first year is a vital part in giving him the best possible start at stud. As assessed by the Comparable Index, Keen Ice's first book of mares was relatively as talented producers as his first two books have been combined. The CI is an earnings-based index similar to the Average Earnings Index, except the CI looks at the average earnings of all the other foals produced by mares that are bred to a given stallion.
The CI for Keen Ice's first book is 1.24, which means on average the progeny by other stallions produced by the mares he bred during his first year at stud in 2018 earned 1.24 times more on average than all other runners racing in the same countries during the same years. His first two books have a combined CI of 1.27. His first-crop CI was the 16th-highest for his sire class, whose top three ranked by CI include Three Chimneys Farm's Gun Runner (3.12), Juddmonte Farms' late sire Arrogate (2.36), and Claiborne Farm's Mastery (2.12).
Arrogate was not represented by a Kentucky Derby starter but his daughter Secret Oath won the May 6 Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) by two lengths. The filly is a homebred for Robert and Stacy Mitchell's Briland Farm and trained by D. Wayne Lukas.
Other second-crop stallions to sire Kentucky Derby winners since 2000 include Bodemeister in 2017 with Always Dreaming , Uncle Mo in 2016 with Nyquist , Birdstone in 2009 with Mine That Bird, Street Cry in 2007 with Street Sense , Distorted Humor in 2003 with Funny Cide, and Maria's Mon in 2001 with Monarchos. Protonico had a first-crop son cross the wire first in last year's Kentucky Derby with Medina Spirit, who was later disqualified due to a medication positive.
With the exception of Maria's Mon, all these stallions with first-crop Kentucky Derby winners are by sires that won or placed in a classic race in North America or Europe. Curlin won or placed in each of the 2007 Triple Crown races, finishing third in the Derby, winning the Preakness Stakes (G1), and finishing second in the Belmont Stakes (G1). Wavering Monarch, the sire of Maria's Mon, only contested the Kentucky Derby and was unplaced, so Maria's Mon made up for it by siring two Kentucky Derby winners: Monarchos and Super Saver in 2010.