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Blinkers On For Keen Ice In The Dubai World Cup

Blinkers On For Keen Ice In The Dubai World Cup

23.03.2016, by Jim
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Horse racing trainers are no different than coaches in any other sport. When things aren’t going well they’re willing to ‘think out of the box’ and try a radical solution. That looks to be the case with Dale Romans who is trying to get Keen Ice to bounce back from his 7th place finish in a prep race for the Dubai World Cup. Apparently out of other ideas, he’s going to add blinkers to the horse for his run at the richest single day purse in horse racing.

On the surface, it’s a curious move. Four year old Keen Ice has fifteen career starts–none with blinkers. Dale Romans isn’t known for being a fan of blinkers. Tammy Fox, Roman’s companion and a trusted exercise rider put it bluntly: “He doesn’t like them.” Fox has been in Dubai with Keen Ice for six weeks and rides the horse daily. A blinkered horse in Roman’s stable is a rarity: “We have probably 125 horses in training, and I’d say now, counting him, maybe three wear them.”

The idea for trying blinkers came from jockey Ryan Moore, who was aboard Keen Ice for his 7th place finish on March 5 in Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge. Moore is considered by many to be the best jockey in the world so Keen Ice’s connections were willing to listen. Jerry Crawford, president of Donegal Racing which owns Keen Ice observed: “Ryan said that he thought he lost focus a couple times, and it’d be worth breezing him once in them and seeing how he liked it.” Crawford then added sarcastically “The horse clearly hates them. He breezed in 59 and 1.”

Fox was slightly more diplomatic with her assessment: “I think it helped him. He got into the work quicker. He didn’t dislike them. It’s not like he backed up in the work. Like I said to Jerry earlier today, you never know if it’s really going to help them until they run.”

The Dubai World Cup offers a purse of $10 million and will be run this Saturday. Keen Ice will have plenty of competition, not the least of which will be California Chrome.

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