DONEGAL TEAM ONE OF THE RIGHT THINGS IN RACING
The sport of Thoroughbred racing is growing and may just be on the cusp of an all-new renaissance. What is the basis for such a statement? Look no farther than the Donegal racing team.
The future of the sport of kings may just be the way of Donegal. As a partnership headed by Jerry Crawford, race-horse ownership is possible as the Donegal group pools their resources and invests in the Thoroughbred thunder that competes at the highest of levels. This approach opens the doors for many that are willing to buy a stake but maybe not willing to take on the entire endeavor.
“I really have to tip my hat to Cot Campbell and Dogwood Stables for coming up with the idea,” says Crawford. “We have patterned after him and tried to enjoy this wonderful sport and help it grow. We really want to expand it in the younger generations and create race fans.”
Crawford and his group have made outstanding efforts toward completing their mission statement. And they have also done a nice job on the track as well. Horses in the past like Paddy O’Prado, Dullahan, and Finnigans Wake have produced high profile wins and kept the Donegal group among the leaders in earnings per start over the past three years.
Training mastermind Dale Romans has been entrusted with most of the Donegal horses over the years and he too is a reason to admire the group. Hard working and never afraid to take a shot, the Louisville native knows the only way to win a race is to get the horse ready and let him run. Current campaigner Keen Ice is another one Romans has instilled a warrior-like mentality in. Keeping the green and gold colors flying among the elite, this son of Curlin is the only horse to defeat American Pharoah in 2015. Refusing to rest on those laurels and keeping with the competitive spirit the sport needs, Keen Ice is continuing to run. His latest effort in the mile and an eighth Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs may have not resulted in a win, but it still proved the Donegal point. Finishing a furiously closing fourth just a length and a half from victory, Keen Ice answered the questions about why he was started in the Black Friday tilt.
“I think he proved he can run with anybody and a mile and a quarter is his game,” says Romans. “I really think by the end of next year he will be the best handicap horse. It’s up to Jerry, but I’d love to go to Dubai and win a $10 million race.”
The Dubai World Cup is the richest and perhaps toughest race for an American horse to win. The challenges presented by this mile and a quarter race are numerous, but being in it to win it sounds like the Donegal way.