If the prevailing opinion is correct and Ice Box chills his opposition to win the “Test of Champions,” the chestnut colt will prove that the quality of the Kentucky Derby form is substantial and worthy of increased attention in the coming months as the classic colts firm up their overall ranking.
A colt bred to relish the classic distances, Ice Box is a neatly made and not over-large chestnut son of the important sire Pulpit out of the Tabasco Cat mare Spice Island. Pulpit’s sire, AP Indy, and grandsire, Seattle Slew, both won the Belmont. Likewise, Tabasco Cat also won the Belmont. If that is not enough Belmont trivia, the sire of Ice Box’s fourth dam, Jaipur, won the 1962 Belmont, and among the internal lines of the five-generation pedigree, we find Belmont Stakes winners Secretariat (twice), Native Dancer, and Nashua.
In the greater scheme of things, those names may be about as important as the amount of rain that fell along Cummins Ferry Road in central Kentucky where I live.
But, if you look for oil where oil has been found, then Ice Box is the field for you.
In addition, the good-looking colt is trained by Nick Zito, who knows his way around the American classic races, and has a style of racing typically preferred for horses who succeed in longer races.
But surprisingly, I doubt that a victory in the Belmont Stakes would any great difference in breeders’ interest in the high-class stallion Pulpit. Already proven as a very good stallion, Pulpit would add a star to his resume with a classic winner, which is always good. But Ice Box would be only one of many other stars in Pulpit’s constellation.
The number of his good offspring has made Pulpit an important sire, and now the success of his sons at stud is making him a sought-after sire of stallion prospects. Among those with proven stock on the race tracks, Pulpit sons Tapit, Stroll, and Sky Mesa rank highest, with the Maryland-based Oratory also getting attention in that market. And among his unproven sons, Corinthian (Metropolitan Handicap, BC Dirt Mile) has consistently been the breeders’ choice.
Of course, if Ice Box wins the Belmont, that makes him a hot stallion prospect, too, doesn’t it?