The 44-year-old Hall of Fame rider won 2009 Belmont aboard Summer Bird, and missed sweeping the Triple Crown when Victory Gallop defeated Real Quiet by a nose in 1998.
“Speed at this point is now irrelevant,” Desormeaux said of the Belmont’s testing 1 1/2-mile distance. “You’d need a horse that can stay, and the guy that I ride will be naturally closer because of the human element.”
Keen Ice, a son of Curlin trained by Dale Romans, closed from 17th after a half mile to finish seventh under Desormeaux in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), beaten 8 3/4 lengths by American Pharoah, who won by a length.
“They’re not going to go :46 (for the half-mile) in the Belmont, otherwise you’d have no chance,” Desormeaux said. “So they’ll slow it down and that will put me naturally closer and if Keen Ice finishes like he finished in the Derby, he has a chance, he’ll be competitive.
“I’m looking forward to it. I like running out of horse at about the sixteenth pole and then trying to carry him the rest of the way and win a race.
“In the Derby, I went under the wire full of horse. After a mile and a quarter he was just as fresh going under the wire the second time.”
Donegal Racing’s Keen Ice has one win and a pair of seconds from eight career starts that include a third-place finish in the Risen Star (gr. III) and fourth in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II).