Trainer Dale Romans confirmed Aug 13 that William Hill Haskell Invitational runner-up Keen Ice will breeze Aug. 15 in preparation for a start in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 29.
The Travers could be the Curlin colt's fourth matchup in as many races against Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
In the Haskell, Keen Ice settled at the back of the field and closed late under Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux to get within 2-1/4 lengths of a geared-down American Pharoah.
"That was a breakthrough race for him," Romans said. "He really came running. Before, he was kind of a grinder, but in the Haskell, you can see that he was accelerating. His numbers have all gone the right direction, and he came out of it prancing and playing."
With only a maiden victory in his win column, Keen Ice has been graded stakes-placed four times. After finishing seventh in the Kentucky Derby, Keen Ice captured show honors in the Belmont Stakes presented by DraftKings prior to his start in the Haskell. Keen Ice boasts career earnings of $640,395 for owner Donegal Racing.
"Every race, he's done a little better," Romans said. "This will be our fourth time against 'Pharoah' and as long as we keep picking up big checks every time, we'll keep running against him."
The Travers, originally slated to carry a purse of $1.25 million, will be worth $1.6 million if American Pharoah's connections decide to run the Triple Crown winner in the Midsummer Derby.