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Guyana Star Dweej definite for Belmont
After watching Guyana Star Dweej put in a half-mile work on Belmont Park's fast main track Monday morning, owner-trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal confirmed the Eddington colt will make his next start in Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
"Guyana Star is in the Belmont," Shivmangal said. "I was very pleased with him yesterday morning, but I am more pleased today. We were able to beat the weather, and he did what he needed to do. I think Guyana Star is back on the straight path again."
Working in company with Grade 3 Pilgrim winner Shkspeare Shaliyah, Guyana Star Dweej went a quarter-mile in :22 3/5 and a half in :49, galloping out five furlongs in 1:02 1/5, according to NYRA clockers. Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux was aboard for the work and will ride in the Belmont.
"Kent said he was very relaxed and went very easy," Shivmangal said. "Of all the horses in the barn, he'll be the first one to clean his feed tub. He's a nice horse. Nothing bothers him."
Desormeaux has ridden in the Belmont seven times, but not since winning with Summer Bird in 2009. He has finished second twice, most notably with Real Quiet, who was just denied the Triple Crown by a whisker in 1998. Desormeaux was also a close second aboard Medaglia d'Oro in 2002.
Guyana Star Dweej was second to fellow Belmont contender Unstoppable U in a one-mile optional claimer at Belmont Park on April 27 in his most recent start, with jockey Eddie Castro aboard. Apprentice Samuel Camacho Jr. was up for the previous three races, including his lone victory on April 7 at Aqueduct.
"Kent came by with his agent and they were asking about the horse," Shivmangal said. "We were debating who would ride him. My kids were thinking I should bring Camacho back to ride. I told them I have nothing against him. He won on the horse, but this is a big race, the toughest of the Triple Crown races to win.
"I love to use the bug kids, because I know they try every time. I met with my wife and kids and we decided to go with Kent. We felt it was the right decision to have an experienced jockey who knows what it takes. We believe in loyalty, but this is a big race and not a small race. You have to have somebody who knows how to do it."
Shivmangal had been pointing to the May 19 Preakness for Guyana Star Dweej, who was pulled from consideration with a left front leg injury three days before the race.
In addition to Monday's work, Shivmangal was encouraged to run in the Belmont by the way the horse galloped Sunday morning, also with Desormeaux up.
"After his gallop yesterday, I was very pleased," he said. "He is not a work horse in the morning, but he can run. I know for a fact that he runs better than he works. In a Triple Crown race, anything can happen. The first three or four horses are the high contenders, and after that the rest of them are mediocre horses."