ELMONT, NY - Owner/Trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal, of long shot Guyana Star Dweej, has been busy checking out his colt since being moved into the Belmont Stakes barn on Wednesday afternoon.
I had an opportunity to talk with Mr. Shivmangal regarding his colt and he says, "My horse is one of the most muscular in the Belmont field. He looks good and is alert and attentive." He doesn't seem to think that moving his horse into the secured Belmont Stakes barn has affected his colt one bit.
I asked if he gives his horse any special treats after his workouts and he said; "Other than the flax seed in his cooked oats, he's fed Aloe Vera juice, as it is soothing to the horses insides, but his special treat is a Guinness beer mixed with egg and honey."
On Wednesday I was at the Belmont track looking at some photos and Mrs. Shivmangal was nearby and she told me, "I'm excited and nervous about the race at the same time. We hope for the best."
While their horse has not displayed the most impressive speed ratings, the Shivmangal's faith is not mechanical. Guyana Star Dweej, with odds of 50/1, will have jockey Kent Desormeaux at the controls and he is no stranger to the swift construction of the Belmont oval.
Paynter is another option in the Belmont betting as he will more than likely be the front runner. His workouts have been good while at Belmont preparing for this race. He is trained by Bob Baffert and will have Mike Smith as the jockey.
Kentucky Derby favorite, Union Rags, will be breaking from post 3. He had a rough go of it in the Derby experiencing heavy traffic problems from the beginning of the race. His third place finish in the Florida Derby was less then desirable, but don't discount him as this may be his race with a little extra track and less traffic to maneuver around. He skipped the Preakness to prepare for the Belmont and hopefully he can maintain his pace with Johnny Velazquez guiding his way.
Despite I'll Have Another scratching from tomorrow's race there are still some good options in the Belmont field with great odds. As most of the wagering will be going to Dullahan, Union Rags and Paynter will be making solid efforts over the field.
At I'll Have Another's press conference this afternoon Trainer Doug O'Neill explained; "Yesterday I had noticed some loss of definition in the colts front left leg and even though he looked good this morning, after he was cooling out the swelling was back, and at that point i didn't feel very good." Dr. Hunt claimed it was the start of tendonitis in the horse and that he would need three to six months of rest.
While so many strive to have their horses develop into high class performance animals, that the fact is they are still developing. For so many three year old thoroughbreds, the Triple Crown schedule is too difficult for them to endure.