06/04/2012 3:23PM

Belmont Stakes 2012: Guyana Star Dweej fails to impress in final workout

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Barbara D. Livingston
Dullahan, with jockey Javier Castellano up, was very impressive working four furlongs in 45.82 seconds on Sunday at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Guyana Star Dweej became the final prospective Belmont Stakes starter to work prior to the race when breezing an uninspiring half-mile in 49.30 seconds with new rider Kent Desormeaux aboard immediately after the renovation break Monday at Belmont Park.

Guyana Star Dweej worked in company with Shkspeare Shaliyah, his stablemate from the barn of trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal. The team broke off at the half-mile pole, with Guyana Star Dweej nearest the rail, and sizzled through an opening quarter in 22.42. But both horses tired badly once settling into the stretch, completing their final two furlongs in a dismal 26.88, with Shkspeare Shaliyah appearing the stronger of the pair at the end. They galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.36.

Although Guyana Star Dweej’s work was obviously better than his aborted try here five days earlier, it hardly suggests that this is a horse is sitting on the type of effort needed to compete with the likes of I’ll Have Another or most of the others eyeing Saturday’s Belmont.

I’ll Have Another had what was another routine morning for him on Monday when jogging a half-mile alongside stable pony Lava Man before breaking away midway down the backstretch to gallop another mile with a strong finish from the wire into the clubhouse turn. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner was not on his toes quite as much Monday as he had been the previous morning when he barreled down the stretch before completing his final two furlongs to the 1 1/4-mile pole in an eye-catching 25.07.

Trainer Dale Romans was still beaming Monday when talking about Dullahan’s half-mile work in 45.82 the previous morning, especially at the notion that his new rider, Javier Castellano, compared the horse to no less a superstar than Ghostzapper.

Dullahan, with Castellano aboard for the first time, posted sizzling splits of 11.13 and 22.20 for the opening eighth and quarter miles of his work and still finished strong down the stretch with his rider sitting chilly the entire way.

“I loved the work and when Javier made the comparison to Ghostzapper was even happier,” Romans said. “Not only was Ghostzapper a great horse, he was always one of my personal favorites.”

Even I’ll Have Another’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, was impressed with Dullahan’s work.

[I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: Derby, Preakness winner runs for Triple Crown]

“I thought of the works I saw on Sunday, Dullahan looked the best,” O’Neill said. “He didn’t look like he went that fast. That’s a good sign.”

Two members of the Belmont field who appear to be live longshots in the race, Paynter and Street Life, worked simultaneously while in company with stablemates from their respective barns.

Paynter began his work at the 6 1/2-furlong pole along with Brigand and went seven panels in 1:24.57, although he was hard used from the top of the stretch until finishing a sixteenth of a mile past the wire. Paynter is a lightly raced, improving, and very dangerous-looking 3-year-old who should have been able to complete his final half-mile a little faster than 50.30, considering he was being asked to do so.

Street Life began a length behind his partner Zivo, a New York-bred maiden from trainer Chad Brown’s vast stable, and was under some urging to finish about a neck in front after completing five furlongs in 1:01.16. Street Life actually may have done his best running during the gallop out, completing six furlongs in 1:13.53.

Atigun was easily the more impressive of trainer Ken McPeek’s two potential Belmont starters to work here Sunday along with the undefeated Unstoppable U.

Atigun, with jockey Julien Leparoux, looked good going an easy maintenance half-mile in 48.44 before galloping out five-eighths in 1:01.32. Unstoppable U., who also breezed by himself, left his status for the Belmont in doubt after switching leads a couple of times and taking an erratic path through much of the stretch while working five furlongs in 1:02.13 with jockey Junior Alvarado aboard.

Union Rags, like Dullahan, skipped the Preakness to await the Belmont and also will have a new rider with John Velazquez taking the call for trainer Michael Matz. Velazquez made the journey down to Fair Hill to work Union Rags for the first time Sunday and as was the case with Castellano was duly impressed after breezing five furlongs in 58.50 according to Daily Racing Form ’s David Grening.

[BELMONT STAKES: Video updates, expected field, early odds]

“Very nice, very impressive,” Velazquez said immediately after the work. “I didn’t have to ask him for anything. He did it all himself.”

At Calder on Sunday, Ravelo’s Boy worked five furlongs in 58.20 before galloping out in 1:11.40 under jockey Ameth Gonzalez. He boarded a van Monday morning for the 24-hour ride to Belmont Park.

“I was so pleased with the way he did it,” trainer Manny Azpurua said. “He just galloped the whole way. He never made any strong move. He did it by himself very easily. He is just getting better and better, week by week.”

Alex Solis will have the mount on Ravelo’s Boy in the Belmont.