Desormeaux to ride in Belmont Stakes
Kent Desormeaux has landed a ride in the Belmont Stakes after losing his mount in the Preakness Stakes because he refused to take a Breathalyzer test.
Owner-trainer trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal said Monday that his colt Guyana Star Dweej will run Saturday in the Belmont and that Desormeaux will be aboard.
The Hall of Fame jockey was on the horse for a half-mile workout Monday. Desormeaux has ridden in the Belmont seven times, and won it in 2009 with Summer Bird. He finished second in 1998, when Real Quiet's Triple Crown bid was spoiled, and in 2002 with Medaglia d'Oro.
Guyana Star Dweej had Eddie Castro as his jockey in his last race, on April 27. Apprentice Samuel Camacho Jr. rode him in three previous races, including the colt's only win, on April 7.
''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 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.''
Guyana Star Dweej had been pointed to the May 19 Preakness, but he hurt his left front leg three days before the race and skipped it.
''Guyana Star is back on the straight path again,'' Schivmangal said.
Desormeaux was removed as the rider of Tiger Walk for the Preakness after the 42-year-old rider refused the test at Belmont Park. A new rule requires all jockeys riding at the track to undergo a test for alcohol consumption.
Desormeaux rode Dullahan to a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, and that colt could go favored in the Belmont Stakes after the scratch of I'll Have Another. But following the Breathalyzer incident, Dullahan's connections opted to use Javier Castellano in the Belmont.
Desormeaux failed a Breathalyzer test at Woodbine in July 2010 and was removed from his mount that day.
Last September, Desormeaux was arrested and charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment for hitting a traffic cop outside Saratoga. He was taken off his scheduled mount by racing officials.
Hansen, last year's 2-year-old champion who finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby, won't be coming to New York this weekend.
Trainer Mike Maker said Monday that Hansen has a depleted red blood cell count that will keep him from starting in the $400,000 Woody Stephens on the Belmont undercard Saturday.
''We didn't want to risk, with the ship and the race and everything, to knock him down even further,'' Maker said.
Hansen hasn't run since the Kentucky Derby on May 5 and remains at his Churchill Downs barn.
''We'll monitor it closely,'' Maker said. ''It's been my experience that, a lot of times, it's no big issue, and with proper treatment he'll rebound quickly.''