Owned and trained by Fred Seitz, the son of Graeme Hall—Bessette (by Quest for Fame), has two seconds and a third, with earnings of $16,100.
Guadalcanal, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano, drew post position two in the Belmont.
Seitz said he realizes the colt will be a longshot in the classic, in which Big Brown is attempting to sweep the coveted Triple Crown, but that he believes Guadalcanal will love the 1 ½ mile distance.
“He was bred for a route, he trains like he will want a route, and there are not many opportunities to race against 3-year-olds at 1 ½ miles,” Seitz said. “If we are on the board, we will be happy.”
In his most recent start, on May 23, the colt finished second in a 1 ½-mile maiden race on grass at Churchill Downs. Seitz noted that the final time of 2:32 3/5 was close to the 2:31 timing for older horse Lattice in the Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT), also at 1 ½ miles over Churchill’s turf course the following day. He added that the temporary rail was set 15 feet out from the main rail for the maiden race and was not for the Louisville Handicap.
While his entry in the Belmont is a surprise, Seitz said he always thought highly of Guadalcanal’s ability at classic distances, one reason the colt was an original nominee to the Triple Crown series.
“To me, it’s all about the distance, the trip, and who can get 1 ½ miles,” Seitz said. “He could probably go farther.”
On the advice of Dr. David Lambert, Seitz purchased the colt following his first start, a second-place effort in a six-furlong maiden test at Calder. That was followed by two unplaced finishes at the respective distances of seven furlongs and 1 1/8 miles. Previous to his 1 ½ mile grass race at Churchill Downs, the colt was third at 1 1/16 miles over Keeneland’s Polytrack.