Godolphin's E Dubai avenged his second-place finish to Hero's Tribute in the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) with an impressive 5 3/4-length victory in Sunday's $150,000 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park. Under a hand ride by Jerry Bailey, E Dubai completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.38 on a sloppy track. Windsor Castle closed from last to finish second, with Hero's Tribute third and Regal Shivers last in the field reduced to four following the scratches of Griffinite and I Love Silver.
E Dubai set fractions of :22.26 and :44.09 under Bailey before drawing away in the stretch to the victory. "I didn't envision him going that fast, but he broke well and I figured that I might as well take the lead away from Hero's Tribute," Bailey said. "It was just smooth sailing after that."
"The only thing that worried me was at the start when he stumbled. I didn't want to see him rushed up to the lead," said assistant trainer Tom Albertrani. "When I saw him in front I was relieved because he was well in hand. Hero's Tribute was never really getting to him."
The winning time marks the fastest running of the Dwyer since the race was switched to its present distance in 1994.
The second wagering choice, E Dubai returned $4.50 and $2.60. Windsor Castle paid $3.90 to place and completed the $14.60 exacta. There was no show wagering due to the short field.
"They did go fast up front," said Windsor Castle's jockey, Robbie Davis. "They weren't pressing each other enough. If they went head-and-head it would have been better for me. You have to take your hat off to the winner. My horse ran a great race. He was a sick horse over the winter. It looks like he is getting back into form. [The track surface] was packed, sealed. It was the closest thing you can get to a paved road."
John T. Ward Jr., trainer of Hero's Tribute, said the track surface may have contributed to the favorite's disappointing performance.
"The racetrack might have been a little hard for him today. His feet may have been stinging, because he definitely resisted the track," said Ward. "Still, the winner went in 1:07 and change and 1:33 and change, so you can't take anything away from him, nor were we likely to catch him. He checked briefly at one point when E Dubai came over, but it didn't appear to be anything too serious. He may need the bar shoe again, so that's something we'll take a look at."
The win marks the fourth in six starts for E Dubai, a 3-year-old son of Mr. Prospector -- Words of War, by Lord At War. The Saeed bin Suroor trainee won his racing debut at Del Mar last July before capping his juvenile season – during which he was conditioned by Eoin Harty -- with a sixth-place finish in the Best Pal Stakes (gr. III). He won his seasonal debut in Dubai in April before prepping for the Peter Pan with a 12 1/2-length allowance win at Belmont Park. He earned $90,000 for his first graded stakes win. E Dubai was bred in Kentucky by Arthur B. Hancock III and Stonerside Stable.
"I'd love to see him go on to the Jim Dandy (gr. 1, August 4th) and the Travers (gr. I, August 25th)," said Albertrani of the winner. (Chart, Equibase