Six 3-year-olds will line up to test impressive allowance winner E Dubai in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Peter Pan at nine furlongs at Belmont Park. E Dubai was a runaway winner opening week at the track, running 1:41 for the mile and a sixteenth, fastest for the current meet, and matching the mark set by 5-year-old Grade I-placed Gander.
Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, E Dubai broke his maiden at first asking last summer at Del Mar. However, he was crushed by Flame Thrower in the Best Pal, and was given most of the winter off because of shin problems. The son of Mr. Prospector was not ready to run in the major Dubai prep races before the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and has been pointed to the Peter Pan and perhaps the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Jerry Bailey gets the mount.
E Dubai will have to contend with a quality field in the Peter Pan. I Love Silver challenged Preakness (gr. I) hero Point Given in both the San Felipe (gr. II) and the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) this spring, finishing second and third, respectively. Dean Greenman inherited the training of I Love Silver after the death of his father, Walter. The gelding, who does his running from off the pace, will have the services of Richard Migliore.
At one time, Hero's Tribute was considered the most promising 3-year-old in trainer John Ward Jr.'s barn this spring. He romped in a Gulfstream Park allowance in February, beating A P Valentine in the process. After disappointing efforts in the Louisiana Derby and the Toyota Blue Grass, however, Hero's Tribute was taken off the Kentucky Derby trail, and will run with blinkers in the Peter Pan. Derby winner Jorge Chavez rides the son of Sea Hero.
The inconsistent Meetyouathebrig also must be considered dangerous after scoring in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs. He defeated Hero's Tribute over that track in the Iroquois last fall, but faltered when stretched out in the Fountain of Youth and the Spiral Stakes earlier this year. The Elliott Walden trainee will be partnered with Robby Albarado.
The Peter Pan has produced five Belmont Stakes winners since 1979, including Lemon Drop Kid, Colonial Affair, and Hall of Famer A.P. Indy.
In post position order with riders and weights, here is the field for the Peter Pan: Sirpa (Frank Alvarado, 115), Telescam (Javier Castellano, 115), Meetyouathebrig (Albarado, 121), E Dubai (Bailey, 123), Dayton Flyer (Edgar Prado, 115), I Love Silver (Migliore, 115), and Hero's Tribute (Chavez, 117).