Godolphin Racing's E Dubai makes his first start since finishing second in last September's Super Derby (gr. I) at Louisiana Downs when he faces eight other horses in Saturday's $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
The 4-year-old son of Mr. Prospector, who won the Dwyer (gr. II) at Belmont and then finished second to Point Given in the Travers (gr. I) at Saratoga last summer, carries high weight of 118 pounds and jockey Jose Santos in the nine-furlong Brooklyn, which will be run for the 114th time.
E Dubai was shipped to Godolphin's winter headquarters in Dubai over the winter, but did not race there. Tom Albertrani, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor, said E Dubai had some problems with his heels when he shipped to the Persian Gulf nation and missed a good deal of training. "There's a lot of salt in the track there and that might have irritated him," Albertrani said. "His heels finally started to look better once we brought him back here. It seems like he's ready to run and he looks stronger than he did last year. We're hoping he continues to mature as he gets older."
Invisible Ink, second to Monarchos in the 2001 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), will be making his first stakes appearance as a 4-year-old in the Brooklyn. The Thunder Gulch colt had a bone chip removed and was off from last June, when a well-beaten fifth in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), until March, when he finished second in a Gulfstream Park allowance sprint. He won over allowance company on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs on May 2 and was assigned 114 for the Brooklyn. John Velazquez rides.
The top finishers in the May 8 Westchester Handicap (gr. III) will wheel back in the Brooklyn, including winner Free of Love, who registered his first career stakes win in that one-mile contest. Runner-up Dayton Flyer, third-place finisher Country Be Gold, and fourth-place finisher Seeking Daylight also are in the Brooklyn line-up. Trainer Rick Violette Jr. added blinkers to Free of Love's equipment prior to the Westchester, hoping to change the Meadow Flight colt from what the conditioner said was a "one-paced" horse. "He definitely moved forward in the Westchester and tactically, it would help to run the same race," Violette said.
Brooklyn Handicap (gr. I), 1 1/8 miles, dirt
PP Horse Weight Jockey
1 Griffinite 112 Heberto Castillo Jr.
2 E Dubai 118 Jose Santos
3 Seeking Daylight 112 Edgar Prado
4 Dayton Flyer 112 Shaun Bridgomohan
5 Runspastum 112 Aaron Gryder
6 Free of Love 115 Michael Luzzi
7 Country Be Gold 113 Robbie Davis
8 Invisible Ink 114 John Velazquez
9 Bowman's Band 116 Richard Migliore