06/12/2002 11:00PM

Detours lead to meeting in Brooklyn


ELMONT, N.Y. - A change in plans for Invisible Ink and E Dubai sets up an intriguing matchup of famous bridesmaids in Saturday's $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park.

Invisible Ink, runner-up to Monarchos in last year's Kentucky Derby, seeks his first stakes score in the nine-furlong Brooklyn, while E Dubai, second to Point Given in last year's Travers, make his first start in 255 days. Those two head a nine-horse field entered in the

Grade 2 race that also includes Westchester Handicap winner Free of Love and Oaklawn Handicap runner-up Bowman's Band.

Invisible Ink was scheduled to run in Saturday's $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. But trainer Todd Pletcher elected to keep Invisible Ink in New York when his primary Brooklyn hopeful, Graeme Hall, did not satisfactorily come out of his most recent workout. Pletcher also felt that Congaree looked like he could get loose on the lead in the Stephen Foster, compromising Invisible Ink's chances in that race.

"Our chances of winning a stakes are slightly better here," Pletcher said.

Invisible Ink was put on the shelf after finishing fifth in last year's Belmont Stakes. He returned on March 13 with a solid second-place finish behind He's a Knockout in a seven-furlong race at Gulfstream before winning an optional claimer at Churchill on May 2.

Invisible Ink, who will break from post 8 under John Velazquez and 114 pounds, should benefit from an expected solid pace. He is 2 for 3 on off tracks, and rain is in the forecast.

E Dubai, who won the Grade 2 Dwyer in the slop here last July, figures to be part of that early pace. E Dubai has not been out since finishing second as the 1-2 favorite in last year's Super Derby on Sept. 23.

E Dubai was being pointed to last month's Metropolitan Handicap, but was not deemed ready for that race. Godolphin assistant trainer Tom Albertrani said the three weeks have done E Dubai well.

"He's been consistent in his works, he appears to be ready," Albertrani said. "You're always at a disadvantage when you're off eight months, but he seems to be training as well as he ever has."

E Dubai, who will break from post 4 under Jose Santos and highweight off 118 pounds, will have to contend with Dayton Flyer early on. Dayton Flyer held second in the Westchester after setting torrid early fractions. He is 4 for 9 at Belmont, 0 for 9 elsewhere.

After 10 tries, Free of Love became a stakes winner in the Westchester. The addition of blinkers appeared to help the colt concentrate more, and he made a sustained five-furlong move that could make him a bounce candidate on Saturday. Mike Luzzi has the call from post 6.

Bowman's Band is cross-entered in Saturday's Baltimore Breeders' Cup Handicap at Pimlico, and his connections have not decided where he will run.

Flying Dash out; Hill Prince wide open

The defection of Flying Dash and the forecast for rain have put a damper on Saturday's $100,000 Hill Prince for 3-year-olds on turf. A field of 11 was entered, but only eight for the turf. Heir D' Twine, Rum Splasher, and Irish Colonial will run only if the race is moved to the main track.

Flying Dash, winner of the Transylvania Stakes and Hawthorne Derby, was kept out of the race by trainer Neil Drysdale because of an unsatisfactory workout on Sunday.

Miesque's Approval, who won last year's Pilgrim Stakes at Aqueduct makes his long-awaited 3-year-old debut in the Hill Prince. Trainer Bill Mott said it took longer than anticipated for Miesque's Approval to come around, but his most recent workouts indicate to Mott that he's ready.

Smoked Em, winner of the Federico Tesio, is set to try the turf for the first time. His half-mile workout in 49 seconds on turf Sunday impressed Pletcher, his trainer. "It's obviously worth trying based on what we've seen in the morning," he said.

Emergency Status, the 55-1 winner of the Jersey Derby, is the one to catch under Shaun Bridgmohan.



Purse: $250,000; 1 1/8 miles; Grade 2

1GriffiniteH. Castillo Jr.11220-1
2E DubaiJ. Santos1185-2
3Seeking DaylightE. Prado11212-1
4Dayton FlyerS. Bridgmohan1128-1
5RunspastumA. Gryder11220-1
6Free of LoveM. Luzzi1157-2
7Country Be GoldR. Davis11315-1
8Invisible InkJ. Velazquez1145-1
9Bowman's BandR. Migliore1163-1

Odds by Michael Sherack

Television: Saturday (taped), 5-6 p.m., CBS

for Belmont Park entries.

Subscribers: to purchase past performances for Belmont Park.

Non-subscribers: to purchase past performances for Belmont Park.