06/09/2004 11:00PM

Dynever gives it another go


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Christophe Clement says he hopes sore feet were the cause of Dynever's loss as the favorite in last month's Grade 1 Pimlico Special. Clement's theory will be put to the test in the $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap, where Dynever once again is the likely favorite.

"He looks good, is training well, so let's go," said Clement, who trains Dynever for New York Racing Association vice chairman Peter Karches and Catherine Wills.

Belmont's Grade 2 Brooklyn is the first leg of the NTRA's $400,000 guaranteed pick four and will be shown live during a two-hour ESPN telecast that begins at 4 p.m. Eastern.

, the 117-pound highweight, faces six rivals in the 1 1/8-mile Brooklyn. Dynever's chief competitors are Seattle Fitz, Congrats, and Newfoundland. Gander, Country Be Gold, and Angelic Aura complete the field.

On the strength of his eye-catching win in April at Santa Anita in the Grade 3 San Bernardino - his first race since finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Classic in October - Dynever was made the favorite at Pimlico. But he finished fifth out of six runners.

Clement said Dynever was sore after the race and later shed his frogs, which act like protective cushions, in both his front feet. For the past two weeks, Dynever has trained in spider bar shoes to protect his tender hooves. Clement said the bar shoes would be removed when Dynever ran Saturday.

"It was probably a mistake training him at Belmont before the Pimlico with the track being wet and hard with [rain]," Clement said. "Most of the soreness he had came from his feet. Since his last race, we worked him a couple of times on grass, which is a bit kinder on his feet."

Dynever's last work was on the dirt Sunday.

Corey Nakatani rides Dynever from post 4.

, who has been training very well for trainer Todd Pletcher over the deep Saratoga training track, might have the best chance of defeating Dynever.

A winner of three races at Belmont, Newfoundland finished second in the 1 1/4-mile Gulfstream Park Handicap in his last start April 3. Pletcher freshened Newfoundland with the Brooklyn in mind.

"He's a nice horse who is improving," Pletcher said.

John Velazquez rides Newfoundland from post 2.

and Congrats are coming off stakes wins. Seattle Fitz won the Grade 2 William Donald Schaefer at Pimlico on May 15, his first race since undergoing surgery to correct a breathing problem.

Seattle Fitz has demonstrated a fondness for Belmont, where he earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 111 in an allowance race last year.

"He has tactical speed, so he can sort out a great trip around one turn," said Kiaran McLaughlin, Seattle Fitz's trainer.

Richard Migliore, who won last year's Brooklyn aboard Iron Deputy, rides Seattle Fitz from the rail.

won the Alysheba Stakes in the slop at Churchill on April 30. He set the pace in the Alysheba, but came off the pace in his prior start when he won an allowance race at Keeneland over a dry track.

Although Congrats has run well over a variety of surfaces, trainer Shug McGaughey said Congrats particularly likes Belmont.

"He's a big horse and likes the big turns," McGaughey said.