07/07/2001 11:00PM

E Dubai victorious in Dwyer


ELMONT, N.Y. - It may not be the North American race Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum covets, but Sunday's $150,000 Dwyer Stakes could be an important step for his Godolphin Racing Inc.

E Dubai officially stamped himself as a 3-year-old on the rise Sunday with an emphatic 5 3/4-length victory in the Grade 2 Dwyer over a sloppy Belmont Park main track. In avenging his defeat to Hero's Tribute in the Peter Pan, E Dubai established a stakes record of 1:40.38 for the 1 1/16-miles.

Windsor Castle, last year's Remsen winner, rallied for second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Hero's Tribute. Regal Shivers finished last. I Love Silver and Griffinite scratched.

E Dubai was slow to recover from shin problems, which forced him to miss this year's Triple Crown series. But he certainly seems Godolphin's best hope for the second half of the year. He may next get a meeting with dual classic winner Point Given in the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 25.

Under Jerry Bailey, E Dubai overcame a sluggish start, took command a sixteenth of a mile in and despite setting blistering fractions of 22.26 seconds, 44.09, 1:07.93 and 1:33.54 finished full of run. He returned $4.50 to win as the second choice.

It was in stark contrast to the Peter Pan, when Hero's Tribute ran E Dubai off his feet over a similarly sloppy track. In that race, E Dubai was spotting Hero's Tribute six pounds while running back in 15 days off a lifetime best effort. Sunday, they carried equal weights and E Dubai had 43 days between starts.

"Our horse just looked better coming into this race than the last race," said Tom Albertrani, assistant trainer to Saeed bin Suroor. "He was carrying a bit more weight, a bit more muscle this time."

According to Bailey, E Dubai was rocking backward when the gates opened, causing him to get away slowly. Not wanting to let Jorge Chavez and Hero's Tribute, the 4-5 favorite, dictate the pace, Bailey put E Dubai into the race and cut over in front of Hero's Tribute after getting clear. The race was basically over.

"I was going to force his hand, he either had to take back or he was going to have to use his horse," Bailey said.

The fast fractions did not concern Albertrani.

"Jerry never moved on him and it looked like he had plenty of horse leaving the three-eighths pole," Albertrani said. "And it just didn't look like they were going to catch him."

Hero's Tribute won the Peter Pan while wearing a bar shoe to protect a quarter crack on his left front foot. He wore plain shoes Sunday and both Chavez and trainer John Ward said Hero's Tribute was fighting the track.

"He might be a horse that has to live in that bar," Ward said. "He was definitely resenting that racetrack. But let me tell you, the winner was humming. I congratulate the winner, he's a nice horse."

Ward said he still intends to run Hero's Tribute next in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on Aug. 5. Albertrani indicated he might skip the Haskell and the Jim Dandy (Aug. 4) and point E Dubai straight to the Travers.

"I'd like to have him good and fresh for that," Albertrani said. "I think this horse will not have any problem getting a mile and a quarter."