06/04/2009 11:00PM

Ea may have forced way into Brooklyn

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Bob Coglianese
Trainer Tom Albertrani said that Ea, shown winning on March 4 at Gulfstream Park, "seems to be training a little better" than stablemate Barrier Reef.

ELMONT, N.Y. - When he entered both Barrier Reef and Ea in Friday's Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap, trainer Tom Albertrani's initial plan was to start the former and keep the latter in the barn. But watching both horses train the last week, Albertrani now seems inclined to switch his lineup.

:: RACE OF THE DAY:

"The race was meant for Barrier Reef from the start, but I think the other horse seems to be training a little better, so I'm maybe leaning towards running Ea instead of Barrier Reef right now," Albertrani said Wednesday morning.

Ea, who comes off runner-up finishes in the Charles Town Classic and the William Donald Schaefer Handicap, is one of several contenders in a seemingly wide-open renewal of the Brooklyn, run at 1 1/2 miles. The Brooklyn is the final event on a 10-race card Friday that also includes the Grade 3, $100,000 Hill Prince for 3-year-olds on turf as well as two undercard stakes. It is also the first leg of a daily double wager linking the Brooklyn and Saturday's Belmont Stakes, a minimum $1 bet.

According to Albertrani, Ea means god of wisdom in Arabic. It has certainly proven to be a wise move to put Ea on the dirt. In four dirt races this year, Ea has a win and three seconds.

Two starts back, Ea finished second to the underrated Researcher in the Charles Town Classic. Last out, Ea finished second to No Advantage in the Grade 3 William Donald Schaefer, a race in which Ea stumbled at the start, rushed up between horses, dropped back, and re-rallied in the stretch.

"He hit his head on the front gate," Albertrani said. "I don't know how much that affected him. I think being a little far back on a slow pace, he couldn't make up all the ground. He seemed to come out of the race doing very good."

Ea breaks from the rail under Ramon Dominguez.

Trainer Richard Dutrow has been bullish on Rising Moon for a long time. The horse was talented enough to win four consecutive races, though fragile enough where that streak encompassed 15 months.

Rising Moon has twice suffered a broken foot, including the day two years ago that he beat Funny Cide in a 1 1/2-mile overnight stakes here and last summer when he finished fifth in the Whitney at Saratoga.

Rising Moon came back off a nine-month layoff to run second in a three-horse race here, but Dutrow was pleased enough with the effort considering the horse was impeded early by Even Raise, ridden by Rajiv Maragh.

"His first race back was very, very good - he ran huge," Dutrow said. "I thought he was going to need it, but he got hindered by Maragh coming right over and banging us and he kept banging us down the backside. "

Garrett Gomez rides Rising Moon from post 9.

Delosvientos seeks a repeat in the Brooklyn, though he is going to have to bounce back from a dismal performance in the Nasty and Bold, the May 7 prep for this run. That was Delosvientos's first race since Dec. 31, and he had a rider, Kendry Castillo, who was unfamiliar with Belmont Park. Delosvientos is being reunited with Eibar Coa, aboard for the Brooklyn win a year ago.

Alcomo, Nite Light, Eldaafer, Lord Kipling, and Don Misil complete the field.