05/23/2001 11:00PM

He's E-gregiously good


ELMONT, N.Y. - A rising star for the second season.

All eyes will be on E Dubai Saturday when that promising colt by Mr. Prospector steps up in class to run in the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs. He was very impressive here two weeks ago, leading all the way and winning an allowance race by more than 12 lengths, giving him an eye-catching Beyer Speed Figure of 107.

E Dubai is owned by Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin Stable, which purchased the the compact bay colt at Keeneland's September yearling sale for $1.3 million. Sore shins limited his 2-year-old campaign to a couple of starts and kept him from the early training necessary to prepare for the spring classics. He was sharp, however, for his seasonal debut in Dubai last month, leading all the way at nine furlongs to score by nine lengths. The competition was not distinguished, but E Dubai clearly demonstrated considerable ability.

"He's got a lot of talent," said Tom Albertrani, who trains a unit of the Godolphin Stable in the United States. "His two races this season were both quite good and he appears to be moving forward. He'll be meeting tougher horses in the Peter Pan and we're all keen to see how he handles the upgrade in competition."

If E Dubai justifies the confidence of his connections in the Peter Pan, he'll be considered for the Dwyer Stakes on July 8. The Dwyer, in turn, will be a test for a berth in the $1 million Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 25. The severity of the Triple Crown campaign takes a toll each year and few horses who participate in the classics are ready to run in the Travers. Thus the second season for 3-year-olds offers a great opportunity for late-developing colts like E Dubai and young horsemen like Albertrani.

Albertrani, who has been associated with Godolphin Stable for more than five years, was an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott for the eight preceding years. He has a selected stable of 11 at Belmont Park, including the stakes-winning 3-year-olds Express Tour and Street Cry. Albertrani thinks E Dubai compares favorably with those two and hopes to prove the point in the Peter Pan, with Jerry Bailey adding his expertise to the equation.

Hialeah, Longchamp, and beauty

When Joseph Widener planned the rebuilding of Hialeah in the early 1930's, he toured European tracks for ideas and borrowed most heavily from the magnificent Longchamp plant in Paris.

Widener built the most beautiful track in the United States. More than 30 years later, when French racing authorities planned the rebuilding of Longchamp, they sent a team of architects to Miami to study Hialeah and incorporated aspects of what they had seen into their work.

There never was a track to delight the eye like Hialeah, but hard times have placed its future in serious jeopardy. If there is any reasonable way to preserve this treasure, racing should study what can be done. The best suggestion to date is to preserve the track and grounds as a training center to serve Gulfstream Park and Calder. Gulfstream has plans to build a new training center near Boynton Beach, permitting the use of the stable area at the track for other purposes.

It would be less costly to convert Hialeah to a training center than to construct a new facility, and if it were possible to save Hialeah in the process, it would be well worth the effort.