07/03/2001 11:00PM

Hot trainers Goldberg and Dutrow clash


ELMONT, N.Y. - Richard Dutrow Jr. and Alan Goldberg, two of the hottest trainers at this meeting, are set to square off Friday when the Dutrow-trained Burning Marque meets the Goldberg-trained Night Caller in a seven-furlong money allowance at Belmont Park. First post for the nine-race card is 3:05 p.m.

Dutrow's 18 wins from 67 starters gave him a six-win lead over James Bond in the trainer standings after Wednesday. Goldberg, meanwhile, had won with five of his first eight starters, even after Cat Chat's last-place performance in Wednesday's Grade 1 Prioress Stakes.

Burning Marque had won six consecutive races entering a classified allowance race at a mile on June 15. He broke from the rail and was part of a hotly contested pace; three-quarters of a mile was run in 1:08.94. He was in front until midstretch before backing up to finish fourth, beaten three lengths.

Friday, he cuts back to seven furlongs - the distance of his last two wins - but may be forced to use speed once again after drawing post 2.

If the pace is too fast, that should set things up nicely for Night Caller, who comes off a stalking victory in a fourth-level allowance race at Delaware Park. Javier Castellano rides from post 4.

Big E E, winner of the Grade 3 Withers Stakes last year, makes his second start off a layoff for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. On May 25, Big E E was beaten two lengths in a six-furlong classified allowance. He was shut off during the race, so his performance may be better than it appears on paper.

The last time Big E E raced seven furlongs at Belmont, he won a third-level allowance race by 5 1/2 lengths in a solid 1:22.66 last Sept. 10.

Friday's feature also marks the return of Honorifico to the races. A 7-year-old Argentine-bred son of Southern Halo, Honorifico has not been out since finishing third in the 1999 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. According to trainer Angel Penna, Honorifico broke his hip in that race. Prior to running in the Cigar Mile, Honorifico won two money allowance races, including one going seven furlongs at Belmont.

"He'll need the race," Penna said. "He's a very big, heavy horse. He is, I'd say, 90 percent fit, but he probably lacks that sharpness. He seems to be as good as he was."

Shadow Caster, who upset last year's Forego Handicap at Saratoga at 50-1, and Philadelphia Park shipper Sly Ole Buck complete the field.