06/06/2001 12:00AM

Owner makes case for Dr Greenfield


ELMONT, N.Y. - Everybody recalls that Go and Go came from Ireland to upset the Belmont Stakes of 1990 at more than 7-1. Somewhat less celebrated but perhaps as significant was the second-place finish in the Belmont of 1992 of My Memoirs, who came from England and was beaten less than a length at 18-1 by A.P. Indy.

My Memoirs raced for Team Valor, a syndication organization that made a splash in the classics of 1997 with Captain Bodgit. Team Valor is back for Saturday's 133rd Belmont Stakes with Dr Greenfield, who flew here from England Tuesday on a mission: win the Belmont.

The American response to this challenge has been low key. Though he comes here off a string of three consecutive victories, Dr Greenfield, a muscular chestnut son of Dr Devious, was dismissed at 30-1 on the Belmont's morning line.

"That could be a mistake," said Team Valor's Barry Irwin. "We think he has a good chance to win the Belmont. His last start was the Dee Stakes at Chester going a mile and a quarter last month. The colt who was second, Grandera, just finished a close third in the French Derby. That's good form."

Irwin notes that in missing the demanding Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Dr Greenfield is one of the fresher Belmont candidates.

"Woody Stephens showed everybody how to do it," he said. "He pointed most of his five Belmont winners specifically for that race. They weren't the best horse in every case but they had some speed and stamina and they got the job done. We have no concerns about Dr Greenfield getting the trip. In his first race this season, going a mile and five-sixteenths at Kempton, he won by five lengths."

Dr Greenfield is owned by a group of 18, organized by Team Valor. Last December, Irwin was contacted by trainer Gerard Butler, who offered a 2-year-old who had recently won his maiden in arresting fashion on the all-weather course at Lingfield. He won by seven lengths, despite having dwelt at the start. Irwin studied a video tape, flew to inspect the prospect, and signed to buy him. Butler proposed a start in Dubai for the UAE Derby, but Irwin wanted a prep race, the Dee Stakes, and then a trip to America for the Belmont.

Dr Greenfield, who will have the good services of Edgar Prado, is to remain in the United States after the Belmont and be trained by Bill Mott. Irwin speculates that he will be campaigned primarily on the dirt. As a son of an Epsom Derby winner, he also has considerable potential as a stallion.

"He is a relentless galloper," Irwin said. "He gives the impression of being able to stay any distance. Pace could be a factor, although he won in England even without pace."

Dr Greenfield's presence adds to the appeal of the Belmont, which may draw a crowd of 60,000 or more. Add to this 17 of the 18 owners of Dr Greenfield, plus friends and relatives. One of the owners has a previous engagement; an invitation to dinner at the White House.