05/23/2001 11:00PM

From Peter Pan to Belmont?


ELMONT, N.Y. - Since being reinstated in 1975, the Peter Pan Stakes has produced at least one Belmont Stakes starter each year with the exception of 1997. During that period, five Belmont winners have come out of the Peter Pan, most recently Lemon Drop Kid in 1999.

Heading into Saturday's 48th renewal of the Peter Pan, it is unclear what, if any, impact the Grade 2, $200,000 race will have on the June 9 Belmont. Elliott Walden, trainer of Meetyouathebrig, and Dean Greenman, trainer of I Love Silver, are the only two horsemen with any designs on the 1 1/2-mile Belmont.

Both trainers said their horses would have to run exceptionally well to be considered Belmont material. And, they'll have to do it against a potential star in E Dubai, whose Godolphin Racing connections are not thinking Belmont.

A son of Mr. Prospector, E Dubai won a nine-furlong stakes in Dubai April 14 then romped to an eye-catching 12 1/2-length victory in a second-level allowance race here on May 11.

Tom Albertrani, the assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor, doesn't believe E Dubai has to be on the lead, but he does loom the main speed on Saturday. E Dubai will break from post 4 under topweight of 123 pounds.

Thus far, Meetyouathebrig has proven successful only in one-turn mile races at Churchill Downs. Last fall, he won the Iroquois and last month he won the Derby Trial. In between, he was beaten a combined 42 3/4 lengths in the Fountain of Youth and Spiral Stakes.

Walden isn't convinced yet that the horse has limitations. He believes the horse may not be a good shipper, which explains why he sent Meetyouathebrig to Belmont early for this race. Meetyouathebrig has been stabled in John Kimmel's Belmont barn for more than a week.

Meetyouathebrig ran a powerful race, winning the Grade 3 Derby Trial by 6 1/4 lengths. If he duplicates that effort, Walden would consider running back in the Belmont.

"If he runs a big mile and an eighth and comes running like he did in the Derby Trial," Walden said. "We certainly might try it."

After butting heads with Point Given this winter in Southern California, Dean Greenman shipped I Love Silver because he thought the horse was a true one-turn horse.

Greenman is planning on leaving

I Love Silver in the East, but he's not sure if the next start will be the Belmont.

Since he already has Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos going to the Belmont, trainer John Ward has said Hero's Tribute would not run in that race regardless of how he runs Saturday. Hero's Tribute is coming off a last-place finish in the Blue Grass, a race in which he popped a quarter crack in his left front hoof. Hero's Tribute, a son of Sea Hero, has been training in a bar shoe, and will wear it during the race.

"That's going to give you a little less traction, but in the same sense it's going to protect the foot,'' assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff said. "We'll take a chance and leave it on. I'd rather him slip a little bit and protect that thing than slap on a regular shoe and have the whole foot blow up."

Hero's Tribute will also wear blinkers for the first time in hopes of getting him to focus while getting into the race earlier, Azeff said.