05/18/2003 11:00PM

Seattle Fitz in from Dubai


ELMONT, N.Y. - Kiaran McLaughlin announced his return to New York from Dubai last week by saddling winners with his first two starters at Belmont Park. McLaughlin looks to keep the good times rolling Wednesday when he sends out two more live runners on Belmont's nine-race card.

In the seventh race, a second-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles, McLaughlin sends out Seattle Fitz, an Argentine-bred 4-year-old who makes his North American debut. In the eighth, a third-level turf allowance at nine furlongs, McLaughlin will saddle Lunar Sovereign, who won a pair of turf races here last fall.

According to McLaughlin, Seattle Fitz was a sales topper in Dubai. In six starts at Nad Al Sheba Race Course, Seattle Fitz won twice. He comes out of a sixth-place finish in the 14-horse UAE Derby on March 29.

"He's a very nice horse, a beautiful horse, a great mover," McLaughlin said. "He was running against 3-year-olds there; he will be facing older horses for the first time."

Seattle Fitz shows four solid workouts at Belmont, including a bullet three-furlong blowout in 36 seconds Sunday over the main track. Seattle Fitz will get Lasix for the first time as well as the services of Jerry Bailey.

Colita, a 3-year-old who was beaten as the favorite in both the Sam Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct, could be a threat. He adds blinkers for this start. Edgar Prado rides.

Catlike Move, trained by John Terranova, could be dangerous as the main speed from the rail under Jose Santos.

In the eighth, Lunar Sovereign figures to vie for favoritism with the Bobby Frankel-trained Epicentre.

Lunar Sovereign caught some bad luck last summer at Saratoga when two turf races were rained off the main track. At Belmont in the fall, he won a pair of allowance races by a combined 10 1/2 lengths.

Lunar Sovereign has run once this year, finishing seventh in a race at Nad Al Sheba in January. McLaughlin said Lunar Sovereign needs Lasix to be most effective, and that medication is not permitted for race-day use in Dubai. He will run on Lasix Wednesday and gets Bailey.

"He hasn't missed a day of training since he's been here," McLaughlin said. "He should run well.''

Epicentre won a second-level allowance by two lengths at Keeneland in his North American debut on April 13. Illusionary, Mystic Salse, and Almuhathir are also logical contenders in this 10-horse field.