06/11/2004 11:00PM

Seattle Fitz takes Brooklyn

Seattle Fitz (from right), Dynever, and Newfoundland charge to the wire.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Seattle Fitz had just run six furlongs in 1:08.56 with Newfoundland hounding him throughout. Watching from the grandstand, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was nervous. On Seattle Fitz's back, jockey Richard Migliore was confident.

"I told Kiaran leaving the paddock, I don't mind being on the lead, and I'll let him go as fast as he wants to go as long as he's comfortable," Migliore said. "He was idling going three quarters in 1:08-and-change."

Migliore's assessment proved correct, as Seattle Fitz put Newfoundland away by the five-sixteenths pole and had plenty left to hold off the late-running Dynever to win the Grade 2, $250,000 by a half-length before a crowd of 8,037 at Belmont Park. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to Newfoundland in third. Angelic Aura, Congrats, and Gander completed the order of finish.

Seattle Fitz, a 5-year-old Argentine-bred son of Fitzcarraldo, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.30 over a fast track and returned $8 to win.

It was the most prestigious victory for the West Point Stable, an ownership syndicate that was formed by Terry Finley in 1991. Finley purchased Seattle Fitz in Dubai in October 2002 for about $140,000, and after running him in a couple of races there, Finley brought him here in the spring of 2003.

After taking forever to break through his second-level allowance condition, Seattle Fitz put together a string of good efforts during the winter, including a victory in the Grade 3 Aqueduct Handicap. He bombed as the 7-10 favorite in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, but was found to have displaced his soft palate, which inhibits a horse's breathing. Following throat surgery, Seattle Fitz has now reeled off victories in the William Schaefer at Pimlico and the Brooklyn.

"The myectomy has made a big difference," McLaughlin said. "Richie has always sworn that he is a better horse around one turn. He had an awful lot of confidence in him today, and he rode him like that."

Dynever, the 8-5 favorite, rebounded from a disastrous performance in the Pimlico Special to finish a strong second.

"I thought I was going to run them down the whole way," said Corey Nakatani, who rode Dynever. "But, [Seattle Fitz] put [Newfoundland] away and then he got a little breather. When I got to him he had a little left. I'm glad to see Dynever's back. He ran a big race."

Seattle Fitz and Dynever are likely to meet again in the $500,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont on July 3.

* While Nakatani may have come up short in the Brooklyn, he was able to guide She's a Mugs ($17) past Feline Story in the final three jumps for a head victory in the $63,500 Funistrada Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. She's a Mugs, trained by Nick Zito, covered the six furlongs in 1:10.65.