10/18/2012 4:43PM

Belmont: Bongard, Gimma both attract crowded fields


ELMONT, N.Y. – Short fields in dirt races may be a fact of life nowadays, but you would never know it by the 26 runners entered in the Bertram F. Bongard and Joseph A. Gimma Stakes, a pair of seven-furlong races for 2-year-old New York-breds that each received a purse boost to $125,000 this year.

A full gate of 14 will line up for the 34th B.F. Bongard, which is carded as the fifth of 10 races Saturday at Belmont Park, and thus the lead-off leg of the pick six. Post time is 3 p.m. Eastern.

Phil Serpe, who has horses in four of the day’s seven stakes, will saddle Weekend Hideaway, the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Any leftover moisture in the track would help Weekend Hideaway, who was purchased out of the Flying Zee dispersal sale last fall. He was an easy winner in the slop at Saratoga, and became the first stakes winner for Michael Hoffman’s Red and Black Stable by winning the David overnight stakes later at the upstate meet.

“We were fortunate to keep some off them in the barn,” said Serpe, who was a long-time trainer for the late Carl Lizza. “[Red and Black Stable] stepped up when we needed them to buy these horses.”

Weekend Hideaway, a very respectable third in the Grade 2 Futurity here Sept. 30, blew out three furlongs in a bullet 35.91 seconds on Wednesday.

In Harm’s Way and Saint Arthur, second and third in the New York Breeders’ Futurity three weeks ago, are likely to attract support as well.

The Mike Hushion-trained In Harm’s Way had an eventful trip as the 2-5 favorite at Finger Lakes when rushed up to a short early lead, taken back to sixth around the turn, and then blocked in the stretch.

Carlos Martin, who won last year’s Bongard with Night Maneuver, sends out Saint Arthur, a $170,000 purchase in May, who was also third in the Aspirant.

Laila’s Jazz and Meet the Mets, who were one-two in a Sept. 27 allowance, also have competitive figures, as do last-out maiden winners Goodtolook, Smooth Bert, and Western Grit.

Gimma: Agilion lukewarm choice

As competitive as the male division looks, the J.A. Gimma is so wide open that six of the 12 fillies are listed quoted between 4-1 and 6-1.

Agilion is the lukewarm favorite for John Kimmel, who sent out Mineralogist to win the Gimma in 2009 as that year’s champion New York-bred juvenile filly. After graduating first time out and then running out of ground when second at odds-on in the Aristie overnight stakes at Saratoga, Agilion tried the boys here most recently and ran third to Laila’s Jazz and Meet the Mets.

Carameaway was no threat to Agilion in mid-summer, but improved sharply with blinkers on to win a seven-furlong maiden race by nearly nine lengths early at the fall meet. She may improve again after posting two bullet works for Mitch Friedman.

Heidi’s Holiday, Julesco, Kelli Got Frosty, and Zekes Surprise all posted lengthy maiden wins. Gee Linz and Matchmadeinheaven are the only two-time winners.