10/20/2011 1:03PM

Belmont: Flying Zee Stable can go four-deep in B.F. Bongard


ELMONT, N.Y. – Early and late, pick four bettors must navigate through full fields of 2-year-olds in the Bertram F. Bongard and Joseph A. Gimma, a pair of $100,000 seven-furlong sprints on the New York Showcase Day card at Belmont Park. The B. F. Bongard is race 4 and the third leg of the early sequence. The J. A. Gimma is race 7 and kicks off a $300,000 guaranteed late pick four at 4:13 p.m. Eastern.

A baker’s dozen entered the Bongard, headed by a four-ply Flying Zee Stable entry of Western Tryst and The Prize Fighter, trained by Phil Serpe; and Night Maneuver and Goodtime Boy, trained by Carlos Martin.

The Prize Fighter, regarded as one of the top Flying Zee prospects from the outset, was a game maiden winner at Saratoga under Jose Lezcano, and came back the last week of that meet to finish strongly for third in the Gold and Roses after a late lead-change under Ryan Curatolo.

Curatolo, who rode all four at least once, remains on Night Maneuver.

“I don’t know that we’ll run them all,” said Serpe. “The main horses are The Prize Fighter and Night Maneuver. We’re closing the blinkers up with The Prize Fighter because he tends to lose focus, and he’s a horse that needs strong handling, so a guy like Lezcano can get the point across with that horse. Western Tryst has been breezing on the dirt since his maiden win on turf and he’s really working well so we’re happy to give him another chance on dirt.”

Martin said Night Maneuver hadn’t show much in the mornings until he won his debut at Saratoga against $35,000 maiden claimers at nearly 20-1. Five weeks later, he won a first-level allowance at Belmont.

“He surprised us first time out, and since then he’s been getting better all the time,” Martin said.

The two-three-four finishers from the New York Breeders’ Futurity – French Wine, Bay Park Boy, and Jaw Crusher – should make their presence felt as well.

Fox Rules, Ganador, In Toe’s Memory, Silent Thunder, Swag Daddy, and Tug of War also entered.