09/21/2006 11:00PM

Figures may not tell story on Motor West


ELMONT, N.Y. - What Motor West lacks in speed figures he may make up for in seasoning and experience when he meets 11 fellow New York-bred juveniles in Sunday's $100,000 Bertram F. Bongard Stakes at Belmont Park.

While Motor West's Beyer Speed Figures of 63 and 66 are below those of the majority of his rivals, he picked up some valuable experience in both of his starts at Saratoga. In his debut, he was bumped by another horse early in the race and wound up chasing Baltimore Drive through swift fractions before tiring to fourth. Baltimore Drive won that five-furlong race by 2 1/4 lengths and would likely have been favored in here if he were entered.

In his second start, at 6 1/2 furlongs, Motor West steadied in between horses at the half-mile pole, was blocked behind horses on the turn, then bulled through a narrow hole in midstretch before drawing off to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

"That was pretty impressive," said Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens, who trains Motor West for his wife, Elisabeth. "I was just wondering whether there was much stock in that race."

Garrett Gomez rode Motor West in his maiden win, but will ride Market Psychology in the Bongard. Mike Luzzi rides Motor West from post 3.

Gomez rode Market Psychology to a debut win at Saratoga on Aug. 30. He showed good speed out of the gate, turned back a pace challenge on the turn, and opened up 3 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole before Indian Camp rallied to close the margin. Indian Camp came back to win his next start by six lengths on Sept. 16.

"It was expected," trainer Rick Violette said of Market Psychology's debut win. "I actually thought he worked harder than we thought he would have to. But it was a greasy racetrack and Garrett didn't think he was handling it. Hopefully he's right and there's a lot more there."

Elusive Fox won his debut by 6 1/2 lengths at Saratoga. Elusive Fox is out of the mare Shesastonecoldfox, who won her first four starts, including the Joseph A. Gimma - the sister race to the Bongard on Sunday's card - by 15 1/2 lengths. Elusive Fox stretches out from five to seven furlongs and has the rail.

Baxter rallied from 13 lengths off the pace to win a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race for longshot specialist John Hertler. I'm a Numbers Guy is the only member of the field to have defeated open company.