09/25/2003 11:00PM

Funny Cide team back in Bongard

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ELMONT, N.Y. - In the Bertram F. Bongard a year ago, Funny Cide emerged as a budding star with his nine-length win. Sunday at Belmont Park, the Funny Cide team has Saratoga Episode in the Bongard, a New York-bred race for 2-year-old males.

The odds are against another Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner emerging from this year's $100,000-added Bongard, but that's not to say the nine runners in the field lack talent.

Saratoga Episode, owned by Sackatoga Stable and trained by Barclay Tagg, finished second at Saratoga in his first start on July 25. The winner, Bond Arbitrage, is also entered in the Bongard.

Saratoga Episode won his second start, also at Saratoga, over a wet track in a 12-horse field.

Tagg said Saratoga Episode looks like he wants to go farther.

"He's kind of one-dimensional in that he likes to come from out of it," Tagg said. "But I can't judge too much with only two races. It might turn out he's a front-runner."

Shaun Bridgmohan rides Saratoga Episode from post 4.

Bond Arbitrage, who won his maiden by 1 1/4 lengths under a hand ride, hasn't run since, but shows a steady workout pattern for trainer Richard Violette. Jerry Bailey rides.

Rb's Glitter is the only stakes winner in the field. Rb's Glitter won the Aspirant by 3 1/2 lengths at Finger Lakes on Aug. 16. Twenty-two days later, he finished third in the New York Breeders' Futurity as the favorite.

Bruce Levine, Rb's Glitter's trainer, said the colt was showing the effects of three races in the span of 37 days, plus shipping back and forth between Saratoga and Finger Lakes, when he ran in the Futurity.

"He just wasn't as sharp in his last race," Levine said. "It was a little bit too much on a 2-year-old."

Mike Luzzi rides Rb's Glitter.

Theconfidenceman romped to a six-length win in his first race in July. He ran back on grass on Sept. 17 in an open company race and finished third.

Friends Lake won a maiden race at Saratoga five weeks ago and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 83, the highest in the field. Friends Lake's trainer, John Kimmel, said the colt coughed a couple of times last week and he won't run unless he is 100 percent.

Rain is in the forecast and a wet track would suit Aladdin's Lamp, who won his career debut by 3 1/2 lengths in the slop at Saratoga.