10/01/2004 12:00AM

Looks like Caribbean Cruiser control

Tom Cooley
Caribbean Cruiser, with Chin Yang riding, wins the Aspirant by 3 3/4 lengths. He followed that up with a victory in the New York Breeders Futurity to raise his record to 3 for 3.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Caribbean Cruiser, an undefeated 2-year-old New York-bred, shoots for his third consecutive stakes win in Sunday's $100,000-added Bertram F. Bongard at Belmont Park.

will be a heavy favorite against seven rivals in the Bongard, which for some of the runners will serve as a stepping-stone to the $100,000-added Sleepy Hollow on New York Showcase Day on Oct. 23.

Owned and bred by Peter and Marshall Winston's Star Track Farms, Caribbean Cruiser is 3 for 3. After an impressive maiden win at Saratoga, Caribbean Cruiser returned to his Finger Lakes home base and won the Aspirant by 3 3/4 lengths and the New York Breeders Futurity by 5 3/4 lengths. In each of his starts, the colt has earned Beyer Speed Figures in the 80's.

A front-runner, Caribbean Cruiser had to fight for the lead for the first time in the Breeders Futurity. Donna Bireta, Caribbean Cruiser's trainer, said she wasn't worried about the colt being put under that type of pressure from his rail post in the Breeders Futurity.

"We trained him every which way you can," Bireta said. "We trained him so he would get dirt in his face and all that."

Caribbean Cruiser, who drew the rail again, will stretch out to seven furlongs for the first time in the Bongard.

"From what he has shown me, it shouldn't be a problem," Bireta said. "But until he runs seven-eighths, you don't know. He's done everything easily, but I'm sure he will be tested here."

Chin Yang rides Caribbean Cruiser.

, who showed early speed in his debut, is the likely second choice. Carminooch stretches out after winning his maiden by 3 3/4 lengths in a 5 1/2-furlong race.

"He gives us the impression that distance will be no problem," said trainer Todd Pletcher.

has already won at the Bongard distance at Belmont, and could get the perfect stalking trip behind Caribbean Cruiser and Carminooch. Freddy the Cap finished second in his debut to Carminooch and returned to win his maiden by a half-length over 12 rivals here on Sept. 12.

With the addition of blinkers, Accurate ran a big race in his second start to win his maiden by 3 3/4 lengths at Saratoga.

Up Like Thunder was bumped at the start the two times he ran, and raced greenly in his career debut, which he won by a nose at Saratoga.

Big Apple Daddy, the runner-up in the Aspirant and Breeders Futurity, was no match for Caribbean Cruiser in either race.