05/13/2002 12:00AM

Who's going from here to Brooklyn?


ELMONT, N.Y. - A pair of intriguing allowance races for older horses that could yield a starter or two for the Brooklyn Handicap on June 15 highlight Wednesday's nine-race card at Belmont Park.

The fifth race, a nine-furlong classified allowance race, drew a field of six, topped by Gander, the New York-bred gelding who won the Meadowlands Cup last fall. He will meet 2000 Lafayette Stakes winner Griffinite, who wheels back just a week after finishing sixth in the Westchester Handicap on opening day.

The eighth race, a third-level allowance event run at 1 1/16 miles features This Fleet is Due, Snake Mountain, and It's So Simple among its seven entrants.

Gander had plenty of excuses when beaten a nose at 3-5 by Mount Intrepid in the Kings Point, restricted to New York breds, over a sloppy Aqueduct track. Gander was leaning backwards when the gates opened and reared at the start. He slipped in the stretch, and was spotting the winner 10 pounds. Also, according to trainer John Terranova, Gander became a bit unsettled after vanning to Aqueduct from Belmont.

"He was good enough to win it, he just fell short," Terranova said. "He really came out of it well, that's why we decided to put him back in."

Gander, who has four of his 10 career wins at Belmont, confirmed his fondness for the track with a five-furlong move in 59.40 seconds here on Friday. Terranova is taking the blinkers off Gander, a move that resulted in an allowance victory here last spring.

Gander could be the main speed of the race, unless Jose Espinoza sends Justification from the gate. Justification comes off a tough loss by a head to Judge's Case in a high-priced claimer on May 1.

In the eighth, trainer Bill Mott is hoping a return to Belmont Park will enable This Fleet is Due to clear the ``"three-other-than" allowance condition. This Fleet Is Due won twice over this track last spring, and ran fourth in the Haskell, beaten only 1 1/4 lengths by Point Given. He popped a splint bone in that race and was sidelined the remainder of the year.

He suffered narrow losses in a pair of allowance races at Gulfstream this winter before finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Oaklawn Park Handicap.

Snake Mountain, who is 3 for 3 since coming to this country and trainer Jimmy Jerkens, may be the horse to beat. Snake Mountain overcame a wide trip to win an allowance race at Aqueduct on April 6.

for Belmont Park entries.

Subscribers: to purchase past performances for Belmont Park.

Non-subscribers: to purchase past performances for Belmont Park.