10/03/2008 12:00AM

Da' Tara skipping Meadowlands Cup


ELMONT, N.Y. - Belmont Stakes winner Da' Tara will scratch out of Friday night's Grade 2, $350,000 Meadowlands Cup and instead will run in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Jerome Handicap at Belmont Park, trainer Nick Zito said Friday morning.

Zito said he didn't like the fact that there was so much speed in the Meadowlands Cup and that Da' Tara figured to be part of a hot early pace. Also, the Jerome affords Da' Tara the opportunity to run against only 3-year-olds one more time.

"Da' Tara would have to mix it up with Timber Reserve and [Past the Point]," said Zito, who still planned to run Pennsylvania Derby winner Anak Nakal in the Meadowlands Cup. "There a couple of solid older horses in there."

Since winning the Belmont in gate-to-wire fashion, Da' Tara finished seventh in the Jim Dandy and fifth in the Travers.

Zito acknowledged that the Jerome "is not going to be easy" and he is probably right. The race is expected to attract fellow Grade 1 winners Visionaire and Tale of Ekati as well as the Grade 3 winner Harlem Rocker. Zito also is planning to run Fountain of Youth winner Cool Coal Man in the Jerome, which is run at a one-turn mile. Others expected to run in the Jerome are You and I Forever and Z Humor.