Updated on 09/15/2011 2:22PM

Deputy Strike goes shorter


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The 1 1/16-mile distance of Saturday's $100,000 Rushing Man Stakes at The Meadowlands should be the key factor in the turf race for 3-year-olds.

Deputy Strike, trained by Gary Contessa, won the Rutgers Stakes here Oct. 12, and faces several of his rivals from that race in the Rushing Man, including favorites Moomtaz and One Eyed Joker, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

The Rutgers was run at 1 3/8 miles around three turns, and the distance gave Deputy Strike's rider, Norberto Arroyo, a chance to recover after he nearly fell off after losing an iron early in the race. There were four horses separated by about a half-length at the wire of the Rutgers. In the Rushing Man there is less margin for error because of the shorter distance.

Other contenders in the Rushing Man are First Spear, for trainer Todd Pletcher, and the turf sprinter Rock, who is coming off a third in the five-furlong Matt Scudder Stakes here Oct. 13.

Reluctant Groom tries to get back in gear in the Rushing Man, his first race outside New York. A New York-bred, Reluctant Groom finished last against in the Jamaica Handicap at Belmont in September and then sixth in the Mohawk Handicap for statebreds last time.

Holly attracts eight

Despite a lack of a standout and a $100,000 purse, only eight 2-year-old fillies will line up for the Holly Stakes at six furlongs Saturday.

Al Max Diner has spent her campaign in the shadow of fellow Ben Perkins Jr. trainee Forest Heiress after a sparkling debut at Monmouth Park this summer. Al Max Diner ran second at 3-5 in an Oct. 5 allowance race here. Phyxius, who beat Al Max Diner in that race, also returns in the Holly. Trained by Richard Small, she ran third in the Toddler and Critical Miss Stakes at Pimlico.

Prom Stakes runner-up Forum Search, trained by Mark Casse, won a maiden race at Woodbine.

* The Meadowlands will simulcast the $4 million (Aus.) Melbourne Cup from Australia Monday night as part of a program from Flemington Racecourse. First post at Flemington is 6:30 p.m.

* The nightly recap show "Racing From the Meadowlands" will be shown one hour earlier on Fox Sports New York starting with Tuesday's show. The weeknight show will start at 11 p.m. and the Saturday show begins at midnight.

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