09/30/2003 12:00AM

Dynever, with Prado up, will take on Volponi

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Dynever has joined the lineup for the Grade 2, $400,000 Meadowlands Cup.

Entries were scheduled to be drawn Wednesday for the showcase event of the meet, slated for Friday night.

Dynever enters a field that includes Breeders' Cup Classic winner Volponi, Bowman's Band, Jersey Giant, and Regal Sanction. Northern Rock and Saarland were still possibilities on Tuesday.

Trainer Christophe Clement decided to aim Dynever for the Meadowlands Cup after the 3-year-old colt turned in a strong drill Saturday morning. He went five furlongs in 1:00.30 at Belmont Park, the third-fastest of 50 workouts at the distance.

"It was a very good workout, and he came out of it fine," Clement said. "He's definitely going to the Meadowlands Cup."

Clement has his fingers crossed for a fast track. Dynever's poorest efforts came on sloppy tracks in the Belmont Stakes and the Pennsylvania Derby. On fast tracks, Dynever captured the Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream Park and the Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park and ran second in the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park.

"He had two below-par efforts on wet tracks," Clement said. "Fortunately, the forecast for Friday is good."

Dynever gets a new rider for the first time because Edgar Prado, who has been aboard for all seven of the colt's races, is not available. Corey Nakatani picks up the mount on a horse who could be headed for the Breeders' Cup if he puts in a strong effort.

"We are taking it one race at a time," Clement said. "If he runs well, we have to get ambitious."

Hall of Fame trainer Phil Johnson has a return to the Breeders' Cup mapped out for Volponi and has charted the same course as last year. Volponi ran second to Burning Roma in last year's Meadowlands Cup as the final prep before Volponi's upset win in the Classic at 43-1.

Volponi has gone winless in six starts this year (with five seconds), and Johnson will try to change his luck by removing the blinkers after four straight starts with the hood.

"It's night racing here, and full vision is required," Johnson said of the decision.

He has had great success with changing Volponi's equipment in the past. Johnson added blinkers for last year's run in the Classic.

Volponi had his final Meadowlands Cup drill Tuesday morning at Belmont, going a half-mile in 49.40 seconds.

John Velazquez will have a busy day. He rides Friday afternoon at Keeneland before hopping on a private plane to retain the mount on Volponi.

- additional reporting by David Grening