10/01/2002 11:00PM

Eltawaasul shows up for $50,000 Manila


Three $50,000 stakes, the Manila, Princeton, and Salem County, support the $400,000 Meadowlands Cup on a 10-race card on Friday evening.

A fourth stakes, the $50,000 Seton Hall, failed to draw enough entries and was scrapped.

The most interesting undercard stakes is the Manila, a 1 3/8-mile grass race for 3-year-olds and up. The Manila, which drew 12 runners, plus one main-track only, K.O.'s Crypto, will be run as the ninth race, following The Meadowlands Cup.

Eltawaasul, last year's Manila winner, has been entered by trainer Pat Reynolds.

On Wednesday afternoon at Belmont Park, Reynolds said he probably would cross-enter Eltawaasul, a former claimer, in a 1 1/4-mile money allowance race in New York on Saturday.

"We'll take a look at both races," Reynolds. "Of course, you would like to run where you're stabled and don't have to ship. But with rain in the forecast early on Saturday, I'm not crazy about running him over a chewed-up course here. He won the race last year at The Meadowlands and seemed to like the track."

Eltawaasul, owned by Christopher Connors, has only won one race since capturing the Manila and that was an allowance event at Belmont in June.

In that race, Eltawaasul beat Whitmore's Conn, who returned to win the Grade 2 Bowling Green.

If he starts, Eltawaasul is the likely pacesetter. John Velazquez rides from post 4.

Craigsteel is probably the class of the field, but he has run only six times in the past two years. In his last race, he won a division of the Cape Henlopen Stakes at Delaware Park on July 21. Trained by Christophe Clement, Craigsteel finished third behind Eltawaasul in a June allowance race.

Stokosky, trained by Bill Mott, has run some good races this year, including a second in a July allowance race behind I'm All Yours, who won the restricted Ashley T. Cole Stakes at Belmont last month.

Trainer Gary Sciacca sends out two capable runners, Good Boy Sam and Perfect Stranger, who are coupled in the wagering. Good Boy Sam finds an easier spot after his fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Belmont Breeders' Cup. Perfect Stranger, seventh in the same division of the Cape Henlopen won by Craigsteel, won a third-level allowance at Saratoga in August.