11/25/2009 1:00AM

Encaustic brings consistency to Big M


Trainer Mark Shuman has done an excellent job this season spotting Encaustic in races where the 5-year-old can shine.

Encaustic has earned more than $250,000 this year, with the high point his latest effort: a three-length victory in the $125,000 Mountaineer Mile earlier this month.

Shuman has selected another solid spot for Encaustic on Friday night, the $65,000 Alysheba Stakes at the Meadowlands.

The Alysheba is the final stakes of the meet, which concludes Dec. 5.

Encaustic landed the outside post in the nine-horse field going 1 1/16 miles, with Channing Hill set to ride.

Encaustic owns the most consistent Beyer Speed Figures in the field, earning 90 or better in each of his last five races.

This will be Encaustic's third visit to New Jersey this year. He ran second in a fourth-level allowance race and missed by a half-length in the Formal Gold Stakes, both at Monmouth Park. This will be his Meadowlands debut.

At the Disco, in contrast, is a veteran at the Big M, with 2 wins and 1 third in 6 tries.

A 5-year-old stablemate of Breeders' Cup Turf runner-up Presious Passion, At the Disco comes off the grass in this spot. At the Disco finished sixth most recently at the Meadowlands in the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Stakes on a yielding course with Joe Bravo aboard.

"I think it was too soft for him," trainer Mary Hartmann said. "Like Presious Passion, he's another that does not do well on yielding turf. Bravo said he was running easy, but it was taking a toll on him. It was too heavy."

Hartmann is tossing that effort, expecting better things Friday with Daniel Centeno aboard.

"He's ready to run," she said. "He likes the Meadowlands, and he doesn't mind if it rains. He's run well up there on an off track."

At the Disco was an off-the-turf winner of the Lincroft Handicap for New Jersey-breds at Monmouth.

Darley Stable entered a pair of geldings as a coupled entry: Ea and National Pride.

Ea, trained by Tom Albertrani, got up by a neck most recently in a second-level allowance at Belmont Park.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin sends out National Pride equipped with blinkers for the first time after the 4-year-old broke poorly last time out and was never a factor in the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland.