10/16/2001 11:00PM

Five $75k stakes on supporting card


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Five $75,000 stakes Friday will help build the drama to the $250,000 Pegasus Handicap at The Meadowlands.

The Skip Trial Stakes, for older sprinters, drew several runners weighing options on both sides of the Hudson River, including top New York-bred Say Florida Sandy.

After winning the Paterson Handicap at The Meadowlands Sept. 7, Say Florida Sandy finished fourth in the Vosburgh at Belmont. He is bidding to become the highest-earning New York-bred in history, and his owner, John Rotella, and trainer, Juan Serey, will be monitoring the weather and the competition for both the Skip Trial and the Sport Page Handicap, scheduled for Oct. 27 at Belmont. Run Kush Run also is entered in the Skip Trial, coupled in the wagering with Say Florida Sandy.

Istintaj will try a comeback in the six-furlong Skip Trial. He won both the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector and the Grade 3 Deputy Minister at Gulfstream Park last winter. Istintaj last ran seventh behind Say Florida Sandy in the True North Handicap at Belmont June 9 and worked a bullet Oct. 3 at Belmont for his return.

Trainer Ben Perkins Jr., who will run Delaware Township in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, supplemented Max's Pal to the Skip Trial. Max's Pal will be trying to break a two-race losing streak.

Oro de Mexico, Fetch Dinner, Loaded Gun, San Nicolas, and Normandy Beach are the five runners in the field of 10 who are not nominated to the Sport Page.

* In the Broad Brush, graded stakes winner Rize can snap a losing streak in his first trip over The Meadowlands dirt since finishing ninth in the 2000 Meadowlands Cup. Among other contenders are Runspastum, a top Mid-Atlantic colt for trainer Alan Goldberg, and mid-western shipper Winning Connection, fresh off a win at Hoosier Park.

* In the Navajo Princess, Cousin Gigi will try to duplicate her surprising front-running performance in the Eatontown Handicap. Shebane will make her first start on the East Coast for trainer Bertrand de Brevedant, an assistant to trainer Christophe Clement before going out on his own earlier this year. Clement starts Chez Cherie under Jose Santos.

* Rudirudi tries for his second straight wire-to-wire victory over The Meadowlands grass course in the John Henry Stakes. Strategic Mission, a disappointment in the Cliff Hanger Handicap for trainer Bill Mott, looks for redemption under Jerry Bailey as likely favorite.

* Many of the 3-year-old fillies who ran in the Just Smashing Stakes in September will be back in the Miss Liberty Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. Among them are The Goddess Athird, Plunderthepeasants, and Silver Tornado. Mark Hennig will send L'Emeraude to her first U.S. start after three wins in Europe from seven starts. Marq of Beauty will look for her first win since the Captive Miss at Monmouth this summer.