10/28/2004 12:00AM

Marathon wagering day ends with trio of stakes


Horseplayers looking for some exercise might want to try the "Meadowlands Marathon" on Saturday.

The action starts at 10 a.m., when gates open for simulcast wagering on the Breeders' Cup races from Lone Star, as well as 22 other Thoroughbred and harness tracks. At 7:30 p.m., a full card of live racing gets under way, highlighted by a trio of stakes and the annual Grey Ghost Starter Handicap.

The Witches' Brew and the Storm Cat Stakes headline the live card, along with the Accordant Handicap, which is restricted to New Jersey-breds. Each race carries a purse of $60,000.

A short field was assembled for the Witches' Brew, for fillies and mares going five furlongs on the turf, but it's still a tough race to plot. Tight Spin rides a two-race win streak, including a narrow victory over even-money favorite Melody of Colors in the Incredible Revenge Stakes in their last meeting, and those two will likely vie for favoritism. Melody of Colors figures to rebound, however, as she makes her third start after a layoff.

The Storm Cat, run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, drew a diverse group of 2-year-olds. , a winner of two straight, including a front-running score in Delaware Park's Dover Stakes in his latest, is the horse to catch and beat, and will be a short price for trainer Todd Pletcher.

, game winner of the World Appeal Stakes on the turf in his latest, could be the main threat.

The most competitive of the night's stakes races is, not surprisingly, the race restricted to statebreds. Upturn comes off a pair of wins and will be the favorite in the Accordant, but several runners are capable of beating him. One of them is Mighty Oak, who won this race last year. He tired in the Bill Wheeler Stakes when sent long in his latest, but he should appreciate the return to sprinting, as he has won 4 of 9 tries at this six-furlong distance.

The field for the popular Grey Ghost Starter Handicap, restricted to gray and roan horses, is led by He Flies, who captured last year's edition of the race. He has finished off the board in his last two starts, but his Beyers fit well and he has been facing better.

Homecooking Ruby, who finished second in the 2003 Grey Ghost, is back again this year, still looking for his first win since 2002. The Grey Ghost is run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.