10/23/2005 11:00PM

Meadowlands: Soft-turf lover


The last time Hotstufandthensome raced on soft turf, he won the Elkhorn Stakes at Monmouth Park by four lengths. Racing over a similar surface for the Grade 3, $150,000 Cliff Hanger Handicap at The Meadowlands, Hotstufandthensome turned in an even more dominating performance.

Following instructions given to him by trainer Norman Pointer, jockey Rajiv Maragh kept Hotstufandthensome off the early pace and the 5-year-old responded when asked by drawing off to a 14 1/2-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.

"The grass was very soft, but he was handling it very well," Maragh said. "Norman told me that if I tucked in behind the speed he would relax, and that's what he did. He relaxed perfectly."

Icy Atlantic, the 2-1 favorite, was the distant runner-up behind Hotstufandthensome, who had been freshened since finishing sixth in the Fourstardave at Saratoga in August.

Pointer said he would consider running Hotstufandthensome next in the W.L. McKnight Handicap, a Grade 2, $200,000 turf race at 1 1/2 miles on Dec. 17 at Calder.

* Megascape ($3.60), ridden by Chris DeCarlo for trainer Steve Asmussen, scored a 2 1/4-length victory in the five-furlong P.G. Johnson for 3-year-olds.