08/20/2009 12:00AM

Rachel, Bruce impact Meadowlands meet


Bruce Springsteen and Rachel Alexandra, superstars in their respective fields, will have an impact on the upcoming meet at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Blame it on the Boss for forcing the Meadowlands to run its first seven cards in the afternoon. Springsteen is playing a series of sold-out concerts at nearby Giants Stadium. To avoid conflicts, the Meadowlands will run matinees from Oct. 1-9 with a 1:10 p.m. first post.

That means the first stakes of the meet, the Grade 3, $125,000 Cliff Hanger on the turf Oct. 3, will be an afternoon contest.

The first night card will be Oct. 10, highlighted by the Grade 3, $125,000 Violet Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf.

At that point, the Meadowlands schedule will be: Monday and Tuesday afternoons and Thursday through Saturday nights. The meet concludes Dec. 5.

The Rachel Alexandra impact is felt in reduced stakes purses at the meet. The four Meadowlands graded stakes were cut a combined $150,000 with that money shifted into stakes at the current Monmouth Park meet. The Meadowlands reductions helped Monmouth boost the Haskell Invitational by $250,000 to $1.25 million to successfully lure Rachel Alexandra. The Big M cuts also helped establish the $200,000 Monmouth Stakes as a permanent prep for the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes.

As a result, the Cliff Hanger and the Violet were trimmed $25,000 each. The Meadowlands Cup and the Pegasus each took a $50,000 hit.

The Grade 2 Meadowlands Cup, the premier event of the meet which is set for Oct. 16, will be worth $300,000.

The Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes for 3-year-olds goes for $150,000 on Nov. 6.

All together, the Meadowlands will offer 15 stakes with 10 run on Fridays and five on Saturdays.