11/13/2008 12:00AM

Rolled Up tries route on getaway day

Email

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Thoroughbred meet at the Meadowlands Racetrack concludes Saturday night with one of the strongest cards of the 41-day run.

The 10-race card that gets under way at 7 p.m. includes five allowance-optional claiming races.

The features are a pair of $51,000 split divisions of the second-level allowance condition for New Jersey-breds with the option to run for a $25,000 claiming tag at one mile and 70 yards.

In the first division, race 7, Rolled Up slides in via the claiming option.

The 5-year-old gelding, trained by Joe Orseno, loves the Meadowlands, with a record there of 3-0-1 in 5 main-track starts, including a victory last fall in the Castle Guard Handicap for statebreds.

Rolled Up has the outside post in the nine-horse field and will be stretching out to a route after four straight sprints.

"He's doing really well," Orseno said. "We feel that he needs to stretch out. That track plays against him a little bit too much where speed gets away from him in sprints. I like the outside because he can dictate what he wants to do and not be pressured."

The tactical decisions will rest with regular rider Daniel Centeno.

The promising Dabnabit is a top contender in the second division, race 9. The 3-year-old trained by Luis Carvajal Jr. has won his last two starts but will venture beyond six furlongs for the first time.

The colt makes only his fourth start. He launched his career at Monmouth in August with a fourth-place finish. The big colt, 17 hands tall, was given time to grow into himself.

"I always thought he would be better off going long," Carvajal said. "He did well going short and he's just starting to get the hang of it. This was the race we were looking for, and it fell right into my calendar."

Pedro Cotto Jr. rides as usual.

Florida-bound Orseno mending well

With the Meadowlands season done, Orseno can't wait to head south next week to Florida. "The cold weather kind of bothers me," he said. "It goes right through me."

Orseno, 53, is getting back into full swing following triple-bypass surgery in late September. The warmer weather will help the recuperation.

"I'm much better - I'm feeling fine," he said. "When it's 80 degrees in south Florida, I'll be okay."

Orseno counts himself among the lucky. He sought medical attention for what he thought was a pulled muscle in his right shoulder.

"It was nowhere near my heart," Orseno said. "They found it through blood work. When I walked into the hospital, I told them I was on my way to the horse sales and you got to get me out of here."

He never got to Kentucky, immediately undergoing surgery to clear three blockages.

"I walked in there thinking I was healthy," Orseno said. "When I walked out, I really was healthy."

Orseno is best known for victories with Red Bullet in the Preakness, Macho Uno in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and Perfect Sting in the BC Filly and Mare Turf for owner Frank Stronach.

Owner, trainer, jockey races all close

Election Day has passed, but three races are still too close to call in New Jersey: the battles for leading jockey, trainer, and owner at the Meadowlands. All three could go right down to the wire.

Heading into the final three nights, starting Thursday, Jose Lezcano had the biggest cushion in the fight for leading rider.

Lezcano, the champion here in 2006, held a six-win margin, 46-40, over veteran Chuckie Lopez, the leader in 1979 and 2003.

A Big M title would cap a breakout year for Lezcano who won his first Monmouth Park title and captured his first Breeders' Cup win, aboard Maram in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

The margin is only two in the races for top trainer and owner. Eddie Broome is in the hunt for both. He leads Repole Stable, 9-7, in the owner standings, while two-time Big M winner Jason Servis has a 17-15 lead over Broome, a four-time champ, for top trainer.