11/08/2006 12:00AM

Slam Bammy on favorite track


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Slam Bammy gets another crack at his favorite track Friday night in the $69,000 Rutgers University Stakes going six furlongs at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

The 5-year-old gelding is 3-1-0 in 4 starts over the Big M strip, which plays host to harness racing most of the year.

“Nobody else likes it in the barn but him,” said trainer Joe Orseno. “The surface agrees with him. It does bring the best out of him. Maybe he’s really a trotter at heart.”

Slam Bammy turned in one of his best efforts last time out, winning the Big M’s Eillo Stakes at six furlongs while equaling his career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 100.

“He ran a tremendous race,” said Orseno. “He put in a great effort, and the track had just enough moisture to make it good and firm for him. He ran down Outcashem, who is very quick but probably doesn’t want to go too much more than five or five and a half furlongs. They went pretty quick and he made up the ground to catch them.”

Slam Bammy closed out last year’s campaign in the Rutgers with a second to the always-tough Joey P. Slam Bammy vacationed till opening weekend at Monmouth Park in May, when he won the Decathlon Stakes.

This will be a working winter for Slam Bammy, once the equine herpesvirus runs its course at Monmouth, allowing Slam Bammy and all the horses stabled there to ship out. Monmouth Park has been quarantined since Oct. 26 after four horses on the backstretch at the track tested positive for the disease.

“Last year we stopped on him,” said Orseno by phone from the sales at Keeneland. “I am bringing this horse to Gulfstream Park. We’ll freshen him up before that meet starts, and hopefully I’ll pick out some good spots for him.”

Who’s the Cowboy will be the horse to beat in the Rutgers. A 4-year-old New Jersey-bred gelding, he has already won four stakes this year, including wins in open company in the Teddy Drone and Icecapade stakes at Monmouth.

Most recently, Who’s the Cowboy rallied to be fourth in the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont Park, won by Henny Hughes. Who’s the Cowboy beat only one horse in the five-horse field but that one rival was a notable – 2005 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Silver Train.

Completing the Rutgers field are Grade 1 winner Valid Video, John’s Pic, Dancer Prancer, Man of Danger, and Pushed.

The Seton Hall University Stakes for 3-year-old filly sprinters was scheduled for Friday but did not fill and has been rescheduled for Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Meadowlands has instituted two late-meet purse increases.

With the Meadowlands able to card only seven or eight races on some days, there is allocated purse money left to spend. The track announced a $5,000 per race increase on Nov. 1. An additional $4,000 per race increase was added for the final three nights of the meet, which concludes Saturday.

As a result, the $5,000 filly and mare claimers who have never won two races in race 1 Friday are running for a $20,000 purse.