10/09/2001 11:00PM

Surface the question in battle of the sexes


Gender and surface are key issues Friday night at The Meadowlands, as One Eyed Joker and Summer Colony head of field of 12 in the $75,000 Rutgers Stakes at 1 3/8 miles on the turf.

Summer Colony, a 3-year-old filly trained by Mark Hennig and to be ridden by Eibar Coa, comes into the Rutgers off back-to-back smashing victories in first- and second-level allowance races at Belmont and Saratoga. But both wins were on the main track.

She won a 1 1/8-mile one-other-than at Saratoga by 9 1/2 lengths on Aug. 30, and then a two-other-than by 8 1/4 lengths at Belmont in her last start, on Sept. 23. She is 3 for 5 on dirt, but 0 for 2 on the turf.

Her main rival, One Eyed Joker, is a gelding, and at age 3 males often are more developed than females.

One Eyed Joker, trained by William Perry and to be ridden by Jose Velez Jr., won the World Appeal last year on The Meadowlands turf. He also has won three other turf races, including the $75,000 Choice Stakes at Monmouth this summer, for career earnings on grass of $179,250. Summer Colony's turf earnings of $10,920 pale by comparison.

Last time out, One-Eyed Joker was overmatched in the Grade 2 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Sept. 23 and finished fifth, beaten 13 3/4 lengths behind a top grass horse in Navesink.

The field he faces in the Rutgers is softer.

A few others have a shot to upset. Jeeves has two wins in four tries on the turf and is trained by New York invader Leo O'Brien.

Bicentennial, a New York-bred, won his maiden on turf at Aqueduct and has strong connections in New York-based jockey Jose Santos and trainer Christophe Clement.

Moomtazz won the Liberty Bell on turf at Philadelphia Park in July, and has another New York invader, Richard Migliore, in the saddle.