10/01/2005 12:00AM

New Yorkers invade for World Appeal


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - A wide-open field of 11 juveniles takes aim at the $50,000 World Appeal Stakes at The Meadowlands on Tuesday. Over half the field is trying turf for the first time, and only one horse, the likely favorite Last Best Place, has won on grass.

The World Appeal, at one mile and 70 yards, had initially been scheduled for opening night on Friday. The race did not fill then, but garnered a large field when rescheduled for Tuesday. First post on Tuesday is 1:10 p.m., and the World Appeal is carded as the eighth race.

New York trainers are ubiquitous at the Meadowlands meet, especially in stakes. On opening night, Todd Pletcher and George Weaver each won two races, and Stan Hough and Bobby Frankel each won a division of the Navajo Princess Stakes.

Tuesday's World Appeal is no different. Barclay Tagg, David Donk, and Weaver each send in sharp 2-year-olds from their Belmont barns.

Last Best Place, trained by Tagg, is the clear favorite. He showed little in his first start at six furlongs on the main track, but like many Tagg runners, appreciated the switch to grass two weeks later.

Equipped with blinkers for the first time, Last Best Place was much more focused than his prior start, stalking the pace in third, only one length back. He took the lead late to win by three-quarters of a length at 15-1, and earned an 85 Beyer Speed Figure in the process. Joe Bravo, coming off his 11th Monmouth riding title, picks up the mount.

Donk sends in Ernie Bogen, a gelded son of Southern Halo, only

10 days after his first start, a third-place finish in a Belmont maiden turf race at one mile in which he earned a 71 Beyer Figure. It is a promising sign that Donk, who usually takes his time with young horses, wheels the 2-year-old back in a stakes race on such short rest.

Both of Weaver's two opening-night wins were on the grass, and Out of Rock offers a good chance for his trainer to capture another victory here. Ramon Dominguez comes in to ride.

The second- and third-place finishers from the Continental Mile Stakes at Monmouth, First Class Guy and That Magic Moment, are both making their first turf starts.

- The main track was very quick on opening night, especially in the first part of the card, as horses raced over a new cushion for the first time. In five six-furlong sprints on the main track, the slowest final time was 1:09.40, and two races were clocked in under 1:09.

Skip Along Jet, a 2-year-old New Jersey-bred, ran the fastest time at the distance, going 1:08.62 in a maiden race and winning by nearly 10 lengths.