Vision and Verse Favored in Contentious Meadowlands Cup

Vision and Verse was installed Thursday as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday night's $400,000 Meadowlands Cup Handicap (gr. II). 10 horses are entered for the 1 1/8-mile Meadowlands feature, including Leave It to Beezer, the starting highweight at 117 pounds.

Vision and Verse, who has made only two starts this year, drew post six for the Meadowlands Cup.

"He was nominated for the Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. III) and the Fayette Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland," said trainer Bill Mott, whose horse is stabled at nearby Belmont Park. "We're sitting here right now and hoping the weather holds out and we get a good fast race track."

In his two starts this year, Vision and Verse won an allowance race at Churchill Downs on May 4 and finished fourth in the Massachusetts Handicap (gr. II) in June. A leg injury has sidelined him for most of the year.

The two starts are quite different than a year ago when Vision and Verse won 3 of 11 starts, earning $817,860. The colt won the Illinois Derby (gr. II) and finished second in both the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I).

Vision and Verse went off as the favorite in last year's Meadowlands Cup and finished third. Made the 3-1 choice for this year's renewal, Vision and Verse will carry 114 pounds, including jockey Jerry Bailey.

Leave It To Beezer, a 7-year-old geldiing who has won six of his last seven starts, was made the 4-1 second choice after drawing the outside post.

"He has been like a dream come true," said Leave It to Beezer's trainer Scott Lake. "We are not really happy about getting the 10 post, but he has overcome everything he had had to do this year."

Leave It to Beezer won five consecutive races earlier this year -- including two grade III stakes -- before finishing second in the $75,000 Walter Haight Handicap. In his next race following the loss, he returned to the winner's circle following a 3 3/4-length triumph in a $75,000 restricted stakes race at Delaware Park.

The field for the Meadowlands Cup will consist of:

1--Where's Taylor, Corey Lanerie, 113, 10-1
2--Rize, Jose C. Ferrer, 114, 5-1
3--Talk's Cheap, Mike Luzzi, 112, 6-1
4--With Anticipation, Brent Bartram, 112, 12-1
5--Valhol, Ricky Lee Frazier, 112, 8-1
6--Vision and Verse, Jerry Bailey, 114, 3-1
7--Dancin Rahy, Ramon Dominguez, 112, 20-1
8--Lord Sterling, Jose Valdivia Jr., 112, 15-1
9--North East Bound, Jose Velez Jr., 116, 6-1
10--Leave It to Beezer, Roberto Alvarado Jr., 117, 4-1