Alumni Hall figures to be ready for one of the toughest challenges of his racing career Friday night, when he takes on eight rivals under 121 pounds of high weight in the $500,000 Meadowlands Breeders' Cup (gr. I).On his side is his affinity for a mile and an eighth, and his connections are hoping that his liking for that distance comes shining through once again. From 17 lifetime starts, Alumni Hall has won eight races, six of them at the Cup's nine-furlong distance, including the Ben Ali (gr. III) and Maxaam Gold Cup earlier this year. He goes into the race off a 7 1/4-length score at Saratoga at that nine-furlong distance.Tap Day also will be looking for his third stakes win of the year. He captured the Frisk Me Now and Budweiser Challenger Stakes in the spring and ran third in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup behind winner Suave and Royal Assault in his last start. He won twice at Meadowlands last year, his scores including the Princeton.Prior to the Saratoga Breeders' Cup, Royal Assault got up late to win the R.R.M. Carpenter Jr. Memorial as the favorite. He's looking for his third win of the year.Purge, a two-time grade II winner in New York last year, comes into the race off a third in the Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup (gr. III). Before that, he scored by 12 lengths at Monmouth.Unforgettable Max, third in the 2003 running of the Meadowlands Breeders' Cup and fourth last year, is back. He won an allowance at Monmouth in June and was fourth in the Charles H. Hadry at Laurel in his last start.The Meadowlands Breeders' Cup will be Request for Parole's first start on dirt since the fall of 2003. The sole millionaire in the race, Request for Parole won the 2004 United Nations (gr. IT) in his last triumph.The remainder of the field--Ice Wynnd Fire, Itsawonderfulife, and Zoffinger--will be looking for their first career stakes win. Ice Wynnd Fire won at Saratoga in his last two starts while setting the pace. Suffolk Downs invader Itsawonderfulife won last time out, and Zoffinger ran second in the Philip H. Iselin in his last start.Meadowlands Breeders' Cup (gr. II) Post Time: 10:17 PM Race 8 Post Horse Weight Jockey 1 Itsawonderfulife 119 Rafael Medina, Jr. 2 Purge 119 John R. Velazquez 3 Tap Day 119 Eibar Coa 4 Unforgettable Max 119 Christopher P. DeCarlo 5 Alumni Hall 121 Robby Albarado 6 Request for Parole 119 Joe Bravo 7 Ice Wynnd Fire 119 Jerry D. Bailey 8 Royal Assault 119 Channing Hill 9 Zoffinger 119 Edwin L. King, Jr.
A $3.4-million stakes schedule, highlighted by the $500,000 Meadowlands Breeders&#8217; Cup (gr. II) on Oct. 5, will be offered during Meadowlands&#8217; 41-date Thoroughbred meet that begins Sept. 3.