Trainer Rick Dutrow bids for his third straight Meadowlands Cup trophy on Friday night as he sends out the entry of Anak Nakal and Great Debater in the Grade 2 event.

The $300,000 Meadowlands Cup has drawn a solid field of nine contenders, including recent upstart Etched, whose only loss in five career starts came in Dubai last February. The field also includes It’s A Bird, winner of the Oaklawn and Lone Star handicaps, and local favorite Kiss The Kid, who will make his last career start in the 1 1/8-mile race. The Nick Zito-trained Cool Coal Man, runner-up in two Grade 3 events this season, received the slight nod as 5-2 morning line favorite.

Dutrow won the 2007 Meadowlands Cup with Diamond Stripes and took home a second trophy last year with Arson Squad, who ended a seven-race losing streak in the race. Like Arson Squad, 4-year-old Anak Nakal will make his debut for Dutrow in the Meadowlands Cup. The son of Victory Gallop began his career with Nick Zito and reached top form last fall, winning the Pennsylvania Derby and rallying late to finish second behind Arson Squad in the Meadowlands Cup. He finished last in the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 28 before being freshened up and transferred to Dutrow’s barn.

“He certainly came to us in the right way and he’s training very good right now,” Dutrow said Thursday morning. “I know he is going to run good tomorrow night. He may need a race, but he is not training that way.”

With earnings of nearly $1 million and a string of bullet works at Aqueduct leading up to the race, Anak Nakal is Dutrow’s best shot at a Meadowlands Cup hat trick. His stablemate Great Debater will set the tempo the stone closer needs in the race.

“The only reason I entered him was to make sure the pace is real in the race,” Dutrow said.

After the Cup, the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs will be the next target for Anak Nakal.

“He went over that track well last year and that’s also why we decided on the Meadowlands,” Dutrow said. “He raced well in the Cup last year.”

Dutrow’s brother, Anthony, also has an entrant in the race, Solar Flare, winner of the Frisk Me Now Stakes and third in the Salvator Mile this summer at Monmouth Park. However, it is Etched, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, that Dutrow feels poses the biggest threat to his Meadowlands Cup three-peat

“I think Kiaran’s got the most live horse,” he said. “His horse, ours and Nick’s [Cool Coal Man] are the ones to beat.”

The field for the Meadowlands Cup, which is race eight on a 10-race program:

Race 8, $300,000, 3 yos & up, One And One Eighth Miles
HD, Pt, Horse, Jockey, Trainer, Wgt, Odds
1, 1, Anak Nakal, Edgar Prado, Rick Dutrow, Jr., 119, 6-1
1a, 8, Great Debater, Rudy Rodriguez, Rick Dutrow, Jr., 116, 6-1
2, 2, Cool Coal Man, John Velazquez, Nick Zito, 119, 5-2
3, 3, Kiss the Kid, Paco Lopez, Amy Tarrant, 119, 12-1
4, 4, Racketeer, David Cohen, Peter Levine, 119, 20-1
5, 5, Good and Lucky, Joe Bravo, Michael Matz, 119, 8-1
6, 6, It's a Bird, Julien Leparoux, Martin Wolfson, 123, 3-1
7, 7, Solar Flare, Ramon Dominguez, Anthony Dutrow, 119, 9-2
8, 9, Etched, Alan Garcia, Kiaran McLaughlin, 119, 7-2