The Super Bowl, which marks the traditional start of the winter late closer program at The Meadowlands saw its first round contested at The Meadowlands on Thursday night. It featured four divisions, each worth $12,500.
The first division featured an overwhelming favourite in the form of JL Cruze. Sent off as the 2-5, prohibitive choice, JL Cruze settled into third position behind a pair of longshots who set the tempo to the tune of a :28.1 first quarter and a :57-second half-mile. It was at that point that John Campbell decided to make his move for the lead as he guided JL Cruze off the pylons and asked his gelding for speed. JL Cruze responded and quickly asserted command as he trotted past three-quarters in 1:27, before powering away through a :27.2 final quarter to complete the mile in a sharp 1:54.2, winning by five lengths on a bitterly cold evening at The Meadowlands. MMs Roanie was second, with Charleston Springs third.
The winner is trained by Eric Ell for W Kenneth Wood, J. Dittmar, Jr. and S J Iaquinta.
The second division also featured a short-priced favourite. In fact, Propulsion was sent off as the 1-9 choice and did not disappoint. The speed came in the form of longshot Always Quick Star who set the pace through fractions of :28 and :57.4, with Northern Secret riding the pocket trip. Propulsion situated himself second over through three-quarter of 1:26.3, while Jewels In Hock, who was leading the outer flow took the lead turning for home. As the field straightened up, Jewels In Hock broke on the lead and Propulsion inherited the lead and quickly pulled away to score in 1:54.4 for Tim Tetrick. Teach Me To Bucky was second and Northern Secret checked in third.
Propulsion is trained by Tony Alagna for Brittany Farms, Katz, Libfeld, Sbrocco and Little E LLC.
Jeff Gural made a trip to the winners circle after the second division of the Super Bowl as one of the co-owners of Propulsion, he returned quickly after the third division with Opulent Yankee.
Sent off as the 2-5 favourite, Opulent Yankee was allowed to settle into third position as longshot Mass Appeal dictated the terms through an opening quarter of :28.2 and a half-mile of :57.2, before conceding the lead to pocket-pulling second choice Annapolis, who led the field around the far turn before being pounced on by a tracking Opulent Yankee, who loomed up and powered past Annapolis to draw clear and win impressively in 1:55, completing the final quarter in just :27.3. Annapolis held on to the runner-up spot with Windsun Cobra third.
The final Super Bowl division was the most wide-open division on paper.
Blocking The Way was sent off as the 2-1 favourite at post time and took no prisoners as he led every step of the way to score in 1:54.1. Allowed to settle on the lead early in the mile, Andy Miller established the early pace through fractions of :28.1, :56.2 and 1:25.3 without seeing much of a challenge. Bad I Am committed first over, but was only able to get up to Blocking The Way’s wheel as the field turned for home. Dress For Success, who was tracking the cover of Bad I Am accelerated in the stretch and was charging late after the winner, but came up just a head short while finishing second. Bad I Am saved the show.
Blocking the way is trained by Julie Miller for The Lindy Farms of Connecticut.
The second round of the Super Bowl series will take place next Thursday, January 15th.
Both Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers went unclaimed with multiple tickets winning. The fifth race carryover now stands at $12,446, with the last race carryover at $31,182. Racing returns at The Meadowlands on Friday Night, featuring the first round of the Worldly Beauty Series. Post time is 7:15 pm.
To view results for Thursday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Thursday Results – Meadowlands Racetrack.