“Cruze is the King.” That was the call from announcer Ken Warkentin that echoed through The Meadowlands as JL Cruze powered to another compelling victory.
Tonight’s victory in the $59,800 Shiaway St Pat Final completed a winter trotting series sweep at The Meadowlands for the four-year-old son of Crazed. The victory was the eighth of the season for JL Cruze, bringing his 2015 earnings to $126,410.
Partnered with his stablemate Razor Ramone, JL Cruze was the 1-9 prohibitive favourite in the Shiaway St Pat Final. Taken off the gate just a bit by John Campbell, JL Cruze settled mid-pack early in the mile, while Opulent Yankee went to the lead and reached the first quarter in :28.2. The instant the trotters straightened up with the strong winds at their backs on the backstretch, JL Cruze launched his bid for the lead and quickly cleared the front before the half-mile of :56.3. From there, the race was over as JL Cruze sailed through three-quarters in 1:24.1 under no pressure and he was never asked in the stretch to score an authoritative win in 1:52.3.
According to trainer Eric Ell, JL Cruze will contest the final two legs of the Bobby Weiss Trotting Series at Pocono Downs before setting his sights on The Graduate Series for four-year-old open trotters.
JL Cruze is owned by Kenneth Wood, William Dittmar Jr. and Stephen Iaquinta.
In the $59,000 Clyde Hirt Final, Rockeyed Optimist was as advertised, winning decisively in 1:50.
Driven to victory by Tim Tetrick, Rockeyed Optimist sat third through the first quarter, which was reached in :27-seconds by his stablemate, Rock Out. As the field straightened away down the backstretch, Rockeyed Optimist made his move for the lead and cleared before the half-mile in :54.1. Around the far turn, he received a challenge from Caviart Luca, who reached the leader’s wheel through three-quarters of 1:22.2, but Rockeyed Optimist promptly dismissed that challenge and leveled off to win impressively again.
Rockeyed Optimist is eligible to the Graduate Series for trainer Steve Elliot and owners Anthony Perretti, Virginia Berkner, Joseph Battaglia and A And B Stable.
The driving star of the night was Scott Zeron, who won five races, including the $25,000 Dash For The “G” Notes Final with Grab Your Keys.
The Jackpot Super Hi-5 carryover in the fifth race grew to $64,065 as multiple winning tickets connected on that wager this evening. The carryover in the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 is now $29,735 with no winning tickets selecting the correct order of finish.
Racing resumes on Friday, April 4, with first post time at 7:15 p.m.
(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)