JL Cruze Wins 2016 Debut


World champion JL Cruze, the 2015 Aged Trotting Horse of the Year in the U.S., won his 2016 debut with ease Friday night (April 1), taking the $25,000 featured Open Handicap at The Meadowlands.

The winner of 16 of 21 starts a year ago (with earnings of over $600,000) was away slowly and did not vacate the rail until the three-eighths mile marker, when he slipped into a second-over flow. Hall of Fame driver John Campbell then rolled the son of Crazed off cover in mid-stretch and easily trotted past six over-matched rivals to score by two lengths in 1:53.

As the 3-5 public choice, JL Cruze, the only trotter in history to break the 1:50 barrier at the Big M (1:49.4), paid $3.20 to win. Waiting On A Woman, the early pacesetter, held on for second. Cash Me Out was third.

JL Cruze will return on short rest as he’s slated to race next in an Open/Preferred Handicap at Dover Downs on Wednesday.

Betting was fast and furious on the card, as a total of $3,360,706 was wagered on the 12-race program, $759,007 more than the corresponding card last year. The average total wager per race was $280,059.

Betting was especially impressive on the card’s amateur events, where a little more than $627,000 was pushed through the windows on the two races.

One lucky bettor hit the fifth race Jackpot Super High Five for $20,354.78 for a 20-cent wager while the 12th race Jackpot Super High Five was again not hit, lifting the carryover for tomorrow night to $159,945.73.

Racing resumes at the Meadowlands Saturday, first post is 7:15 p.m.

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)

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