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Tetrick Doubles Up In Series Finals

Published: January 24, 2015 9:55 pm ET

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Three series finals made up the 'Winter Series Spectacular' at The Meadowlands on Saturday night. The Super Bowl, Worldly Beauty, and last but not least, the Escort Final with a purse of $56,000 appeared the most competitive of the three series finals on paper.

Coming into the Escort Final, Tim Tetrick had what appeared to be a difficult decision to make between Khan Blue Chip, a Linda Toscano trainee, and Company Man, conditioned by Virgil Morgan Jr. Tetrick decided to sit behind Company Man and it was proven that he chose wisely.

Sent off as the 2-1 second choice, Tetrick allowed Company Man to sit third, just off the speed of Khan Blue Chip through a rather soft opening quarter of :28.1. Sensing the light tempo, Tetrick pulled his gelding as they straightened up in the backstretch and made a strong bid for the lead.

Company Man hit the half-mile in :56 and three-quarters in 1:23.3, before getting separation on the field and opening up a three-length lead turning for home. His main rival, Major Uptrend, was stacked up third over finding himself with five lengths to make up at the top of the stretch.

Driven by Corey Callahan, Major Uptrend lengthened his stride late, along with a game JK Patriot, and that pair began to close in on Company Man. But Tetrick saved just enough for the final strides and Company Man held on for the score in 1:51.4. Major Uptrend was second and JK Patriot third.

Tetrick noted that his horse has the potential to move up the class ladder in the coming months. "He's tough enough," said Tetrick, "he can carry his speed for a long time and he's tough enough and that makes for a good racehorse."

Up next for Company Man will be the Sonsam Series, which gets underway on Saturday, February 7. The top five finishers from the Escort are all eligible to the Sonsam.

Company Man, a four-year-old American Ideal gelding who also won the Valedictory Series Final at Woodbine Racetrack on Dec. 26, is owned by Daniel Mitchell.

Tetrick was far from done as he had a major contender, Witch Dali, in the the second winter series final contested, which was the $47,600 Worldly Beauty for three and four-year-old filly and mare pacers.

Donttellruss was sent off as the 4-5 favourite off her pocket-rocket win over Witch Dali in round two of the series. Tonight, Callahan was intent on the lead, parking out all challengers, especially the first over Just Fine.

Donttellruss established a hot-pace of :27, :54 and 1:22.3 before turning for home with the lead, with Empress Deo looming off cover and Witch Dali situated third over as the field entered the stretch.

Callahan called on Donttellruss for everything she had, but Tetrick showed his mare, Witch Dali, some racetrack and she responded, carving into the margin with each and every stride. Nearing the wire, Witch Dali wore down a gritty Donttellruss to win the Worldly Beauty in 1:52.2. Donttellruss saved the runner-up spot with Empress Deo third.

The win marked the sixth in seven starts since returning from the layoff for Witch Dali and it also made for the second winter series win for the four-year-old daughter of Dali. She also won the Niagara Series Final at Woodbine on Boxing Day.

Trainer Tony Alagna said he was "licking his chops watching his mare tracking the leaders from third over with the hot fractions up front." Alagna also made reference to a foot issue that kept his mare on the sidelines for one year saying, "we waited on her, but she has come back great and she was super tonight."

The Ontario-bred mare was driven by Tetrick for Alagna Racing and Milton, Ontario's Bradley Grant.

The top three finishers are all bound for the Burning Point Series, which gets underway on Friday, February 6.

The Super Bowl looked like a four-horse race on paper and on the heels of a defeat in round two of the trotting series as a 3-5 favourite, JL Cruze turned the tables once again on Opulent Yankee when the big money was down, winning the $50,000 Final with John Campbell.

Sent off as the 2-1 third choice, JL Cruze left for position and was seemingly moving up to challenge the early lead, but was promptly looped by a three-wide Two Hip Dip going past the opening quarter of :28.4.

JL Cruze was hung out on the rim, grinding it first over through a strong :27.2 second quarter. Campbell asked his gelding for speed at this point and JL Cruze responded and took over the lead from Two Hip Dip moving into the far turn.

Opulent Yankee was tracking the leaders from third and he elected to remain on the pylons as his entry-mates, Blocking The Way and Propulsion, moved to the outside. However, Two Hip Dip got aggressive and pulled from the pocket just before the three-quarter pole to challenge JL Cruze, which enabled Opulent Yankee to advance along the pylons as Two Hip Dip flattened out in the stretch.

Turning for home off three-quarters in 1:25, JL Cruze accelerated away from the field, with the three-horse entry chasing him home as Two Hip Dip faded. But no one was catching JL Cruze, who streaked under the wire a powerful Super Bowl champion in 1:54.4. Opulent Yankee was second with Blocking The Way third.

JL Cruze was driven to victory by Campbell for trainer Eric Ell, who mentioned in a post-race interview that his gelding "was battling a bit of an illness the week before and was not 100 per cent, but he had a great week this week and showed up with his best effort tonight."

The four-year-old Crazed gelding is owned by Kenneth Wood, William Dittmar Jr. and Stephen Iaquinta.

The Super Bowl Final was part of a Pick 5 sequence that sported a $22,616 carryover, resulting in a total pool Saturday night of $146,934.

Total handle for the Saturday program was $3,075,084. Racing returns on Thursday with first post time at 7:15 p.m. That card will feature a Jackpot Super Hi-5 carryover in the last race of $66,960.16.

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)


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