view counter
view counter

'Afreet' Fleet, 'Cruze' Cruises

Published: March 7, 2021 12:11 am ET

No Comments | Jump to Comments

Ana Afreet N and JL Cruze made quick work of their foes Saturday night (March 6) at The Meadowlands, as each won their respective co-featured $25,000 Winners Over/Junior Opens with ease on a chilly night at the mile oval.

Ana Afreet N, making just his second start back after a two-month layoff, showed that he is all the way back in the groove, as the Jeff Cullipher trainee crushed nine overmatched foes in the marquee event for pacers.

Departing from post 9 provided little in the way of trouble for the six-year-old son of Bettors Delight-Anna Livia, as driver Andy McCarthy left the gate sharply, moving swiftly around the first turn while four-wide before clearing to the top at the quarter in :27.1.

It was over right then and there.

After being permitted to rate a second fraction in :28.2 with nobody close on the rim, Ana Afreet N then shrugged off token first-over pressure around the far turn from the horse who won this race last week, Shnitzledosomethin, before sprinting home in :26.4 to win by one-and-three-quarter lengths over a rail-sitting Gods Spirit N in 1:50.2. Shnitzledosomethin held third.

“He was terrific tonight,” said McCarthy. “He really doesn’t love the front end but he’s going to have to get used to it racing over a half-mile track [in the March 15 Borgata Series] at Yonkers. He’s probably better with a target, but he paced home strong. I think if a horse had been nearby, he would have shown even more.”

Ana Afreet N paid $5.80 to win as the 9-5 favourite and upped his lifetime numbers to 23 victories from just 46 starts. Owned by Pollack Racing and Jeff Cullipher, his lifetime earnings now stand at $180,072.

JL Cruze showed no rust after a two-week break, blasting down the pike in the featured trot in 1:53.2 as the 1-2 public choice.

“He takes me around the track,” said winning driver Dexter Dunn. “He makes my job easy.”

The 10-year-old son of Crazed-Topcat Hall backed up his pilot’s words by having an easy time of it on the front end.

“That’s what makes him so good,” said Dunn, referring to his horse’s last start, which he won from off the pace. “He’s so versatile, so good out of the gate.”

JL Cruze, who was assigned post 7 in the seven-horse field, exploded away from the gate, made the top out of the first turn, and cut fractions of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:25.3, before sprinting home in :27.4 to win by one-and-a-half lengths over a fast-closing Pikachu Hanover. Winnerup was third.

Trained by Eric Ell and owned by W. Kenneth Wood, W.J. Dittmar Jr. and S.J. Iaquinta, JL Cruze lifted his lifetime statistics to 44 wins from 128 starts, good for an overflowing bank account of $1,584,892. He returned $3.00 to win and has now won four of his last five Big M starts.

A LITTLE MORE: McCarthy won three races on the card to finish with five victories over the weekend.

The 20-cent Pick-6 carryover of $6,225 blossomed into a total pool of $35,136, and those who had winning tickets cashed in for $3,422. All-source wagering totaled $3,114,494. There have been 10 Saturday programs conducted at The Big M thus far in 2021, and each has seen the $3-million-handle barrier busted.

Racing resumes Friday (March 12) at 6 p.m. (EST).

(The Meadowlands)

view counter

© 2021 Standardbred Canada. All rights reserved. Use of this site signifies your agreement and compliance with the legal disclaimer and privacy policy.

Firefox 3 Best with IE 7 Built with Drupal