JL Cruze Wins 2016 Debut

Published: April 2, 2016 12:03 am EDT

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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