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JL Cruze Triumphs In Dover Open

Published: April 6, 2016 9:45 pm ET

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Though stabled a short distance from Dover Downs, JL Cruze made his first local appearance of the year in his second start and was an easy 1:53.2 winner in the $36,000 Open Preferred Handicap Trot on Wednesday, April 6.

Hall of Fame driver John Campbell left with JL Cruze from post eight and tucked in fifth after the start. Campbell began his frontward movement heading to the half-mile and steadily continued to move. The Crazed-Topcat Hall bay gelding finally took over after the three-quarters on the way to his second triumph of the year for trainer Eric Ell and owners Ken Wood of Denton, Maryland and Philadelphia area residents Bill Dittmar Jr. and Steve Iaquinta. Emerging from a pack of trotters bidding for second was Spunky Jack with Roger Plante Jr., who has five seconds this year and 15 over the last two seasons. Somebody AS, teamed with Tim Tetrick, finished third in a dead heat with early leader Gural Hanover (:26.4, :56, 1:24.2), driven by Andrew McCarthy.

JL Cruze now has 23 career wins in 40 starts and earnings of $692,685 lifetime.

Two $20,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund second leg divisions for three-year-old filly trotters led off the program with Triple Bottom Line and Epic Smash scoring impressive victories.

In the stronger of two $20,000 divisions, the Traci Berry-trained Epic Smash rolled to her second DSBF victory, holding off a determined bid from Cicadas Song in a 1:56.4 mile. Pat Berry, who won consecutive races, took Epic Smash right to the front as he did last week and the filly was never headed in the career-best effort. Cicadas Song was relentless chasing the winner home. The J Craparotta And P Berry partnership own the Political Briefing-Giant Smash filly, who now has five lifetime wins and purses of $115,208. Chestnut Chic (George Dennis) came on to finish third.

The outside post didn’t deter Triple Bottom Line and trainer/driver Jeff Fout in the other $20,000 DSBF section. The CR Commando-Current Yield bay stormed away to get the early lead and cut out all the fractions in the 2:00.1 winning mile, holding off Miss Baltimore (Tony Morgan), who stalked the winner from the start but had to settle for second. Devlin (Carlo Poliseno) was the third-place money winner. Winbak Farm bred and owns Triple Bottom Line, who won for the first time this year and third time in her 10-race career. She has banked $88,200 in purses.

The DSBF three-year-old second prelims come to a close on Thursday featuring the sophomore male pacers in three $20,000 events.

Next week, the Dover Downs 47th season comes to a close with a $100,000 DSBF final every day. Monday is male trot day, filly pacers vie on Tuesday with filly trotters on Wednesday. Closing day, Thursday, April 14 features male pacers going for $100,000. In each final, the top eight point-earners in the division race for the big money.

(With files from Dover Downs)


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