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Top Trotters To Clash Friday

Published: April 14, 2016 9:08 am ET

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As the beginning of the Meadowlands Racetrack's 'Championship Meet' on May 7 draws near, more of trotting's elite are embarking on their racing season.

The marquee match-up on Friday night at The Meadowlands pits 2015 U.S. Older Trotter of the Year JL Cruze against multiple Dan Patch award-winning mare Shake It Cerry in a $25,000 Open Handicap trot. These two finished just a nose apart in a 1:49.4 world and track record in last season’s Graduate Final over this same mile oval nine months ago.

Shake It Cerry is making her first start of the year off a winning 1:55 qualifier last week. The champion daughter of Donato Hanover than more than $2.5 million in career earnings for owner Solveig’s Racing Partners and trainer Jimmy Takter. She finished 2015 strong with a convincing win over top mares in the $200,000 TVG FFA Championship final for David Miller, who will drive on Friday.

JL Cruze returned in good form following his winter hiatus and has won both of his 2016 outings including a 1:53 score here two weeks ago. It was a Cinderella season in 2015 for owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Jr and Steve Iaquinta who got way more than they bargained for when trainer Eric Ell brought JL Cruze home from the Harrisburg mixed sale for $30,000. He’ll again be driven by John Campbell, who played a large role in the many successes of last year.

Both trotters are preparing for the inaugural edition of the Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff scheduled for a special Mother’s Day matinee card on May 8.

The Meadowlands will be giving away tickets to the Monster Jam in Mat Life stadium later this month and you can enter to win a Kentucky Derby trip as well.

It was announced yesterday registration is now open for the "Championship Meet Survivor Challenge". Top prize is $2,000 and a seat in the 2017 World Harness Handicapping Challenge.

First race post time for Friday's card is 7:15 p.m.

(with files from The Meadowlands)

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