JL Cruze still cruising in Shiaway St. Pat opener
March 14, 2015
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With Swedish interests looking on from the Meadowlands grandstand, Melady's Monet put forth a flawless audition, winning the $30,000 Open Handicap Trot for the second week in a row and for the fifth time in his last eight starts.
The 7-5 favorite from post 9, Melady's Monet was gathered back off the gate early in the mile and established a stalking position halfway through the field. The early lead belonged to longshot B YoYo, who reached the first quarter in :26.4, but Andy Miller and Lindy's Tru Grit was not content with his position and that trotter quickly assumed command down the backstretch. Not to be outdone, Brett Miller guided Odds On Amethyst off the pylons and they picked up the pursuit of Lindy's Tru Grit through a :56.3 half-mile.
At that point, John Campbell elected to follow Brett Miller's move and Melady's Monet found himself well-positioned second-over. But into the far turn, Odds On Amethyst cleared to the front, leaving Melady's Monet first-over as the field rolled through three-quarters in 1:25. Both trotters coming off wins at the Open level would proceed to hook-up for a stretch battle. Inside the final eighth of a mile, Melady's Monet was able to wear down Odds On Amethyst to reach the wire in 1:52.3. The win was the fourth on the season for the 6-year-old gelding.
Melady's Monet is trained by Kevin McDermott for Melady Enterprises LLC.
The co-featured event was the $30,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace. That race featured millionaire and world champion, Somwherovrarainbow, who was the 3-5 favorite. But it was not her night tonight as Radar Contact, in what may have been the best performance of her career, not only won, but dominated the field to win by four lengths, posting an 11-1 upset.
Somwherovrarainbow was a bit wide in the first turn while following Camille who would grab the lead early in the mile. Those two hit the opening quarter, while racing on even terms in :26.4. The favorite cleared the lead shortly thereafter and took the field down the backstretch with Camille drafting in the pocket through a :55.2 half. At this point, Campbell guided his mare, Radar Contact to the outside and she committed to a first-over grind around the far turn. With that mare at her throat,
Somwherovrarainbow reached three-quarters in 1:23.3, but as the field turned for home, it was clear that Radar Contact was going the better of the two. As the mares straightened up in the stretch, Radar Contact found gears four, five and six and she pulled away from the millionaire, leaving her and six other mares in her wake as she rolled to an authoritative win in 1:50.2, pacing a :26.4 final quarter after racing first over. Charisma Hanover rallied for the runner-up spot.
Radar Contact is trained by Noel Daley and was driven to victory by Campbell.
The first leg of the Shiaway St. Pat trotting series was contested Friday night. With 13 horses entered, the first round was split into a pair of $20,000 divisions. The Super Bowl and Charles Singer winner JL Cruze was the name that headlined the list of entries. He was sent off as the 1-5 favorite in the second division and he picked up right where he left off.
Settling into third position early in the mile through fractions of :28.2 and :57.4, JL Cruze committed first-over as the field moved into the far turn and with a measured move, seized command as the field reached three-quarters in 1:27. In the stretch, JL Cruze turned it on, opening up at will and powering home in :27 to win by many in 1:54. It was the sixth win from eight starts this season for the Eric Ell trainee.
The win by JL Cruze gave Campbell his third win of the program for Kenneth Wood, William Dittmar Jr. and Stephen Iaquinta.
When he doesn't face JL Cruze (and sometimes even when he does), he wins. That has been the case all winter for Opulent Yankee and that trend continued in the first round of the Shiaway St. Pat on Friday night at the Meadowlands.
Sent off as the 2-5 betting choice in the first $20,000 division, Opulent Yankee was kept off the gate slightly and allowed to settle into third position early in the mile with Andy Miller. The front end belonged to the Dover invader Razor Ramone, who was keyed up through a quarter of :27.2. Positions remained unchanged down the backstretch until Miller guided his trotter off the pylons past the half-mile in :57.3 where Opulent Yankee began his pursuit of Razor Ramone. Midway through the far turn it was clear that Opulent Yankee had more in the tank and the gelding cleared the lead going past three-quarters in 1:26.3. In the stretch, Opulent Yankee powered away with the end result never in doubt, gliding to an easy 1:55 score. Sheer Flex rallied for the runner-up spot, with Razor Ramone fading to third.
Opulent Yankee is trained by Julie Miller for Little E LLC, Art Geiger, Jason Settlemoir and David Stolz.
Rising star Jimmy Marohn Jr. had another impressive night at the Meadowlands, winning three races from six drives on the Friday program.
The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 carried over again. That carryover will be $50,461 into the Saturday program. The last race jackpot also went unclaimed and that carryover is now $167,731. (Meadowlands)