04/01/2016 11:15PM

Meadowlands: JL Cruze impressive in seasonal debut

Lisa Photo
JL Cruze's return to the races was a successful one as he rallied to a 1:53 triumph

World champion JL Cruze, the 2015 Aged Trotting Horse of the Year, won his 2016 debut with ease Friday night, 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 overmatched 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 4/5), 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.

--edited release (Meadowlands)