03/11/2015 4:04PM

Meadowlands: JL Cruze looks to keep rolling in Shiaway St Pat opening leg

Lisa Photo
JL Cruze has won the Super Bowl and Singer Memorial finals at the Meadowlands.

With wins already in the Super Bowl and Charles Singer Memorial, JL Cruze begins his quest for a third straight winter series win Friday (March 13) in the opening round of the Shiaway St Pat, honoring the 1981 Hambletonian champion, at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment.

Thirteen trotters were entered for Friday’s first round. JL Cruze is the 6-5 morning line favorite in the second of two divisions, which will go as the 12th race on the 13-race card. The 13th race features a $161,277 carryover in the Jackpot Super High 5 and a $200,000 guaranteed pool if only one person has the correct combination.

JL Cruze was purchased for $37,000 at last fall’s Harrisburg Mixed Sale by Mid-Atlantic based trainer Eric Ell for owners Kenneth Wood, Bill Dittmar Jr. and Stephen Iaquinta. In the 10 starts with Ell, JL Cruze has earned $87,760 with seven wins and two runner-up finishes.

“Originally, we just wanted a horse to race up through his conditions in Delaware, but he has been a blessing in disguise,” explained Ell. “He just does it so easily and it looks like he’s the one to beat again heading into this series.”

The 55-year-old Ell has trained more than 1,100 winners with more than $14 million in earnings during his career. Always humble and gracious, Ell admits he has had many solid racehorses during his career. He describes his biggest win as the 2011 Maxie Lee at Harrah’s Philadelphia with Anders Bluestone, who would go on to earn more than $1 million.

“(JL Cruze) just might be one of the best we’ve had,” admitted Ell. “If he keeps improving like he has, you never know.”

Hall of Famer John Campbell will take his usual seat behind JL Cruze on Friday.

Ell will also be represented in the Shiaway St Pat with another exciting prospect as Razor Ramone brings a five-race winning streak into the first division and will be driven Friday for the first time by Hall of Famer David Miller. Ell purchased the son of Kadabra out of Canada last September. Like JL Cruze, he’s owned by Iaquinta and Dittmar.

“He can trot a lot, but not quite like JL Cruze yet,” said Ell. “He’s good on a five-eighths-mile track, but I’m not sure if the big track at the Meadowlands will help. He’s a stocky built, ‘Mighty Mouse’ type of horse. His qualifier last week was a good tightener and we’re looking forward to seeing how he races on Friday.”

Holloway provides update on star pacing mares

Trainer Joe Holloway’s Somwherovrarainbow headlines a field of eight in Friday’s $30,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace.

The 2012 champion 2-year-old pacing filly has raced only once this year, an easy win in January at the Meadowlands.

“I needed to see if she would return to her good form this year and so far it looks like she has,” said Holloway. “I expect her to race like herself on Friday and continue after that.”

Holloway said the plan is to race Somwherovrarainbow in the Blue Chip Matchmaker at Yonkers Raceway.

Holloway also reported that his other star mare, world champion Shebestingin, has been retired from racing and is scheduled to be bred to Captaintreacherous.

(edited release-Meadowlands/Justin Horowitz)