03/28/2015 10:36PM

Meadowlands: JL Cruze, Rockeyed Optimist win series finals

Rockeyed Optimist won the Clyde Hirt final, named after longtime Sports Eye columnist Clyde Hirt.

Announcer Ken Warkentin said it best at the end of the mile by JL Cruze when he uttered, "Cruze is the king" as the 4-year-old trotter powered to another compelling victory.  Saturday's victory in the $59,800 Shiaway St. Pat final complete a winter trotting series sweep at The Meadowlands for the son of Crazed.  The victory was the eighth of the season for JL Cruze, bringing his 2015 earnings to $126,410.

Partnered with his stablemate Razor Ramone, JL Cruze was the 1/9 prohibitive favorite in the Shiaway St. Pat Final.  Taken off the gate just a bit by John Campbell, JL Cruze settled mid-pack early in the mile, while Opulent Yankee went to the lead and reached the first quarter in 28 2/5.  The instant the trotters straighted up with the strong winds at their backs on the backstretch, JL Cruze launched his bid for the lead and quickly cleared the front before the half-mile of 56 3/5.  From there, the race was over as JL Cruze sailed through three-quarters in 1:24 1/5 under no pressure and he was never asked in the stretch to score an authoritative win in 1:52 3/5.

According to trainer Eric Ell, JL Cruze will contest the final two legs of the Bobby Weiss trotting series at Pocono Downs before setting his sights on The Graduate series for 4-year-old open trotters.

JL Cruze is owned by W Kenneth Wood, W J Dittmar Jr and S J Iaquinta.

In the $59,000 Clyde Hirt Final, Rockeyed Optimist was as advertised, winning decisively in 1:50. 

Driven to victory by Tim Tetrick, Rockeyed Optimist sat third through the first quarter which was reached in 27 seconds by his stable mate, Rock Out.  As the field straightened away down the backstretch, Rockeyed Optimist made his move for the lead and cleared before the half-mile in 54 1/5.  Around the far turn he received a challenge from Caviart Luca, who reached the leader’s wheel through three-quarters of 1:22 2/5, but Rockeyed Optimist promptly dismissed that challenge and leveled off to win impressively again.

Rockeyed Optimist is eligible to The Graduate series for trainer Steve Elliot and owners Perretti, Berkner, Battaglia and A&B Stable.

The driving star of the night was Scott Zeron, who won five races, including the $25,000 Dash For The “G” Notes Final with Grab Your Keys.

(edited release--Meadowlands)