01/24/2015 10:06PM

Meadowlands: Tetrick takes two winter finals with perfect drives

Lisa Photo
Company Man paid $6.60 to win in the Escort final.

Driver Tim Tetrick picked up a pair of winter late closer victories on Saturday night at the Meadowlands by giving both Company Man and Witch Dali perfect trips in the Escort and Worldly Beauty finals, respectively.

The $47,600 Worldly Beauty for 3 and 4-year-old pacing fillies and mares saw a battle on the front end play into the hands of Tetrick and Witch Dali.

Donttellruss assumed command off the gate but faced intense pressure from the word go as Just Fine tried her hardest to make the front. Those two battled for three quarters of a mile through sizzling fractions of 27, 54, and 1:22 3/5 as Empress Deo and Witch Dali followed second and third-over on the rim.

Donttellruss was game through the stretch but could not withstand the fresh legs of Witch Dali, who scored in 1:52 2/5.

“Last week she got wild on me, but she raced really well tonight,” said Tetrick.

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Winning trainer Tony Alagna admitted he was licking his chops at the head of the stretch, while a clearly distraught Corey Callahan driving Donttellruss said his mare raced “about as good as a horse can.”

Witch Dali paid $4.60 to win for owners Alagna Racing LLC and Bradley Grant. The victory was her second in three starts this year.

One race later in the $56,000 Escort for 3 and 4-year-old horse and gelding pacers, Tetrick made his move early and never looked back with Company Man.

Khan Blue Chip and What I Believe fired off the gate as a tandem through an opening quarter of 28 1/5 before Company Man came to call. Tetrick would put up a soft 56 half before sprinting a third quarter in 27 3/5 to get some separation on the closers.

JK Patriot, who left for a tuck in fifth, could not mount a serious charge while first-over and Major Uptrend’s big finish came up just short in Company Man’s 1:51 4/5 winning mile.

“It worked out really well,” said Tetrick of his racing tactics. “He paced really well to the wire.”

Company Man ($6.60) is trained by Virgil Morgan, Jr for Daniel Mitchell. The 4-year-old gelding has won two of his three starts this year.

Earlier on the card, the $50,000 Super Bowl final saw JL Cruze demolish his competition in the trotting event for 3 and 4-year-olds

Lisa Photo      JL Cruze & John Campbell.

A host of horses left well off the gate but none quite as determined as Two Hip Dip. Driver David Miller charged three wide off the opening turn and powered to the front. Soon after he would give way to a move from JL Cruze, who floated from the gate and waited for the dust to settle.

With fractions on the board in 28 4/5, 56 1/5 and 1:25, JL Cruze was in command. Two Hip Dip came off the cones with aim on the final turn as early leavers Opulent Yankee and Blocking The Way loomed as the only possible threats.

Driver John Campbell never had an anxious moment in the lane with JL Cruze. The duo opened up a sizable lead and cruised under the wire in 1:54 4/5 ahead of Opulent Yankee and Blocking The Way.

“I thought he was very good,” said trainer Eric Ell, who mentioned the Singer Memorial at the Meadowlands on February 5 as the gelding’s next race. “He’s getting better every week. I hope big things happen.”

JL Cruze ($6.60) won for the third time in four 2015 starts for owners William Kenneth Wood, William Dittmar, Jr, and Stephen Iaquinta.