Illinois Horse of Year makes 2008 Debut

03:54 AM 14 Mar 2008 NZDT
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Booze Cruzin
Booze Cruzin
Photo by R.E.B. Enterprises - Booze Cruzin had an easy time winning Friday night's $15,000 Cole Muffler Stake at Maywood Park with regular driver Sam Widger.

Illinois of the Year Booze Cruzin will make his first start as a four-year-old in Friday night's $14,000 Whizzer R White ICF Open Handicap Pace at Maywood Park. Last year's Windy City Pace champion will have regular driver Sam Widger at the lines when he leaves from post six in the ninth race feature.

Awaiting Booze Cruzin (2-1) is Bobs Minute Maid (5-2, Mike Oosting) who puts a five race winning streak on the line from post eight, and Prince Vince (7-2, Joe Anderson), who captured this event last month and has the seven-slot.

The field is completed with Buster B Skipalong (8-1), Papa Deck (15-1), Im A Hot Sport (8-1), I Believe Its True (12-1) and Fighting Gypsy (15-1), with posts one through five, respectively.

Booze Cruzin has been rested since his November 30 victory in the Cole Muffler stake here at Maywood Park for trainer Joe Seekman and Holland, Michigan owner Broekhuis Stables.

The home bred son of Art's Conquest, out of the Cam's Card Shark dam Cruzin Suzie, posted 11 wins in 25 starts in his sophomore campaign, knocking down $350,677 in purse earnings with almost a one-third of that total coming in his front-stepping 1:51.3 stakes record performance in the $220,000 Windy City Pace last October 12.

To say that Booze Cruzin has a fondness for Maywood Park would be a bit of an understatement. The speedster made six starts last year on the circuit’s half-mile oval winning three, and placing in two others.

The only time he didn't finish first or second here in 2007 was last June in the $100,000 Maywood Pace Final when he got hooked up in a torrid: 26.1 first quarter speed duel with Home Bed Advantage and Brother Vinny, ending up a tiring sixth.

In his record Windy City Pace mile Widger took Booze Cruzin to a very quick: 26.3 first panel and a: 55.1 first half and the gelding still easily held off runner-up Home Bed Advantage by almost two lengths.

"While: 26.3 is fast, by all means, it really doesn't matter much to this horse if he's on the front end because he just holds his ground,” said Widger after winning the 25th annual edition of Maywood Park’s showcase stake.

Booze Cruzin won an ISOBA stake at Maywood in mid-October and he also notched Balmoral's $50,400 Cardinal Final, Hawthorne's $61,500 Master Shawn Championship, a $36,500 Fox Stake at the Indiana State Fair, and the $30,000 Dudley Hanover at the DuQuoin State Fair.

Among Booze Cruzin's second place finishes was a neck decision to Thisbigdogwilfight in the Associates stake. He was also runner-up in a Review (Springfield) and a division of the Simpson (Lexington).

Mike Paradise, Director of Publicity, Maywood Park

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