Cruz Information First Profession Stakes Win

At the same time as a West Virginia native that has traveled throughout the nation for racing and at the moment splits his seasons between Florida winters and New Jersey summers, coach Jesus ‘Jesse’ Cruz could not think about a extra excellent place to win his first stakes race than in Maryland .

Wasabi Ventures Stables’ Why Not Tonight made that dream a actuality June 19 when the 4-year-old filly—4 begins after being claimed for $16,000—outran two-time turf dash stakes winner Can the Queen over 1 1/16 miles to seize the $75,000 All Brandy Stakes for Maryland-bred/sired fillies and mares 3 and up at Laurel Park.

Maryland is the place the 28-year-old Cruz launched his profession, profitable together with his first starter April 2, 2017, at Laurel. Maryland’s Greatest, a 3-year-old gelding out of the College of Maryland’s breeding program, gained by 1 1/4 lengths that day and went unclaimed for a $16,000 day.

The All Brandy was the primary win in Maryland for Cruz since Feb. 23, 2020, which got here earlier than he started what has been a profitable run with TK Kuegler and his spouse, Michele, of Wasabi. For the reason that racing partnership started in 2017, Wasabi has expanded to incorporate a broodmare operation primarily based at St. Omer’s Farm in Forest Hill, Md.

“It was an excellent win for all events—me, Wasabi, the horse. It was actually good,” Cruz stated. “It was sort of the correct manner. The way in which TK and I began was with a ($16,000) claimer. We claimed our first horse collectively for ($16,000) and that is sort of what we have constructed our secure on is claiming horses at that stage a bit of bit in Maryland.

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“After we left, and each time we went again there, Maryland had sort of haunted us a bit of bit. We simply by no means had good luck,” he added, noting Why Not Tonight’s troubled fourth in a Could 12 allowance at Pimlico Race Course. “It was very acceptable to win our first stakes with a Maryland-bred, at Laurel, with a horse that we had claimed for ($16,000). It was simply every little thing that we had constructed our secure round, actually.”

Picture: Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Membership

Why Not Tonight wins the All Brandy Stakes at Laurel Park

Cruz is overseeing a secure of 17 horses, 15 of them owned by Wasabi. Cruz credit Kuegler, a enterprise capitalist and native of Essex, Md., with preserving his dream of coaching horses alive.

In 2018, his first full season as a coach, Cruz and a brand new consumer went to Delaware Park for its summer season meet. The secure grew from 4 or 5 horses to greater than 20, with modest success, however Cruz was let go when the meet ended and left with two horses owned by Wasabi.

“We received rolling a bit of bit, nothing loopy, but it surely appeared like I used to be constructing some steam up,” Cruz stated. “After Delaware they moved on to a different coach. They needed to make a transfer, and that is horse racing.”

Cruz reached out to Kuegler, unsure of his future.

“I known as him and defined what occurred. I used to be going to inform him, ‘Look, I might help you discover a coach for these two horses, as a result of I sort of have to get a job.’ At that time I actually thought my profession had failed, truthfully,” Cruz stated. “He sort of laughed on the telephone and stated, ‘OK. Let’s get these two horses to Oaklawn. I will come on the market and we’ll sit down and we’ll work out these items financially and we’ll work out the right way to rebuild this secure.’

“They believed in me when nobody else did, and with out him I would not be right here. I went to Oaklawn with these two horses and we simply regularly constructed the secure again up,” he added. “It takes lots for somebody to imagine in a younger child, as a result of on the time I used to be solely 24 years outdated. I had had success, however nothing spectacular. To imagine in me and principally make investments hundreds of {dollars} into me, as nicely, with horses and stuff like that, he sort of pushed his chips onto the desk with me.

Humble and hardworking, Cruz realized his classes from his mom, Daisy Tobin, who spent practically three a long time working as a groom and assistant for legendary Hollywood On line casino at Charles City Races coach James Casey earlier than retiring in 2016. She nonetheless helps across the barn of her husband, coach Lewis Craig Jr., Cruz’s stepfather. Tobin raised Cruz and his older sister, Elizabeth, as a single mom.

“My mother advised me very early on, horses can solely offer you what you place into them and that is every single day waking up, caring for them, and doing all the correct issues. That was the work ethic that she simply put into me and my sister very early in our lives,” Cruz stated. “With my profession, every little thing that I do I dedicate to her. My mother is likely one of the finest horsemen on the earth and no person is aware of her identify, as a result of she needed to sacrifice her goals so my sister and I may have ours.”

By 16, Cruz was galloping at Charles City for his dad and mom and Casey. Amongst their finest horses have been Russell Street, who Casey educated to 31 wins, 22 in stakes, and greater than $2 million in purse earnings from 2008-16; and Assist a Brother, bred, owned, and educated by Craig that gained 15 of 49 begins from 2012-19.

“I sort of fell in love with the sport at Charles City being round Assist a Brother and Russell Street and horses like that,” Cruz stated. “However then Bristol sort of confirmed me the larger image like attending to Saratoga Race Course and profitable graded stakes.”

‘Bristol’ is Dance to Bristol, the excellent feminine sprinter that gained 10 of 20 begins and greater than $980,000 from 2011-13. Amongst her victories have been the 2013 Ballerina Stakes (G1) and Honorable Miss Handicap (G2) at Saratoga, the Mattress o’ Roses Handicap (G3) at Belmont Park, and the Skipat Stakes on the eve of the 2013 Preakness Stakes (G1). Educated by Ollie Figgins III, she ran sixth in her profession finale, the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Dash (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

Dance to Bristol and jockey Xavier Perez go head to head with Classic Point to win the Grade II Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga.
Picture: Adam Coglianese

Dance to Bristol (exterior) outduels Traditional Level to win the 2013 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga Race Course

“Ollie was a significant mentor for me. He was like a second father sort of factor. I went all over the place with Ollie,” Cruz stated. “Finally when Ollie introduced his string of horses to Bowie with Dance to Bristol, I moved to Bowie with him. I galloped her everywhere in the nation. I had by no means flown on a airplane till I went to California together with her. I had by no means been to New York till I went there together with her.”

When Why Not Tonight gained the All Brandy, it was the results of years of dedication and persistence.

“It was particular in loads of methods,” Cruz stated. “TK was away in London. He and his spouse went to a day at Royal Ascot after which they have been sort of on trip over there. He was watching the race. Strolling to the winner’s circle, I despatched him a textual content that simply stated, ‘Lastly.’ I felt like we have sort of been rising up to now and it was one thing I’ve clearly dreamed about my total life.However, to only get up to now and get to that subsequent stage was a really large (step) for us .”

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