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Dunn Wins Seven At The Meadowlands

Published: January 12, 2020 12:55 am ET

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The hottest name in harness racing these days is Dexter Dunn, and the recently-named United States Harness Writers Association Driver of the Year lived up to his considerable current hype at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Saturday night (Jan. 11).

Dunn recorded seven wins during the 14-race card and fell just one victory short of tying the mark for most wins on a single 'Big M' program.

Dunn was red-hot from the start, as he swept the Early Daily Double, which paid $24.20. The 30-year-old New Zealand native then turned up the volume to '10' by winning five consecutive races beginning in Race 5.

Among those winners were JL Cruze, the first-ever sub-1:50 trotter in Meadowlands history, and a pair of Down Under pacers from Darren Cassar’s barn.

The first was Italian Delight N, who flew home off of cover to capture the sixth race before Effronte A, a seven-year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Fleur De Lil, exploded home in :25.4 after a covered trip to win in 1:48.3, the fastest mile of the year in the sport.

Dunn’s final two wins were of the close-call variety, as he scored with Harambe Deo in the featured high-range conditioned pace, where he barely edged out Eddard Hanover, who had come back along the inside very late after having been passed in deep stretch. In the next race, Dunn and Hurrikane Ali got passed by Whatstroublnurocky, only to come back in deep stretch to score by a short neck to give Dunn his seven-bagger.

“JL Cruze was great,” said Dunn. “I was really happy with the way he trotted tonight. He was very smooth. Effronte A was awesome. He got a really good trip. When I asked him halfway down the straight, he knuckled down and was really motoring.”

A recap of Dunn’s winners appears below, with horse, winning time, post-time odds (*-denotes favourite) and race conditions.

  • Willie Boots, 1:52.1, 9-5*, TrackMaster rating of 79.5 or less pace
  • A Major Omen, 1:50.2, 7-2, 5YO and under NW of 2 pace
  • JL Cruze, 1:51.2, 3-5*, NW of $15,000 trot
  • Italian Delight N, 1:50.1, 9-5*, NW of $10,000 pace
  • Effronte A, 1:48.3, 6-5*, NW of $10,000 pace
  • Harambe Deo, 1:50.2, 7-5*, NW of $22,500 pace
  • Hurrikane Ali, 1:51.2, 7-2, TrackMaster rating of 79.5 or less pace

“I was not aware,” said Dunn, in regard to if he knew about how close he was to making Meadowlands history. “I had some good drives, but it doesn’t always work out. I got some good trips and my horses raced really well tonight.”

In Race 11, it appeared Dunn had the record tied when he and Rock Lights had a four-length lead with three-sixteenths of a mile to go, but it wasn’t to be.

“He just over-raced,” said Dunn. “He got down to the half fast (:53.4) and I was trying to get him to go slower, but he was really fired up.” Rock Lights weakened and finished third.

The record of eight wins on a Meadowlands program is shared by Mike Lachance (July 14, 1995) and Brett Miller (December 16, 2016). The last time a driver had seven on a card was Yannick Gingras, who turned the trick on February 1 of last year.

For those who hit the first 2020 edition of the Can-Am Pick-4 it was a good night, as the payout for the wager with the 20-cent base was $1,413.40.

The Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, thus bloating the carryover to $105,787.

All-source handle totalled $2,567,930.

Racing will resume this Friday (Jan. 17) at 7:15 p.m.

(Meadowlands Racetrack)


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