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'Down Under Effect' On Display

Published: May 16, 2019 11:15 am ET

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Two names that have been near the top of the driver standings at The Meadowlands since the start of the current meeting in mid-October belong to a pair of drivers from “Down Under”, New Zealand native Dexter Dunn and Australian Andy McCarthy.

Horsepeople from that region of the globe have had an impact over the years at the Big M: Ross Croghan, Noel Daley, Mark Harder, Nifty Norman, Brett Pelling and Chris Ryder. Be they “Kiwis” or “Aussies”, these trainers have done their share of winning at the mile oval.

Ryder uses Dunn, 29, on many of his horses, and among them is the talented three-year-old colt Bettors Wish, who is currently seventh in the weekly “Road to the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace” poll put out every week by the Big M’s media relations department.

“He’s a family friend from New Zealand,” said Ryder of Dunn. “But he’s not driving just because I know the guy. He’s driving because he’s capable. I thought he might have trouble hooking on here when he arrived (about a year ago), but his talent and personality have overcome that.”

The stats back up what Ryder says, as Dunn has won 86 times from 587 starts at the Meadowlands since the meet began. And thus far in 2019, Dunn sits second in the Big M standings with 65 wins, a total surpassed only by Yannick Gingras’s 96.

As for McCarthy, he was the leading driver at The Meadowlands until he went on an extended vacation earlier this year to his homeland. For the meeting, he’s won 50 races from 355 starts.

“Is Andy my primary driver?” asked Brett Pelling. “I would say that. He’s driving my best horse, Caviart Ally, and when you have a good horse, it puts you in the limelight.”

McCarthy guided Caviart Ally to a hard-fought victory in 1:50 over a star-laden Preferred for pacing fillies and mares field Saturday night (May 11), an evening that saw the 33-year-old win the first three races on the card and four of the first five. He also drives Pelling’s Reigning Deo, currently ninth in the Pace poll.

“I want someone who is focused,” said Pelling. “And Andy and Dexter know enough to be focused. Dexter is a great talent, and if Andy wasn’t available, would I use Dexter? All day long.”

Pelling also spoke about the sense of community felt by those who hail from Australia or New Zealand: “We are here together. The Down Under people know Down Under people. And that means something.”

Brower Hits Big: Dave Brower of The Meadowlands’ award-winning TV production had a night to remember Saturday (May 11), as he gave his followers a hit for the ages.

After the nightly segment when Brower gave out his Pick-4 ticket for on-track and simulcast players, favorites won the first (Highalator) and final legs of Brower’s $32 play, but what happened in between is what made the payoff special.

Somebaddude paid $100.00 to win in the second leg while 10-1 chance On Duty scored in the third. After Albergo Hanover won the final leg (race 11), Brower’s followers collected $2,028.15, good for a profit of $1,996.15.

The total Pick-4 pool was a typically strong $102,125 on Saturday and as always, free program pages for this week’s 50-cent Pick-4 – as well as the Can-Am Pick-4 (Friday only) – are available at and

Super High-Five Hit: Despite the 6-5 favourite winning the race, one lucky player betting into the Oregon Express hub walked away with a huge score nonetheless Saturday night (May 11).

The 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five, with the two longest shots in the field finishing second and fifth, yielded only one ticket with the winning combination of 2-3-1-10-9, and was good for a return of $33,010.24.

This Friday (May 17), the carryover for the early 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five (race five) stands at $91,214.

Preakness Up Next: The 144th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course is the featured simulcast event on Saturday (May 18) at The Meadowlands.

Post time for the first of 14 races at Pimlico is 10:30 a.m.

The Preakness, for three-year-olds at a mile and three-sixteenths, is race 13 on the card and has a post time of 6:48 p.m.

Beerfest On Tap: On Saturday (May 18), The Meadowlands will host its fourth annual “Beerfest”.

The event, which is rain or shine, has three tiers of ticket pricing. For a $75 VIP ticket, you get admission, VIP lounge access, a special VIP food buffet, a tasting glass, exclusive VIP tastings and one additional hour of sampling.

Only 200 VIP tickets will be sold.

A $35 general admission ticket ($45 if purchased day of) includes admission, a tasting glass and a four-hour sampling.

Those with VIP tickets will be admitted at 4:30 p.m. while general admission customers can go in at 5:30 p.m. The event ends at 9:30 p.m.

(The Meadowlands)

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