Dexter achieves more success on Meadowlands Pace Day

The Meadowlands Pace is one of the highlights on the North American harness racing calendar and was a race that Dexter was narrowly beaten in last year driving Bettor's Wish. While his drive this year, Major Betts, finished amongst the beaten brigade, the day was a good one for Dexter with three winning drives and four placings.

Dexter's first winning drive for the programme was with one of his great favourites's Manchego, for Meadowlands Pace winning trainer Nancy Takter in the Miss Versatility. Given time early from barrier six, Dexter allowed the champion mare to stride to the front inside the 900m. From there she travelled like a well oiled machine. While softened up a little across the top, Manchego was always travelling much too well, going to the line travelling well within herself in another smart time of 1.51.3 for the mile. 

Manchego and Dexter doing what they do best

One race later and Dexter again combined with Nancy Takter, driving trotting filly Panem in the Del Miller Memorial for $253,500. You could not help but be impressed with her slashing late run.

Fast off the gate, Panem led on the first turn before being crossed by first Ramona Hill for Andy McCarthy and then Love A Great Story. After a 26 second first half, they went through the first half in 54.2. Appearing to have plenty to offer as the field turned for home, Panem was blocked and five lengths off Ramona Hill. It took all of Dexter's great skill to extract her from a tight spot at the 150m and she came charging home to be beaten one and a half lengths in a quick 1.50.3, with next up written all over her.

Panem is one to watch in the big features over the coming weeks after a big run for 2nd

Dexter won a Breeders Crown for trainer Nifty Norman last season driving Amigo Volo and based on his run for 4th in the Stanley Dancer Memorial, there could be more big spoils coming his way. Safely off the gate, Amigo Volo tracked through to third out of the first turn. Allowed to go forward to find the lead at the 900m, Amigo Volo trotted through the first half mile in 54.4. It was the trailling horse Third Shift that trotted up to take the lead at the 250m, but Back Of The Neck came with the paralysing late burst to run away for a fine win in 1.52 from Third Shift, with Big Oil in third, just ahead of Amigo Volo. Connections will be rapt with the much improved run with the Hambletonian just a matter of weeks away.

A very encouraging run for 4th from Amigo Volo in the Stanley Dancer

With Bettor's Wish allowed to miss the William R Haughton Memorial, Dexter picked up a catch drive with Fillibuster Hanover for Ron Burke in one of the day's big features. A $67 shot, Fillibuster Hanover was well back early on a hot pace, and was four back the inner as Century Farroh took the field through the first half in a scorching 52.4. Awkwardly spotted on the inner and third last at the 400m, Fillibuster Hanover took the short trip home up the inside flashing into third. Dancing Lou was an impressive winner in 1.47.3 for Brian Sears.

Fillibuster Hanover at big odds places third behind Dancing Lou

On what had already been a big night for Dexter, it was the upset win of Major Occasion in the Dorothy Haughton defeating the champion mare Shartin, that topped off the evening. Able to hold up well enough from her inside barrier, Major Occasion recieved a beaut trip early on the back of top mare Kissin In The Sand. After a strong opening half of 54.2, Kissin In The Sand was strongly attended on her outer by Shartin who started to apply some real pressure.

Turning for home, Major Occasion was momentarily pocketed, but Dexter never panicked, waiting on the inside run to appear. The $50 shot burst up the inside to head Shartin inside the 100m, going on for a well deserved victory in a smart 1.48.1 for trainer Nifty Norman. She looks a real threat to the proven mares over the next couple of months.

Major Occasion tops off a top day for Dexter, winning the Dorothy Haughton in 1.48.1

The day's feature the Meadowlands Pace saw Dexter partner up with outsider Major Betts from the Mark Harder barn. Obliged to go back from a wide draw early Major Betts never got into the race at any time, finishing amongst the beaten brigade. In what proved a great duel down the home stretch, it was the hot favourite Tall Dark Stanger from the Nancy Takter barn that rallied back after appearing headed by Papi Rob Hanover to win narrowly and take the major share of the spoils in the $636,650 feature in another impressive time of 1.47.2. 

The good looker Tall Dark Stanger out-toughs Papi Rob Hanover to win the Meadowlands Pace in 1.47.2

Posted: Mon 20 Jul 2020

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