Four Breeders Crowns for our Dex. You're not bad mate!
Following a great start to the weekend for Dexter yesterday, winning his third Breeders Crown with Fire Start Hanover (after two won in 2019), it was always today that presented some amazing opportunities for the Cantabrian. A win with Manchego in the first Breeders Crown of the day, was the catalyst for a great day's performance and the start of a three win haul in the Breeders Crown features.
Manchego has had an indifferent season by her own high standards, but it is hard to keep a champion down. A second last week behind Gimpanzee signalled that she was about ready and courtesy of a great drive by Dexter today, it was a walk in the park in the end, with a three and a quarter length victory, with second favourite Plunge Blue Chip next best.
Today's Breeders Crown win was the third for Manchego after wins as a two year old in 2017 and in 2019 as a four year, with Dexter in the cart. She joins just three other trotters that have completed three Breeders Crown wins and takes her stake-earnings to over $2.5 million.
A race later and Dexter combined with Manchego's stablemate Spoiled Princess in the final for the three year old trotting fillies. After being well spotted early, she made her move from the quarter. Momentarily looking like she was going to be right in the fight at the 200m, she peaked on her run over the last 200m, to finish in 6th place, two lengths behind an impressive Next Level Stuff, driven by Tim Tetrick.
Dexter partnered champion filly Party Girl Hill in the final for the three year old fillies. Trained by Chris Ryder, the filly was hoping to complete a perfect season with 15 wins from as many starts. However, after doing some work to find the lead, she was vulnerable down the long homestraight, going down in a driving finish to winner Peaky Sneaky and runner-up Lyons Sentinel in a new stakes record of 1.49.0. She will have lost no admirers with her fight in defeat.
Dexter's second Breeders Crown win for the night came with Amigo Volo, a horse that must be fast becoming one of his favourites. After staying out of the early blast for lead, Dexter and Amigo Volo powered to the front inside the second quarter, While under pressure before the turn, the Nifty Norman trained star still had plenty in the tank and when he stole a two length lead at the 300m, he looked home for the money. However, he was all out over the last 100m, as outsider Play Trix On Me stormed home up the inside, a photo finish being required to separate the pair. For the second time in two days, the judges call went Dexter's way.
The two year old Breeders Crown winner last year with Dexter, Amigo Volo has really hit his straps the last few months, an unlucky run for 4th in the Hambletonian being the sign that he was getting back on track. Today's win was his 8th from the 14 starts this season.
One race later and Dexter combined with North America's top pacing mare Kissin In The Sand, which started a short-priced favourite in her final as she took on top mares Shartin and Warrawee Ubeaut. While parked early from her handy draw, she assumed the lead in the second quarter from Shartin. Pressured off the back by Warrawee Ubeaut, Kissin In The Sand still looked to have plenty of petrol in the tank up the stretch. While Shartin challenged hard to her inside once she got a run, this was Kissin In The Sand's day, completing another Breeders Crown for the Nancy Takter/Dexter Dunn combo. The race was cut out in a hot 1.48.4.
The three year old final for the colts and geldings looked to be a turn up and do the job scenario for top colt Tall Dark Stranger. Dexter partnered stablemate No Lou Zing. As the field approached the three quarter mark, the favourite looked to be doing his thing, while No Lou Zing kept coming from a parked position. Over the last 200m, the challengers came thick and fast, but the favourite looked to be kicking too well. However, in a Breeders Crown upset of goliath proportions, rank outsider Sandbetweenmytoes stormed home widest of all to grab the favourite, at odss of $203 to win!!! No Lou Zing finished in a close-up cluster, beaten just a length in what was a very game run.
Dexter's final Breeders Crown run came with last season's champion three year old colt Bettor's Wish. Sent out the hottest of favourites, Bettor's Wish crossed over early to get a nice spot on the inner. When the challenges started to come in the third quarter, Dexter opted to come off the rail, going up to sit outside pacemaker Backstreet Shadow. Turning in locked together, it was Bettor's Wish that was clearly travelling the better at the 200m. While looking the winner, he had done work and in the last 50m, was bombed by Century Farroh which had the cold shot at him up the inside in a 1.49.0 mile.
What a weekend! Four Breeders Crowns in just his second full year driving in North America. While there will be some disappointment with the defeat of both Party Girl Hill and Bettor's Wish, we must salute an amazing performance, one that must rank right up there for Dexter alongside his World Drivers title in 2015. A young man doing great things for NZ Harness and ever the true professional in doing so.
Photo Credit: Dean Gillette Photography
Article by Mike Drury
Posted: Sun 01 Nov 2020