Dunn, Takter appear to lock up year-end honors
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Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night saw a handful of horses lock up divisional honors Saturday night at The Meadowlands. It also saw the two most-coveted human awards cinched by a pair of the game’s biggest stars.
First up was Dexter Dunn, the 30-year-old native of New Zealand, who in his second year driving full time in America, left no doubt whom the United States Harness Writers Association’s Driver of the Year will be.
Of the eight stakes races on the card, Dunn emerged victorious four times, guiding Manchego (TVG Open Trot), Kissin In The Sand (TVG Mares Pace), Always A Miki (Governor’s Cup) and Bettor’s Wish (TVG Open Pace) to victory lane.
Add in the fact that Dunn won four Breeders Crown races and was the only driver in the sport with $10 million in earnings this year coming into the night, he better make room for a second DOTY trophy.
Takter scored three times on the card, as her trainees – Manchego, Kissin In The Sand and Always A Miki – were all handled by Dunn. She entered Saturday with earnings of $7.3 million from just 397 starts.
During 2020, in addition to the aforementioned power-packed threesome, Takter also had likely Horse of the Year winner Tall Dark Stranger – the Meadowlands Pace and North America Cup champion – in her barn.
It’s clear that Takter will raise the USHWA Trainer of the Year hardware.
A LITTLE MORE: Trainer Ron Burke and driver Dave Miller both reached an incredible milestone, as each pushed past the $250-million mark in lifetime earnings. Burke reached that lofty number when his Baklouva finished second in the Governor’s Cup Consolation while Miller became a quarter-billionaire after scoring with Blue Diamond Eyes in the Three Diamonds. Burke is harness racing’s leading all-time trainer in terms of earnings while Miller is second to John Campbell, who finished his career with $299 million in his bank account. … All-source handle on the 13-race card was $2,744,397. … Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. (Meadowlands)