Franco Totem N scores in Big M Preferred
January 19, 2020
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It figures the way things are going lately for Dexter Dunn that if he had a decision to make, it would be the right one.
And in Saturday night's feature at the Meadowlands – the $37,500 Preferred for pacers – the red-hot driver naturally chose correctly.
The 30-year-old native of New Zealand had choice of three in the race: Effronte A, who became harness racing's fastest performer of 2020 by virtue of a 1:48.3 clocking a week ago; Harambe Deo, an iron-tough winner of two of his last three; and Franco Totem N, who finished a close second in two of the last three weekly pacing features.
Dunn opted for Franco Totem N and the 7-year-old gelded son of Changeover-Treaty Franco responded with a huge mile, clearing the lead while parked to the half in :55.2, taking bitter pressure from McThriller to three-quarters in 1:23.4, and then finishing the job by kicking home in :27.3 to hit the finish in 1:51.2.
"He raced the way he looked.....great," said Dunn. "He's a very nice horse and doesn't take anything out of himself in the mile."
Endeavor, the 2-1 second choice in the betting, left the gate from post six, but with many leavers to his inside, had to take back to last in the field of six before sprinting home in :26.4 after swinging three-wide at three-quarters to claim second, just a half-length back of the winner. Harambe Deo rallied for third. Effronte A was scratched.
Franco Totem N scored as the 6-5 public choice and returned $4.40 to his backers. He is trained by Nifty Norman, owned by Enzed Racing Stable and Jerry Kovach and now has 21 wins from 64 lifetime starts and $163,189 in his bank account.
The remarkable Dunn, who took both features over the course of the weekend, kept winning at a torrid clip, recording five victories Saturday. Over the last three race cards, he's visited the winner's circle 16 times and now has a total of 23 victories to lead the Big M standings. Last Saturday, he hit victory lane on seven occasions to fall one win short of tying the Big M record.
Yannick Gingras went toe-to-toe with Dunn over the course of this weekend's action, matching Dunn with four Friday winners and five Saturday scores, meaning the Dynamic Duo won 64 percent of the 28 races offered over the two-day race week. Trainer Ron Burke conditioned four of Gingras' Saturday winners.
A LITTLE MORE: JL Cruze, the first trotter ever to break the 1:50 barrier at the Big M, won a high-end conditioned trot in 1:53.4 as the 1-9 favorite to win his second straight. ... Montrell Teague, who was the guest on the Big M's in-house "In the Sulky" interview segment, guided Kid PK to victory in the Dr. Martin Luther King Remembrance Race, an event that featured African-American drivers. ... Favorite players wore out a path to the windows as seven post-time choices scored. Twelve of the 14 races were won by horses whose odds were 5-2 or less. ... The second edition of the Cam-Am Pick-4 returned $77.14, in sharp contrast to last week's payoff of over $1,400. ... All-source handle on the program totaled $2,395,435. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.