East Rutherford, NJ — Live racing at The Meadowlands will increase during the month of December, and based on how successful he was during November, that likely suits Dexter Dunn just fine.
Thursday racing makes its debut Dec. 5 as the Big M will up their number of live racing nights from two to three during December, with live action being offered every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 7:15 p.m.
Dunn, whose career has been on a meteoric rise since coming to America in the summer of 2018, drove 23 winners during November to lead the Big M driver colony. The New Zealand native, who was the regular driver for such standouts as Bettor’s Wish and Manchego, piloted three winners on a card five times during the month and won four on one occasion.
Following Dunn on the November driver’s hit parade were Yannick Gingras (16 wins), Tim Tetrick (13), Tyler Buter (11), Andy Miller (10), David Miller (10) and Andy McCarthy (9).
The depth of talent of the Big M driver colony — and how evenly matched it is — is confirmed by a look at what’s transpired over the last two weeks at the mile oval. The top four in terms of Universal Driver Rating with at least 15 drives are Gingras (.279), McCarthy (.278), Tetrick (.270) and Buter (.268).
The trainer colony is also stacked as five conditioners had two wins last weekend (Nov. 29-30): Trish Adams, Juan Cano, Tom Fanning, Patti Harmon and Andrew Harris.
Sounds Of The Season: Just like last year, Thursdays in December will feature guest announcers who will “Borrow Ken’s Binoculars,” as Big M voice Ken Warkentin will open his track announcer’s booth to four different callers.
This evening (Dec. 5), Big M TV regular fill-in and longtime harness and Thoroughbred announcer Peter Kleinhans will call the races. The colorful Larry Lederman will be up next on Dec. 12, followed by the USTA’s Michael Carter on Dec. 19 and “Racing from the Meadowlands” regular Dave Little on Dec. 26.
Top 10 Titans: Shartin N, who has the inside track on being named Horse of the Year, sat atop the final Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown weekly Top 10 poll that was released Tuesday.
The Jim King Jr. trainee, who won 15 of 19 starts and banked just over $982,000 during the year, was No. 1 in the poll each of the 28 weeks it was posted. Bettor’s Wish finished in the second spot while Greenshoe was third. According to USTA Media Relations Manager Ken Weingartner, that threesome were the only horses to appear in every Top 10.
The remainder of the final Top 10 in order were Manchego, Warrawee Ubeaut, Gimpanzee, Caviart Ally, Papi Rob Hanover, Real Cool Sam and Tall Dark Stranger.
All 10 raced at the Meadowlands during 2019, with seven of the top eight having raced on TVG/Fall Final Four Night on Nov. 23.
This Weekend: On Dec. 6, poker players who are 21 and older can hold’em and fold’em on “Free Poker Friday.” The free Texas Hold’em tournaments begin at 7 p.m. track side.
Also on Friday, get some help with holiday shopping by entering a chance to win a gift card to a major department store, with $1,500 in gift cards up for grabs. An entry form will be in the live program.
On Saturday (Dec. 7), the Meadowlands and Peter Grandich and Company will host “Football Night.” Longtime New York Jets standout Joe Klecko and his son, three-time Super Bowl winner Dan, will be available for autographs and pictures from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Toys For Tots New Date: Due to the bad weather that hit the Metropolitan area, the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots Annual Holiday Toy Drive Reception that was originally scheduled for Dec. 2, will now take place at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 14).
Bring a new, unwrapped toy for a child at Harlem Grown, a charitable organization in Harlem. If you do, not only will you help a youngster have a happy holiday, but you will also get to greet New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, the honorary Captain of the 2019 Toys for Tots campaign.
FOX5 sportscaster Tina Cervasio will host the event, where some of Enunwa’s Jets teammates will also be on hand.
For those who cannot make it but would like to help, they can bring a new, unwrapped toy to the track between now and the night of the event.