Gingras catches Dunn for Big M driving title

East Rutherford, NJ — Yannick Gingras came from “off the pace” to best Dexter Dunn in the hotly contested battle for top driver at The Meadowlands meeting that came down to Saturday’s Hambletonian Day card.

By winning three races Friday and four more Saturday, Gingras overcame Dunn’s 82-79 lead in the standings entering the final weekend of racing. After Dunn won the final race of the meet — with 19-1 shot Starvin Marvin — he stood one behind Gingras, who won the title by a count of 86 to 85. Gingras and Dunn also finished 1-2 in money earnings.

Ron Burke, the winner of 12 consecutive national trainer titles, topped the Big M training colony in wins with 50. Nancy Takter was the leading money-earning trainer. She had just over $1 million in earnings heading into Hambo Day.

Leading owners at the meeting were Pollack Racing and Jeffrey Cullipher.

Handle Highlights: All-source North American wagering on the 16-race Hambo Day card totaled $5,730,615, by far the highest total in the industry in 2020. It marked the second time during the 41-program meeting where wagering topped the $5-million plateau.

On 33 occasions, wagering went past the $2.5-million mark, while the $3-million barrier was busted 10 times.

Wagering on the Hambletonian was red hot, as a total of $845,469 was pushed through the windows on the 11th race Saturday, an increase of $322,305 over last year (61 percent).

Wagering totals from international outlets will not be known for several days.

A Little More: Andy McCarthy not only won his first Hambletonian, but was the top driver on Hambo Day, winning five times. Tony Alagna trained three to victory lane, all were driven by McCarthy.

Live racing at The Meadowlands resumes on Saturday (Sept. 5) at 7:15 p.m., and with the exception of Christmas Day, will be conducted on the normal Friday-Saturday schedule through the end of the year.

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