Hammering Hank pounds out Kindergarten Classic final victory

To watch a race replay of Hammering Hank’s Kindergarten Classic Series victory, click here.

East Rutherford, NJ — Thundering to the top approaching the half, Hammering Hank and driver Dexter Dunn won the $238,700 Kindergarten Classic final for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings Saturday night (Nov. 13) at The Meadowlands in 1:51.1.

Hammering Hank and driver Dexter Dunn won the $238,700 Kindergarten Classic final for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Lisa photo.

PJ Lou and JD fired from the outside with Early Action holding third and Hammering Hank fourth over Camouflage Money. Early Action took to the outside at the :28 first panel and got the lead as Hammering Hank stepped away from the pylons, shooting by Early Action to take command of the field.

The half went in :55.2 as Hammering Hank secured the lead over Early Action. Camouflage Money moved to race first over, followed by Captainryanmichael, but those two stalled wide of PJ Lou as Mad Max Hanover sprung into gear at three-quarters in 1:23.3.

Meanwhile on the front, there was no challenge for the lead late. Hammering Hank rolled home in hand to a lifetime-best 1:51.1 to get his eighth win from 10 starts. Early Action gave futile pursuit to settle for second with PJ Lou holding third and Mad Max Hanover rallying for fourth.

This was Dexter Dunn’s third win in four Kindergarten Classic finals on the evening.

Brett Pelling trains the son of Captaintreacherous-History Repeats who has now earned $238,683. 3 Brothers Stables, Pelling Racing and Rojan Stables own Hammering Hank.

Dexter Dunn said Hammering Hank gave him “the impression that when you ask him to do what you want, he’ll do it. Once we got away fourth, we were first over probably before the half, so we made a move and sprung home great.”

“He’s been like that from the get go when he was young,” Brett Pelling said. “When we were training in sets and even when we were going our 2:30 miles. You would look across and he was always right there and effortless — and effortless speed is real speed. We knew he would just carry on with it.”

“Brett’s done a great job with him,” Dunn said. “He’s turned into a great, versatile horse and his high speed obviously helps him a lot. He’s done it both ways now.”

Off the 4-5 favorite, Hammering Hank paid $3.80 to win.

A Little More: Dunn showed no ill effects of the spill he was involved in at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday, as he and his sore leg won two races in addition to his Kindergarten hat trick, giving him five victories to lead the driver’s colony, helping the 32-year-old native New Zealander’s case as he bids for a third straight United States Harness Writers Association Driver of the Year trophy.

Both 50-cent Pick-4s blew past the $50,000 guarantee with ease as both pools exceeded $90,000.

All-source handle on the 13-race card totaled $2,768,005, sending total weekend wagering past the $5 million mark.

Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

— Dave Little

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