Trojan Banner opens 2020 in style at Dover Downs as Dexter closes 2019 an award winner
Former Lincoln Farms pacer Trojan Banner has won his second race in the United States, pacing 1:51.8 at Dover Downs in Delaware.
Trojan Banner, who raced three times late last year for a win and a second (in 1:50), opened the New Year on January 2 with a comfortable win in the hands of champion driver Tim Tetrick.
Trojan Banner, who started at the restrictive odds of 2-5 - which equates to New Zealand’s $1.40 - wasn’t rushed out from the pole position, settling fifth in Indian file.
Tetrick moved up to enjoy the one-one position soon after the bell and when he cruised round three wide turning for home he looked to have the race in safe keeping.
And while Romantic Interest (14-1) held him to a head margin, Trojan Banner was travelling easily at the line, posting sectionals of 26.6, 30.2, 27.2 and 27.8.
The win took Trojan Banner’s US earnings to US$19,650 for owners Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King, who bought the horse from Lincoln Farms soon after he had won seven races straight for Queensland trainer Al Barnes.
The win continued the unstoppable march of Tetrick who was the leading money driver in the United States for 2019 with US$15.6 million, ahead of Yannick Gingras on US$13.4 million.
But more notable was the feat of New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn to finish third, with US$12.07 million, earning him the award of driver of the year by the US Harness Writers’ Association in his first full season.
Dunn, who drove in 2696 races and won 460 of them, will receive his award at the annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, honouring the champions of 2019, in Florida on February 23.
All three of the top drivers were associated with Dan Patch winners, Dunn the regular pilot of top three-year-old male pacer Bettor’s Wish, who notched 13 wins and six seconds from his 19 starts.
Tetrick drove the champion older female pacer Shartin and top two-year-old Captaintreacherous filly Lyons Sentinel while Gingras enjoyed success with top two-year-old Bettor’s Delight colt Tall Dark Stranger, three-year-old Sweet Lou filly Warrawee Ubeaut and older female trotter Atlanta.
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Friday night at Albion Park
Race 6: Double Or Nothing
7.25pm NZ time
“We’re keeping him fresh and he’s doing well. He doesn’t need a lot of work - he showed that by winning last week, coming off a bit of a break. He’ll have improved with the run and from five on the front row he’ll go forward and be hard to beat.”
Race 7: Sir Tiger
8pm NZ time
“I’m expecting him to go well this week and he should definitely run in three from the ace draw. He’s getting out of the gate well and should be quick enough to hold his position without using him too much.”
Friday night at Auckland
Race 2: Man Of Action
“The ones he beat the other night weren’t much chop so he’ll have to step up. I didn’t think he was that impressive but he might just be one of those horses who don’t try too hard when they’re being attacked. He might be better off racing off the pace. He could beat them again but I couldn’t label him.”
Race 8: Classie Reactor
“He just burned too hard early at Cambridge and beat himself. He’s obviously not a tough horse. I think he’ll be a much better proposition if he’s saved for one run - and he’s got the speed to excel doing that.”