Day At The Track

Dunn sweeps Mare Trot Crown elims

01:38 PM 20 Oct 2019 NZDT
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Manchego, harness racing Darling Mearas S, harness racing
Manchego and driver Dexter Dunn
New Image Media photo
Darling Mearas S and driver Dexter Dunn
New Image Media photo
MILTON, ONT, October 19, 2019 - Harness racing reinsman Dexter Dunn cleaned up in the Mare Trot eliminations on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park to add to his big night in the Breeders Crown eliminations.

A total of 15 older trotting mares were split into a pair of $32,500 (CAD) eliminations to determine the Breeders Crown final field.

Dexter Dunn found a seam late in the stretch and was able to knife through and catapult Darling Mearas S to victory in the first elimination.

Darling Mearas S left alertly then yielded willingly into the first turn to Custom Cantab who cut the opening fraction in :27 3/5. David Miller put the breaks on in the short field and had Custom Cantab in control through a half in a pedestrian :57 clocking.

The pace picked up as Dream Together moved to the outside on the turn followed by Hannelore Hanover and race favorite Plunge Blue Chip second and third over respectively. Custom Cantab had all of the rating required to get the job done but turning into the homestretch off the 1:26 1/5 mile the field was closing in.

Dream Together was holding her ground first-over and Plunge Blue Chip had rallied wide for Ake Svanstedt and flanked Hannelore Hanover as those continued to grind up towards the leader.

Yet it was Dunn who found room at the right time and Darling Mearas As, a daughter of Cantab Hall had the explosive speed necessary in the final sprint to get the job done in a 1:53 2/5 clocking. Plunge Blue Chip rallied brilliantly for second with Custom Cantab holding on for third. Hannelore Hanover and Dream Together also advance into next week's final.

Supergirl Riley made a break well before the start and lost her chance at the final. Bettors were given a refund as the mare was declared a "non-starter."

Darling Mearas As paid $17.40 winning for the third time in 12 starts this year for trainer Ake Svanstedt and owner-breeder Snogarps Gard of Sweden.

"She got herself in good position," Dunn said. "We really got lucky half way down the stretch. Looks like we're in good shape for next week."

To see the race replay, click here.

Manchego got the respect one would expect from a 1-5 betting choice and had little difficulty in strolling down the road to capture the second Mares trot elimination for Dunn. It was the fourth straight victory for the 4-year-old by Muscle Hill.

Only Manchego and Emoticon Hanover left in the field of eight and Manchego had control before the :27 opening quarter with Emoticon Hanover content to race in the pocket for Bob McClure. With no challengers Dunn cruised to the half in :56 4/5 and waited for challengers to come.

Hey Livvy was flushed out on the final bend by Weslynn Dancer but couldn't make a dent in the leaders margin as Manchego controlled the pace through a three quarter clocking of 1:25 2/5.

In the homestretch Dunn looked around to see where the competition was coming from but there was none to be found. Manchego did drift a bit off the pylons but at no point did the Nancy Johansson-trained mare need any assistance from her driver and she scored comfortably in 1:52 3/5 with a :27 1/5 final quarter.

Emoticon Hanover held on for the place spot with Weslynn Dancer closing well to finish third. Ice Attraction became the third Ake Svanstedt-trained mare to qualify for the final and Highland Top Hill rounded out those advancing.

Manchego won for the sixth time in 2019 and returned $2.40 as the prohibitive favorite. She's trained by Nancy Johansson for owner Black Horse Racing.

"She's exceptional," said Johansson. "There's no other way to describe her."

"She felt great again tonight," said Dunn referring to her consecutive world record performances at The Red Mile and Dayton. As far as the mare drifting out some. "You just let her do her thing. She was full of run at the line."

To watch the race replay, click here.

Post positions for the $325,000 Mare Trot final were drawn following the eliminations. Elimination winners drew for posts one through five.

1 Weslynn Dancer

2 Ice Attraction

3 Plunge Blue Chip

4 Manchego

5 Darling Mearas S

6 Hannelore Hanover

7 Highland Top Hill

8 Dream Together

9 Custom Cantab

10 Emoticon Hanover

From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

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