Dunn invading Yonkers

By Frank Drucker

When driver changes were finalized for Yonkers Raceway’s Saturday night (Sunday NZ time) program, one name stood out amongst the rank of file. 

Dexter Dunn. The 10-time New Zealand premiership driving champion finds himself with a pair of escorts, Pointomygranson (post position No. 3) for trainer Chris Ryder in the $23,000, third-race pace, and Quick Asa Trick N (post No. 7), trained by Darran Cassar, in the $23,000, ninth-race pace.

Down Under connections are obvious, with Ryder a Kiwi and Cassar from Australia. 

Dunn, who turns 29 next month, won the 2015 World Driving Championship, held in Australia. He visited Yonkers—going 0-for-4—when the biennial event was stateside four years earlier. Dunn last drove in North America in 2017 as Canada hosted the competition.

After some pesky passport issues, Dunn arrived in New Jersey, with Ryder serving as ‘point man’ for the excursion.

“It’s a three-year visa, but I don’t have a return (to New Zealand) date,” Dunn said, adding, “There’s no plan. I’m just going to see how it works out.”

“When Pointomygranson wins off the screen, everyone is going to see how good Dexter is,” Ryder said…without guaranteeing that result.

 Asked to describe his compatriot, Ryder was effusive.

 “He’s just the right guy for the job, young but with a lot of experience. I’ve seen him get results from good horses and difficult ones.

  “The (driving) style between here and New Zealand is not as different as it used to be,” Ryder said. “New Zealand racing his improved, so it’s always about getting into the right position.”

 The bulk of Dunn’s Down Under small-track experience has been over three-turn, five-eighths-mile ovals, so Westchester’s ‘rustic’ half-mile figures to provide a different challenge.

 “There are a lot of good drivers here, but I think he can adapt as well as anyone can,” Ryder said.   

 Dunn’s lasting Yonkers Raceway impression from his first go-round?

  “Eight-holes stink.”

 The guy’s a quick study.

 Post time for Saturday’s dozen-race card is the usual 6:50 PM.

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