Saturday, March 9, 2024

It’s no surprise that Dexter Dunn has been driving well since his return from vacation on Feb. 3, and the 34-year-old pilot kept things rolling Friday night at The Meadowlands, guiding the winners of both $14,000 TrackMaster Series finals.
Badditude scored in the TM dash for pacing fillies and mares with a rating of 73.5 or less. The razor sharp 4-year-old daughter of Artspeak-A And G’s Delight collected her fourth win in her last six outings after making two moves to the lead before the half. She then cruised to the wire an easy 2¾-length winner in 1:53 for her red-hot trainer Izzy Estrada, who entered the night with 13 wins from just 34 Big M starts this year.
Eileen’s Wish, the early leader, held second, while Shake It Twice and Miss Maycee, the 2-1 co-favorites who were both off victories in their prior series’ efforts, finished third and fourth, respectively. The former was too far back as the winner opened up real estate off the far turn and the latter couldn’t hack it after going first-over.
“[Badditude] had a good draw [post one] and, obviously, has been racing well of late,” said Dunn, the Dan Patch Driver of the Year from 2019-22. “She has really good gate speed and put herself in the right position. We made a move [to the lead] and she felt really good the whole mile. She had good pace off the last turn and sprinted home really well.”
Badditude returned $7 to her backers as the 5-2 third choice in the betting in winning for the 15th time from 52 lifetime outings for owners Estrada Racing.
Dunn doubled his fun by also taking the TM finale for trotters with a rating of 74 or less with Southwind Frost, who never had an anxious moment after going a similar trip to Badditude’s, leaving quickly before yielding [to Brookroad Master] the lead, then re-taking the point before the half on the way to an easy win in 1:54.4 for trainer Michael Fiumenero and owners RBH Ventures Inc.
The 8-year-old gelded son of E L Titan-Freeze Frame hit the wire 1¼ lengths in front of Fashion Cantab, who was sharp late to get second. Bingo Brain was third.
“[Southwind Frost] is racing well,” said Dunn. “He got out of the gate pretty good and trotted along well.”
As the overwhelming 2-5 public choice, Southwind Frost returned $2.80 to win while upping his lifetime numbers to 22 wins from 156 starts, good for earnings of $274,224.
Dunn finished the night with a driver-colony best four victories, and now has 22 for the year, good for third in the Big M standings behind Dave Miller (33) and Andy McCarthy (24).
A LITTLE MORE: Handle stayed hot at the industry’s action leader as $3,065,017 was bet on the 14-race card, giving The Big M 12 straight nights when action has topped the $3-million mark. There have been 18 programs conducted at the mile oval in 2024, and 16 of those have seen handle bust the $3-million barrier. … Todd O’Dea picked up his first-ever driving win at The Meadowlands after guiding 42-1 longshot The Moment Arose to victory lane in the fifth race, keying a 20-cent Pick-5 payout of $4,090.48. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO 1: Badditude and driver Dexter Dunn won the TrackMaster Series final for pacing fillies and mares at The Meadowlands Friday night. (Credit: Lisa Photo)