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2017 RACE DATES

MEADOWLANDS - Post Time 7:15pm
January 26 - March 11, 2017
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March 17 - August 5, 2017
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September 8 - September 16, 2017
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November 17 - December 2, 2017
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December 7 - December 30, 2017
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FREEHOLD - Post Time 12:30pm
January 5 - March 25, 2017
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Special Race Day Monday February 20, 2017

March 31 - May 6, 2017
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September 1 - December 9, 2017
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Special Race Day Monday September 4, 2017

December 28 - December 30, 2017
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DEXTER CUP DRAWS 12; FOUR ADVANCE ON BYES

MANALAPAN, NJ – April 23, 2015 – The first major test of the year for three-year-old trotters has drawn 12 entrants of which four will advance on byes and eight will compete for the final four spots in the $133,170 Dexter Cup Final on May 2, 2015 at Freehold Raceway.

The Ray Schnittker-trained trio of Switchblade Hall [post one with Steve Smith driving], HA Taylor [post three, Jordan Stratton] and Bavaro [post four, Schnittker] are rated at 9-5 in the morning line, coupled in the wagering, in the $44,400 single elimination race, the tenth on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

Explosiveday, trained and driven by Oyvind Hegdal, has been installed at 2-1 in the morning line from post seven.

Also competing for the four spots in the final are Handover The Money [post two with Andy Miller] at 8-1, Divisionist [post five with Charlie Norris] at 4-1, Apostles Creed [post six with Brett Miller] at 6-1 and Southwind Mozart [post eight with Ake Svanstedt] at 15-1.

The top four career money-earners advance to the finals on byes: Broken Record, Gabe The Bear Dean, Habitat and Sixteen Encores.

The Dexter Final will share the May 2 card with the filly companion race, the Lady Suffolk.

The stakes record for the Dexter, which dates back to 1960, of 1:55.3 was set in 2009 by Anders Bluestone. The Lady Suffolk record of 1:57.3 was established by Stacy Spice in 1996.

NORRIS HOPES DIVISIONIST'S IMPROVEMENT CONTINUES IN DEXTER
By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

With his first career win now under his belt, Divisionist heads to Saturday’s Dexter Cup elimination at Freehold Raceway looking to build on his success. And trainer/driver Charlie Norris believes the 3-year-old trotter is ready to put his best foot forward.

Divisionist was winless in 13 races last season, going off stride four times, but had on-the-board finishes in divisions of the Reynolds and Simpson stakes plus two divisions of the Kindergarten Classic and one of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. The colt broke his maiden on April 14 with a 1:57.2 triumph at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

“He had an issue last year with breaks, but he’s come back well this year,” said Norris, who trains Divisionist for owners Carrie Norris, G And B Racing and Acadia Farms. “It was just a matter of maturity. He was really good there in his first start. Physically he’s matured a lot and we’re definitely on the right track for this year.”

Divisionist will start Saturday’s single elimination for the $133,170 Dexter Cup – the first stakes test on the road to August’s Hambletonian Stakes – from post five. He is 4-1 on the morning line. The three-horse Ray Schnittker-trained entry of Switchblade Hall, HA Taylor, and Bavaro is the 9-5 morning line favorite.

Rounding out the field are Handover The Money and Southwind Mozart from the stable of trainer Ake Svanstedt, Jimmy Takter’s Apostles Creed, and Oyvind Hegdal’s Explosiveday.

The top four finishers in the $44,400 elimination will join Broken Record, Gabe The Bear Dean, Habitat, and Sixteen Encores in the Dexter Cup final on May 2 at Freehold. Those four horses received byes based on lifetime earnings.

Apostles Creed, Divisionist, Habitat, Handover The Money, Sixteen Encores, and Southwind Mozart are eligible to the Hambletonian.

Divisionist, who has earned $44,612 in his career, is a son of Andover Hall out of stakes-winning mare Only Lonely. He was purchased for $40,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and his family includes former Ontario standout Beer Budget.

“He’s out of a decent mare and he showed a lot of athleticism in his video,” Norris said about purchasing Divisionist as a yearling. “I thought he might be OK. He wasn’t great last year, but at different times -- even at Lexington when he made a break -- he showed a lot of raw speed.”

Last year in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Lexington’s Red Mile, Divisionist went off stride behind the starting gate, but rallied from more than 20 lengths back to get within a length of the lead while racing three wide on the final turn. He was unable to maintain his surge, but finished fifth.

“Hopefully he’ll just keep getting better,” Norris said. “If you’re in the business, everyone has high hopes. That’s why we’re in the yearling game. I don’t know if he’s a (1):51 trotter or a (1):52 trotter, but I think (1):53 is not out of his reach at all. If he keeps in the right spots and gets his confidence up, I think he’ll be alright.”

Norris raced Divisionist with trotting hobbles last year, but has taken them off this season.

“I’m going to leave them off unless he shows me otherwise,” Norris said. “He’s really come around. He’s coming into (the Dexter Cup elimination) good and he’s fit enough. I don’t know if he’s top caliber, but in the secondary stakes and some of the earlier ones here, I think he can prevail a little bit.”



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