05/05/2016 4:54PM

Freehold: Miller, Norman hope to 'own' Dexter

Chris Gooden
Cufflink Hanover is the morning-line favorite in Saturday's Dexter Cup.

Trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman and driver David Miller have teamed up to win a number of open stakes races in recent years, but never with a horse they owned together. That could change Saturday.

Miller and Norman share ownership of Cufflink Hanover, who is the 2-1 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $140,800 Dexter Cup at Freehold Raceway. The gelding has won four of 10 career races, including his Dexter Cup elimination last weekend in 1:57 3/5 --- the fastest of the three elims for the event --- and earned $70,914.

Cufflink Hanover will start the Dexter Cup final from post three, with Miller in the sulky. Miller on Wednesday became the third driver in harness racing history to surpass $200 million in career purses.

We hope we can have a little fun with him; that was the idea,” said Norman, whose major stakes wins with Miller include the 2012 Hambletonian Oaks with Personal Style and a 2009 Breeders Crown with Poof She’s Gone. “We’ll see how it goes.

“He raced good last week and got a good draw. We’ll have to see how the race goes, but he’s going to show up there.”

The Dexter Cup is the first major stakes event for 3-year-old trotters on the road to August’s $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Last year’s Dexter Cup winner, Habitat, reached the Hambletonian and finished seventh in the final. Less than a month later, he won the Yonkers Trot. In 2013, Dexter Cup runner-up Dontyouforgetit also went on to race in the Hambletonian and four years ago Market Share competed in the Dexter Cup --- he lost a shoe early in the race and went off stride --- and later won the Hambletonian.

Cufflink Hanover, Dominion Beach, and Dante won last week's Dexter Cup eliminations. They are joined in Saturday’s final by second-place finishers Steed, Sir Royson, and Inukchuk Chuck. Two third-place finishers chosen by lot, Credevie and Hillman, also advanced to the final.

Dominion Beach and Steed are eligible to the Hambletonian.

Stakes-winner Dominion Beach, trained by Nancy Johansson, and lightly-raced Dante, trained by Ake Svanstedt, will race as an entry because both are owned by Anders Strom’s Courant A B. Dante, a son of Credit Winner out of the stakes-winning mare Michelle’s Angel purchased as a yearling for $355,000 at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale, is a full brother to millionaire Archangel.

Cufflink Hanover was selected by Miller and purchased for $30,000 as a yearling at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. A son of Andover Hall out of the mare CR Savoire Faire, his family includes 1995 Horse of the Year CR Kay Suzie and multiple-stakes-winner CR Renegade.

“When I broke him for David, I liked him,” said Norman, who owns horses under the Enzed Racing Stable. “I just liked his gait. He had a great gait and a good attitude. He’s a nice-looking horse. He was easy to like.”

Although Cufflink Hanover is not eligible to the Hambletonian, the horse’s stakes schedule includes the Yonkers Trot, Currier & Ives, Keystone Classic, Matron, and Tompkins-Geers.

“We didn’t think he was a top-level horse,” Norman said. “He’s kind of a second tier horse, but he’s a nice solid horse. He acts like he can get around a half-mile track good, which should help.”

In the Dexter, the entry of Dominion Beach and Dante is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. Dominion Beach will start from post five with driver Marcus Johansson while Dante will leave from post seven with Svanstedt at the lines.

Dominion Beach, a son of Muscle Hill out of the Dan Patch Award-winning mare Windylane Hanover, has won two of three races this year, including his Dexter elim in 1:58. A full brother to multiple-stakes-winner Muscle Diamond, Dominion Beach has won three of 12 races lifetime and earned $98,267.

Dante won his Dexter elimination in 1:58 3/5 in his seasonal debut. The colt was winless in two races last season.

Sir Royson, from the stable of trainer Linda Toscano, drew post No. 1 and is 7-2 on the morning line. Sir Royson, who has won three of six career races and finished off the board only once, will be driven by Jim Marohn Jr.

Steed, trained by Richard Johnson, will start from post eight in the eight-horse field and is 4-1 on the morning line. Matt Kakaley is the driver.

“The other winners of the eliminations drew outside of us, so I think we got the best draw of the winners,” Norman said. “I think (Sir Royson) is pretty decent too. It’s one of those half-mile track races and we’ll just have to see how things go. We’ll need a little bit of luck but he should be right there.”

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com

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