John Theurer Cancer Center takes the top spot and prize in the 2021 Breeders Crown Charity Challenge thanks to Team Dunn and dedicated supporters

Pictured left to right: Nancy Kennedy, director of Development, John Theurer Cancer Center, Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation; Jeff Gural, CEO, Meadowlands Racetrack; Marvin Katz, horse owner, breeder and mastermind behind the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge; John Campbell, Hall of Fame driver and president, Hambletonian Society; Dexter Dunn, driver.

Team Dunn stirred up a first-place win of more than $134,000 to benefit Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center’s John Theurer Cancer Center in the 2021 Breeders Crown Charity Challenge, presented by the Libfeld/Katz Breeding Partnership. The funds donated will support important cancer research and patient care programs at John Theurer Cancer Center, New Jersey’s best cancer center according to U.S. News & World Report.

John Theurer Cancer Center was selected as a charity contender this year by the 2021 Breeders Crown Charity Challenge, along with enCourage Kids Foundation, Special Olympics New Jersey and New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. The challenge was held this year at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford to raise awareness about the positive contributions harness racing makes in the tri-state area, especially New Jersey.

To win, each charity paired up with one of four driver/trainer teams and amassed points in three ways: through driver and trainer team performance on the Grand Circuit, fan voting and attending the races on select race nights. John Theurer Cancer Center raised the most points at the end of the challenge, taking home the largest

The challenge launched on Saturday, July 3 at the Meadowlands Racetrack, where a representative from each selected organization was present to be paired up with a driver and trainer team. Team Dunn, made up of driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Nancy Takter, represented John Theurer Cancer Center in this year’s challenge.

Dunn, a nine-time winner of the driving title in his native New Zealand, has been voted Driver of the Year for the past two years.  He was also the leading money-winning driver in 2020 with almost $11.2 million bank-rolled by his chargers, many of whom were voted champions of their respective divisions. Takter, daughter of Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter, was voted 2020 Trainer of the Year by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA). With more than $8 million won by her trainees, 31% victories and a universal training rating of .442, the horses in Nancy’s stable almost never miss in big events.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Team Dunn and John Theurer Cancer Center came in first place in this year’s Breeders Crown Charity Challenge,” said Rachel Simoneau, vice president of Development, Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation. “There is incredible work taking place at John Theurer Cancer Center and the prize money will certainly be used for a vital cause – to support innovative advancements in cancer research and to continue providing world-class care for our patients and their loved ones through important programs. We congratulate Team Dunn on a job well done and thank our most loyal supporters who voted for Team Dunn in this fun competition!”

To date, more than $800,000 has been donated to the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge. Funds for the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge are generated by generous donations from some of the industry’s most notable breeders, trainers and drivers. The Breeders Crown Charity Challenge finished on October 31.

For questions about John Theurer Cancer Center and the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge, please contact Nancy K. Kennedy, director of Development, John Theurer Cancer Center, at

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