Day At The Track

5000th driving win for Drew Campbell

12:42 PM 09 Jun 2019 NZST
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Drew Campbell, harness racing
Drew Campbell taking his 5000th victory aboard Woodmere Nightlife
Michael Newman photo

Scarborough, Maine - June 8, 2019 ... When last seen at Scarborough Downs, harness racing driver Drew Campbell was busy piecing together a dominant six-win performance last Sunday, an effort that left the man in orange and black six wins shy of registering the 5000th victory lap of his prodigious career. After a week spent campaigning at Bangor Raceway and Plainridge Park, Campbell fittingly reappeared at the Downs, the venue where he has enjoyed the majority of his successes, needing just one win more to cross the magical threshold.

With drives in ten of Saturday's (6/8) twelve races, Campbell seemed destined to record the benchmark win in front of the home fans, but he dramatically kept the large Belmont Stakes Day crowd in a general state of suspense until breaking through to the winner's ranks with an eighth race victory behind a recent Maritimes import named Woodmere Nightlife.

Campbell, whose lineage is also steeped in the harness racing traditions of the Maritimes, sat off the pace with his charge before tipping three-deep up the backstretch and powering to an open length romp, as the fans roared their approval.

A perennial powerhouse at the Downs and a regular contender for the North American UDR Championship, Campbell, who counts multiple local driving championships among his accomplishments, was joined in the winners circle by a multitude of his fellow drivers and horsemen, as is the tradition in Maine, to celebrate his latest accomplishment.

Drew Campbell wasn't the only headliner on the Scarborough Downs card on Saturday as a trio of Invitational class events were carded, charged with the goal of showcasing the crème de la crème of the local harness scene in front of the large crowd expected on Belmont Stakes Day.

The goal was surely exceeded when driver Ron Cushing steered Bettors Fire N to a brilliant victory in the $10,000 renewal of the historic Dirigo Pace, stopping the clock in blistering 1:53, while equaling the third fastest mile ever recorded in the 70 year history of Scarborough Downs.

The effort was just 2/5th of a second off the all time track record recorded by JJs Jet (D. Campbell) in the 2018 edition of the Mid-Summer Classic and just 1/5th off the only other horse to ever eclipse the 1:53 mark, Hotrod Falcon (W. Case, Jr) who set the longtime overall standard in 1993's Presidents Pace.

Zack Lee (D. Deslandes) who set torrid fractions throughout the mile placed second while All Artist (D. Campbell) rallied for third.

Bettors Fire N

Not content with a mere one win day, Cushing continued his domination of the local invitational scene on Saturday, scoring a convincing victory in the $10,000 Shady Sabrina Distaff with ShezSugarSweet A, who stepped away to a zippy 1:57.1 top-class score.

The win was the 7th of the season for the Heidi Gibbs trained mare who now boasts 4 wins and 4 runner-up placings from her last eight starts, all coming since rejoining the New England circuit in mid-April.

Western Stepp (D. Campbell) settled for the bridesmaid share after cutting reasonable fractions, while Amethyst Seelster (D. Deslandes) finished third.

ShezSugarSweet A

A Maine-bred trotter claimed top honors in the inaugural edition of the $10,000 Obrigado Trot, as Pembroke Castaway and driver Heath Campbell expertly controlled the tempo and tenor while piking the course and eking out a narrow final advantage over a hard charging Cherry Crown Jewel (M. Athearn) who fell a mere neck short at the wire. Northern Skyway (B. Ranger) finished third.

Named for a native-bred trotter who went undefeated in Maine Sire Stakes action and then went on to make a name for himself in major North American stakes, the Obrigado Invitational produced a mile that was timed in 1:57.2, just 2/5th of a second off Scarborough's overall track record.

Pembroke Castaway

Live harness racing now expands out to a three day a week format at the Downs with 4:30 pm (EDT) twilight cards slated for Thursdays and Saturdays while the popular Sunday matinees go to post at 1:30 pm.

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By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs



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