Scarborough, Maine (Saturday, August 30, 2014) - The three-year-old filly pacing division of the Maine Sire Stakes program made its final preliminary appearance at Scarborough Downs on Saturday (8-30) before sending the ladies out on their late summer fairground swing. The fillies split out into three divisions as they vied for their share of nearly $30,000 in stakes purses. The field for the first $9850 stakes split raced single file style through the first half-mile as heavy favorite, Cheryl Leigh and driver David Ingraham effortlessly grabbed the early lead while establishing rather soft fractions. Pembroke Lynn finally strayed from the parade route near the midway point as she aggressively made overland progress from the trailing position at the behest of driver Heath Campbell only to find her forward progress stall as she was challenged by the bend as she entered the clubhouse turn. Before she could regain momentum in the straightaway though, Mike Cushing pulled the pocket with Shurfine Babycate to test the rested leader only to fall victim to the very next bend as they reached the final turn. All the while though, Kevin Switzer steered LP's Shyla along the conservative inside path, improving position as others took their turn in the outside lane, and itching to take his shot late. The strategy proved sound as the daughter of SouthwindMountain rallied to score her second career victory for co-owners Elisha Lafreniere and Tammy Sowers timed in a career equaling best of 2:00.3. Cheryl Leigh retained her perfect on the board ratio his season as she fell back for second while Shurfine Babycate survived a judges inquiry to hang on for third. A photo-finish print never smelled so sweet as Mary Rose Of Topaz and Big Bad Rose matched strides to the wire in the second $9850 stakes division with Mary Rose Of Topaz holding off her persistent challenger to secure her 6th consecutive stakes score. Steered down victory lane by driver Kevin Switzer, Jr for owner Andrew T. Card, the prolific winner, a daughter of Ashlee's Big Guy, persevered through a judges inquiry for a possible pylon rule violation in deep stretch before eventually extending her skein in a leisurely clocking of 2:01 flat. Big Bad Rose (Greg Bowden), last season's freshman champion placed in the runner-up spot for the third consecutive start while Danville Sweetheart (Eddie Davis, Jr) held firm for the show. The third $10,076 stakes event of the day saw Fast Pat absolutely inherit the early lead as her nose was the only nose anywhere near the gate at the start. Her driver, Gary Mosher, engineered a fortuitous trip featuring generously tepid fractions throughout but the advantage lasted only until mid-stretch as Shadytouch and Mike Cushing roared three-wide off the final turn to rally for their 2nd straight stakes score. Owned by Darrell Tibbetts, the daughter of Shady Character was race timed in 2:02 flat. Fast Pat settled for the bridesmaid share this week after breaking through to the stakes winner's column in her last appearance. Dansan Flicka (David Ingraham) rallied for the show. The Maine Sire Stakes program will next visit Scarborough Downs on Sunday (9-7) as the two-year-old championships will be decided. Freshman consolation bouts will co-anchor the Stakes Final card next weekend with total purses for the day expected to approach the $250,000 threshold. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs
Scarborough, Maine (Sunday, August 24, 2014) - Maine Sire Stakes action returned to Scarborough Downs on Sunday (8-24) as the three-year-old pacing colts split out into twin nine-horse fields contested for matching purses of $10,597 and a 17-year-old track record was broken. Alittlebitcountry capitalized on a rare inside starting spot to reclaim his winning ways in the first stakes split of the afternoon. After getting away in the top-three at the start, David Ingraham steadied his charge at the rail before tipping the son of Ashlee's Big Guy wide into the final turn as the tandem tracked down David The Saint at the wire. The victory was the 4th of the season for the James Smallwood owned and trained state-bred who took a zippy new lifetime mark of 1:57.1 in the process. David The Saint (Mark Athearn) settled for second after aggressively grabbing the lead just past three-parts while Pembroke Newt (Heath Campbell) had his two-race win streak halted as he could rally for no better than third best in the contest. The win streak did continue for Fast Del in the second stakes division though as the Maine-bred son of Fast Company claimed his third consecutive top tally for the Ben Bill & Will Stable. Driver Gary Mosher leisurely steered the outside path from the get go before eventually gaining the lead as the field approached the 5/8th pole. Once on the point though, instead of tiring, the colt appeared re-energized as he distanced himself from the field with every stride. Even as the pack began to close in late, Mosher sat chilly and unworried as he let his charge glide across the wire in an unhurried clocking of 1:58. Drama King (Dan Deslandes), the early pacesetter, held on for the runner-up share while Maynard B (Greg Bowden) closed in late to garner the show dough. In other news, the third oldest divisional track record to be found on the books was broken on Sunday as the Donald Richards owned and trained colt, The Fighter, toured the oval in 2:00.3, becoming the fastest three-year-old trotting stud to ever win a race at Scarborough Downs. Driven to victory by regular pilot Mark Athearn, the effort supplanted the previous benchmark of 2:00.4 established back in 1997 by Kentucky Yankee and the legendary driver, James Dougherty. Of particular note here, Dougherty and Richards, lifelong friends, have teamed up to campaign many racehorses over the years so it is profoundly ironic and perhaps perfectly fitting, that a Richards trainee should replace a Dougherty charge in the local annuls. Live racing continues for two more weeks at Scarborough Downs on a two day a week schedule with the Saturday cards scheduled to get underway at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) and the popular Sunday matinees kicking off at 1:05 p.m. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs
Scarborough, Maine (Saturday, August 16, 2014) - Maine Sire Stakes action returned to Scarborough Downs on Saturday (8-16) as the three-year-old filly pacing division visited the seaside oval for the fifth and final time this year in preliminary leg competition before embarking on their late-summer fairgrounds swing. The state-bred fillies split out into three dashes with slight upsets sneaking up on the punters in the first two splits before order would be restored by a heavily backed favorite in the final stakes event of the day. Shadytouch took full advantage of drawing into the weakest of the three flights on Saturday as the daughter of Shady Character settled third in the early going before swinging three-wide off the final turn to just get up at the wire in a jam packed photo finish. Handled by driver Mike Cushing for owner Neal Tranten, the sophomore lass took a new lifetime mark of 2:01 as she won for only the second time in her career in the $10,076 split. Big Bad Rose (Greg Bowden) threw in a game runner-up placing in extended overland fashion as she appeared to be on the verge of regaining her outstanding freshman championship season form. Sweet Catastrophe (Kevin Switzer) rode the conservative inside path for third. Veteran driver Gary Mosher utilized his vast array of talents to dictate the terms from the get go in the $10,075 second division as he confidently steered Fast Pat to the early lead before awaiting the expected challenge of heavily favored Cheryl Leigh. Mosher stung the bettor's choice to the quarter, in an adequate clocking of 29.3, before finally cutting her loose just past the 3/8th pole. Fast Pat then sat the pocket trip behind the softened up leader, biding her time covered up before pouncing to victory at the wire. The daughter of Neutralize scored her maiden win for owner Ben Bill and Will Stable timed in 2:00.4 while lighting the board at 11-1 odds. Princess Wave (Heath Campbell), who appeared much sturdier in the turns this week, charted a game first-over trip as she ground it out for the place. Cheryl Leigh (David Ingraham) faded slightly at the wire as she settled for third best. Anticlimactically, the third and final split of the day offered little of the unexpected as the streaking Mary Rose Of Topaz effortlessly claimed the early advantage only to play a rousing game of catch-me-if-you can to the wire. With regular driver Kevin Switzer, Jr in action at the Skowhegan State Fair, trainer Ralph Andersen took to the seat on Saturday to engineer the winning strategy, enabling the daughter of Ashlee's Big Guy to claim her 5th consecutive stakes victory for veteran owner Andrew T. Card in the $9850 contest. The mile was clocked in an unhurried 2:00.3. Shurfine Babycate (Michael Cushing) sat the pocket seat throughout to gain the bridesmaid share, while B Glamorous (Drew Campbell) rode the wood for third. Live racing continues throughout the summer at Scarborough Downs with the Friday and Saturday cards scheduled to get underway at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) and the popular Sunday matinees kicking off at 1:05 p.m. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs
Scarborough, Maine (Saturday, August 9, 2014) - Maine Sire Stakes action returned to Scarborough Downs on Saturday (8-9) as the harness racing three-year-old filly pacing division took center stage with the sophomore lasses divided into three splits contested for purses totaling just shy of the $30,000 mark. Five fillies finished within a length of each other in the first split with Cheryl Leigh persevering by a mere nostril over the front running Princess Wave after taking the battle to the pacesetter from just before the midway point. With driver Kevin Switzer handling the reins, Princess Wave lost ground and struggled in every turn allowing Cheryl Leigh and David Ingraham to take the advantage in the bends, but the plucky filly bounced back gamely in the straight-aways to even out the score. The battle was on though as the duo matched strides through the stretch with the outcome decided by one of the tightest photo finish prints in recent memory. Cheryl Leigh, a daughter of Fast Company and the Albatross mare Think Of Me Fondly, is owned by Roland Cole of Wells, Maine. The win, timed in 2:01.1, was her fourth of the season from just six appearances .Princess Wave settled for the bridesmaid share as she recovered from last week's off-the-board outing, the first such effort of her career. DancersPass (Wallace Watson) rallied from far off the pace to secure her 2nd straight third place showing. Both the photo finish camera and Scarborough's fifty-year-old tote board got a major workout as the second division crossed the wire with the gorgeous long shot, On Wings Of Silver and driver Wallace Watson persevering by the slightest of margins over the pacesetting favorite, Big Bad Rose. On Wings of Silver returned bars of gold at the Mutuels on Saturday as she was sent to the gate at generous 24-1 odds for proud owners Robert and Diane Frazier of Kennebunk, Maine as they watched their home-bred daughter of Berley take a new lifetime mark of 2:00.4. Big Bad Rose (Greg Bowdon), last season's freshman champion finished second best with B Glamorous (Heath Campbell) grabbing the show dough. Mary Rose Of Topaz extended her winning streak to four consecutive scores while speeding in pillar to post for driver Kevin Switzer, Jr. in the final stakes dash of the day. Once on the lead, the daughter of the near-millionaire stallion, Ashlee's Big Guy, never appeared in peril as owner Andrew T. Card's home bred has now found the best stride of her career as summer begins to wane. LP'S Shyla (Kevin Switzer) clinging to the old adage that two seconds equal a win, laid claim to runner-up status for the second straight week while Fannie Porter (Drew Campbell) finished in the top three for the first time in her stakes career. Of particular note, the streaking Mary Rose of Topaz gave teamster Kevin Switzer, Jr. his fifth driving win on the Scarborough program to go along with three wins earlier in the day at the Topsham Fair for a grand total of eight top tallies in state of Maine action on Saturday. While the stakes win was certainly the most lucrative victory lap of the day, the most satisfying surely was the 1:53.4 tour of the Topsham Fairground oval behind Art Of Illusion as the duo established a blazing new track record at the mid-coast venue. This effort obliterated the former Topsham benchmark of 1:55.3 established in 2012 by Mr Nice Guy and Kevin Switzer, Sr. Live racing continues throughout the summer at Scarborough Downs with the Friday and Saturday cards scheduled to get underway at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) and the popular Sunday matinees kicking off at 1:05 p.m. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs
Saturday, July 12, 2014 (Scarborough, Maine) - Maine Sire Stakes action returned to Scarborough Downs on Saturday as the 3-year-old filling pacing division split out into three dashes contested for purses in excess of $10,000 per. Dansan Flicka (David Ingraham) took full advantage of a favorable early pace scenario to grab victory at 22-1 odds in the first division. While morning-line favorites Shurfine Baby Cate and Princess Wave hooked up in a determined quest for the top, Dansan Flicka sat patient at the wood. The front-end frolic continued for much of the mile with Ingraham pulling his charge to power past the softened up duo and secure his pacer's maiden win timed in 2:01.3. Dansan Flicka, the daughter of Destry Hanover, is owned by Dana Childs of Saco, Maine. Princess Wave (Kevin Switzer, Jr.) tasted defeat for the first time this year but held on for second, while On Wings of Silver (Wallace Watson) rallied for the show. Mary Rose of Topaz (Kevin Switzer, Jr.) continued to show solid improvement as she grabbed her first career victory in the second stakes division. Another early speed duel, this between Fast Pat and Big Bad Rose, created a favorable scenario for the daughter of Ashlee's Big Guy, who sat third at the rail behind the speed of that robust opening panel. Once taken to the lead, she extended to an easy victory timed in 1:59.3 to the delight of owner, Andrew T. Card of Billerica, Massachusetts. Fast Pat (Gary Mosher) held for place, while Big Bad Rose (Greg Bowden) settled for third. Cheryl Leigh (David Ingraham) regained her winning stride in the third division, recovering from her upset loss in stakes competition last weekend. Sitting third throughout the mile, the daughter of Fast Company pounced late to secure the narrowest of victories in a jam-packed photo. Owned by Roland Cole of Wells, Maine, the filly secured a brand-new lifetime record of 2:01.1. Your Special (Drew Campbell) was second; Pembroke Lynn (Heath Campbell) rallied from far back for third. In other news: Driver Kevin Switzer, Jr. held the hot hand on Saturday, scoring four wins from the eleven-race card. Live racing resumes at the Downs on Sunday with a 1:05 pm post. By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs
Sunday, July 06, 2014 (Scarborough, Maine) - Maine Sire Stakes action returned to Scarborough Downs on Sunday (7/6) with the 3-year-old colt pacers taking center stage, racing three splits for purses in excess of $10,000 per dash. Trainer James Smallwood's roster came to the forefront on Sunday securing top honors in two of the tree divisions. Drama King (Dan Deslandes) mounted a convincing rally to overcome the unexpected early speed of Dansan Clyde before having to dig down deep to withstand the persistent late charge of Whip Chaser. The win marked the third consecutive trip down victory lane for the son of B Dramatic, who is owned by James Smallwood of Windsor, Maine. The mile was timed in a lifetime best of 2:00 flat. Whip Chaser (John Nason) was second; Dansan Clyde (Kevin Switzer, Jr.) faded to third. Alittlebitcountry doubled the pleasure of owner/trainer Smallwood, taking a speedy new lifetime mark of 1:58.4, erasing nearly 5 seconds from his previous best, with driver David Ingraham calling the shots. The son of Ashlee's Big Guy, like his stable mate, rallied smartly to secure his first stakes win of the season, out-dueling David The Saint (Mark Athearn) in the stretch to just get up at the wire. David The Saint was second; With Cracked Ice (Wallace Watson) rallying for the show. Blackmalin (Greg Bowden) took victory in the third division, reclaiming the form that made him a seven-time winner last season. The son of Shady Character led the field twice around the oval to secure his first sophomore score. Owned in tandem by Florence O'Keefe and Dean Malin, the gelding was never seriously threatened during the mile as he glided to an easy three-length margin, timed in 1:58.2, the fastest stakes split of the afternoon. Scarborough Downs was pleased to welcome the 3-year-old trotting divisions of the Maine Sire Stakes program as they relocated to the Seaside Oval after their divisions were rained out at Bangor Raceway on Friday (7/4). Three divisions were carded on a non-wagering basis, with Kate At The Gate (Gary Mosher) claiming victory in the filly division, timed in 2:01.3. The daughter of Current Cast is owned by the East Pond Stable of Waterville, Maine. The colts split out into two divisions with CCC (Kim Ireland), a daughter of Musclini, claiming victory timed in 2:03.2 as she was cheered on by owners Dennis and Deborah Foss of Rye, New Hampshire. Bickmore claimed victory in the second colt division as he made his very first start under the tutelage of driver/trainer Ivan Davies. The son of Noble Venture, owned by Stephen Hall of Newport, Maine, took a brand new lifetime mark of 2:02.1. In other news: Driver Drew Campbell continued to hold the hottest hand, scoring five wins on Sunday's program as he followed up on his grand-slam performance on Saturday. Live racing returns to Scarborough Downs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week at 4:30 pm and Sunday at 1:05 pm. By Michael Sweeney
Maine Sire Stakes Championships for the 3-year-old divisions were decided on Sunday (10/14) at Scarborough Downs. An enthusiastic harness racing crowd came forth to witness the combat as the Maine-breds battled for purses in excess of $77,000 per split.
Maine Sire Stakes harness racing activity wound down on Sunday (9/2) as the 2-year-old preliminary rounds were completed at Scarborough Downs; a day dominated by the Wallace Watson Stable. Driver/trainer Watson sent two stakes hopefuls to the post and walked away victorious with both.