Last week I did a column on racetrack management needing to do their homework on allowing harness racing people to compete at their tracks when they have a questionable history. It came about because of situations involving individuals who may or may not have been allowed to compete and to try and shed some light to readers on how tracks make these decisions and why. It’s a tough subject insofar as most tracks hold the key to allowing someone to continue working in our industry. Some say it is not right that tracks make a decision such as this, some say it needs to be done for the majority of horsemen and the betting public that do play by the rules and that many tracks are too easy to let a “bad boy” back in racing. The story created a bit of controversy and I received a lot of emails and calls from track managers, horsemen and even betting fans who gave me their pros and cons on the article. And I appreciate everyone who commented and hope others take the time to voice their opinions. The most interesting of the calls and emails I received was from one of the horsemen who I pointed out in the story was allowed to return to racing after a questionable past. His name is Marc Mosher and he is currently racing at Cal Expo in northern California. Here is his story. Let’s do some background first for the readers on how you came to get involved in harness racing. “I first lived in Maine and was introduced to harness racing by my grandfather, Merle Mosher,” Marc explained. “He was a dairy farmer and as a hobby he always had two or three horses that he trained and drove so I knew about harness racing early on. My brother Gary is nine years old than me and he was already helping on the farm and started with the horses. He developed into a top driver and has nearly 6,000 wins. “When I was in high school and during the summer Gary had a stable at the track and I would help out with the horses,” Marc explained. “After school and most weekends I would be at the track and I knew I wanted to work in racing.” Early in his career Marc became one of the youngest drivers in the sport to reach 1,000 career wins in 1993. When Marc started training and racing on his own in Maine he had some issues and fines with racing officials but attributed that to being young. “I was an immature young man who did not know better,” Marc laughed. “I would show up late to drive a horse, take the breathalyzer test after a couple of races. But I soon learned to settle down and show some respect to the officials. They were doing their job. I never drank or did drugs but I guess you could say I had a chip in my shoulder early on.” Marc then went on to a decent career in racing. He had more than 1,600 wins as a driver. Always had a stable of horse to train and was a sought after catch driver, but then his life in racing came to screeching halt after the events of February 20, 2001 at Monticello Raceway. According to the report from the New York Racing and Wagering Board “ You attempted to influence the outcome of a pari-mutuel race by authorizing, directing and causing a hypodermic injection of a prohibited substance to the horse Too Much Data and removed the horse from the track after it died without the required equine death certificate and written consent of the presiding judge.” I asked Marc to explain the events of that ill-fated day. “I have no reason to lie about anything that happened that day,” Marc said. “We had a horse in to go from my stable at Monticello Raceway. I had asked the veterinarian to give him something for his bleeding. It was not lasix but I told the vet to go ahead and treat him. Then afterwards the horse passed away. “I was going to do the right thing,” Marc said, “And inform the officials what had happened but the vet asked me to not do it. He wanted me to cover it up and get the horse off the grounds. From there it was a nightmare. “The last thing I would never do is abuse an animal,” Marc said. “You would not believe the stories that have come out about how I abused this horse. I wanted to take care of this horse’s bleeding problem but did not want to put him on lasix. I made a stupid mistake that has cost me my career in harness racing. I was not trying to fix a race. I was trying to help the horse so he could continue racing. “In this industry, I guess like all others, stories get changed around,” Marc said. “The rumors being spread about me were outrageous and people did not want to hear it from my side. They wanted to believe what others made up about the events that happened. “I can only blame myself for everything,” Marc added. “I should have never listened to the vet and just taken my lumps for treating the horse on race day and did the right thing. The commission at the time really did not want to hear what I had to say as much as they listened to the vet’s story. It was just a total disaster. A couple of months later the commission finally understood my side of the story. But you can’t change history.” Marc received a two-year suspension and did not return to racing until 2004 where he trained and drove at Rockingham Park and Plainridge Racecourse. He did not even try and get his license back in New York. “New York was not ready yet to give me my trainer/driver license back.” Marc said. “They said they would give me a groom’s license to start with so I went to New England where I could train and drive. Then in 2006 I had another incident when my vet had left medication for another trainer to pick up and the authorities said I was wrong in allowing this to take place and convicted me on a conspiracy charge. I have not and will not name the vets involved and again I told the authorities the truth, but when you have a past record they are very quick not to believe you. “I then just used my groom’s license and did not train or drive from 2006 to 2012,” Marc explained. “My wife was a trainer so the horses were in her name and we ran the stable. The officials knew all of this and they were fine with it. That is why you do not see me have any drives or trains for those years.” Then in 2012 Marc was able to get a provisional license to train and drive at Harrah’s Philadelphia, but things did not work out after just two weeks. “After the meet opened, I qualified a horse at the track.” Marc explained. “A few days before he raced I treated him with Banamine paste because he had problems with his stomach and ulcers. Then he comes up positive. So then they excluded me. They tried to fine me $1,000 but then after I got a lawyer they dropped it to $500 but still kicked me out because I was on a provisional license.” Marc packed up and was fortunate to have a friend in long time trainer/driver Syl King, Jr., who had one of the biggest stable of horses competing in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Fairs that are run all summer long throughout the state. King hired Marc on to help train and drive in the fairs where King led all trainers in wins and purses won this year. Marc had a great season with more than 20 wins and a universal driving rating of .350. From there Marc applied to the authorities at Cal Expo and they said they would give him a chance to train and drive again. What does the future now hold for Marc Mosher? What is he looking for after this season at Cal Expo? “I want to come back east next spring and drive in the fairs during the summer and help Syl again with his stable,” Marc said. “I want to get back to training a decent stable of horses on the east coast. I would concentrate on training and not so much on driving. I want to try and just train young trotters. I have always done well with them. Over the years now I have also learned a lot about shoeing and feel I can once again become a good trainer. “I came forward in doing this interview with you,” Marc said, “so I can tell people the truth in what happened years ago. I want to be a productive and active part of this sport again. I have served my time for the infractions I was responsible for and I want to be a positive force in the industry. I just want a chance to prove myself and help this industry to grow.” I thanked Marc Mosher for coming forward and telling his side of the story for everyone to read. He has admitted to making some major mistakes in his career, explained what took place and also that he paid his dues for years and is now seeking a chance to return. I would guess that if Marc completes the season at Cal Expo without any incidents that he may have a chance to return to pari-mutuel racing on the East Coast in 2014. If he does and there are no further incidents then I will be the first to congratulate him. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Scarborough, Maine - The young guns held the hot hands at Scarborough Downs on Sunday (11/10) as a pair of twenty-something drivers, Dan Deslandes and Steve Nason, took the old masters to task, winning nine of the ten races programmed. Twenty-one-year-old Dan Deslandes scored five victories on the card, vaulting him into second place in the drivers’ standings, overtaking veteran teamster Gary Mosher in the process. Deslandes now trails top pilot Drew Campbell on the leader’s board by 31 wins. Not to be outdone, Steve Nason, the 23-year-old up-and-comer, engineered a grand slam performance on Sunday, steering four down victory lane. by Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs
Scarborough, Maine – The fans at Scarborough Downs were treated to an overpowering performance from driver Drew Campbell on Sunday (10/20) as the meet’s leading driver scored five wins and four seconds on the eleven-race program. His winners included BestFillyNTown (1:58.3), Champagne Charlie (1:57.4), KitKat Du Ruisseau (1:57.1), Passion Moon (1:58.3) and Keystone Stately (2:02.4). “Looking at the program, I thought I could have a strong day today, and it worked out that way,” said Campbell. “I had a bunch of decent horses to drive and they all had good shots.” Entering Sunday’s performance, Campbell was rated the leading UDRS driver in North America, sporting a .410 rating. Aware of his current standing, Campbell downplayed any inference that it motivated his performance today. “No, I don’t think about it a lot,” Campbell remarked. “How long can that last, a week? Maybe the rest of the year. Gilles Barrieau needs about 50 more starts to get into my category and when he does, he’ll have a decent lead over me. ” Campbell continued, “the odds of holding on are slight, but if I’m batting .410, I’m doing my job, I guess.” Campbell remains on top of the Scarborough Downs’ leader board, approaching the century mark with 99 wins, holding an 11-win advantage over closest rival, Gary Mosher. Live racing continues throughout the fall meeting with a Friday/Saturday/Sunday schedule and a 12:05 pm starting time. by Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs
Saturday, October 12, 2013 (Scarborough, Maine) – The three year old Maine Sire Stakes Championship Finals were decided at Scarborough Downs on Saturday (10/12) and Obrigado wrapped up a spectacular undefeated season scoring his 13th win of the year to grab top honors in the $77,415 colt trotting final. Driven by Heath Campbell for trainer Ivan Davies, Obrigado assumed his customary front-end seat with stablemate Wakefield Fire tagging along in the two hole. At the midway point of the mile, Wakefield Fire pulled alongside of Obrigado, the tandem racing in lockstep up the back stretch before Obrigado pulled away to secure his open length victory. “I felt fortunate and grateful to be able to secure Heath Campbell as my driver this year,” said owner Mike Andrew of Gorham, Maine. “Ivan Davies, my trainer, would normally have driven but had commitments to drive a colt in the same division for his brother. Heath was the right choice.” Wakefield Fire (Ivan Davies) was second; Maine Muscle (Michael Cushing) mounted a strong rally to finish third. Mike Andrew doubled his pleasure on Stake Championship day, winning the $77,442 filly final with his home-bred trotter, Song of Virtue. Driver Ruel “Dude” Goodblood, Jr. hurried the filly to an early lead, inheriting an even bigger advantage, as co-favorite Future Cast rolled off stride approaching the quarter mile marker. That big lead proved instrumental as Race Me Liberty mounted an extremely strong late-mile rally bid, which proved too little too late to overcome Song of Virtue’s margin. “It was a pretty exciting race,” Andrew remarked. “It’s been a long, hard season and there were a lot of talented fillies out there. I’m really happy for Gordon Corey and Allison Hynes. They did a great job training her, and I’m also very happy that Dude got a chance to win a final.” Race Me Liberty (Gary Mosher) was second; Lucy From Hebron (Ivan Davies) got up for third. Darlington Stripe scored the fastest championship victory of the day, stopping the clock in a new lifetime best of 1:56.3 en route to securing her 10th win of the year in the $77,480 filly pacing division. David Ingraham, driving for owner-trainer Stephen La Casse, took the usual front runner off the car on Saturday, settling forth in the early going before pulling at the half to match strides the rest of the way with the front-running Pembroke Violet. “There was plenty of power up front,” said Ingraham. “And I didn’t want to get into a real battle in the early going. When they started to slow it down, I came at them, and I’m not surprised at all that she was able to take a new lifetime mark. She’s been a nice filly all year long.” “I want to thank David,” La Casse chimed in, “he’s handled her expertly all year. I also want to thank my parents, who planted the seed of harness racing with me, and my friend Ivan Davies, who is a great resource and always there to offer advice.” Pembroke Violet (Heath Campbell) was second; Lordy Miss Scarlet (Kevin Switzer) was third. Master of Puppets ground out a well-earned victory in the $77,496 colt pacing final, holding off a determined charge from Neutral Data to cement the narrowest of victories. “I figured Neutral Data was the best and he was behind me,” said winning driver Heath Campbell. “And he had to get by me. We battled to the finish and I held on so the strategy worked out well.” Owner Christine Catabia, in an emotional address, remarked “I’m very thankful to everyone, including, my mother-in-law, David Crochere (trainer), and Heath Campbell.” Mother-in-law Barbara Catabia, took over for tearful Christine and continued, “we only had two little broodmares, Happy Chelsea was the mother of this colt. She was just a little old mare. She died last year, and this is her last colt. We bred them ourselves, we raised them on our farm, we are just a small outfit that came through in a big way today.” Neutral Data (Wallace Watson) was second, with Johnny Fast Cash (Greg Bowden) finishing third. The Championships of the Maine Sire Stakes have now been decided for the 2013 season just as the yearlings for next year’s contest are being broken. As summer turns to fall, the cycle continues. And so it goes. Live racing continues on Sunday at Scarborough Downs with a 12:05 pm starting time. A special Columbus Day card will be featured on Monday, October 14th, also with a 12:05 pm post. by Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs
Scarborough, Maine – Scarborough Downs was once again privileged to host the 2-year old championship round of the Maine Sire Stakes program on Sunday (9/8). Nearly $250,000 in purse money was on the line as the races were contested on a picture-perfect late summer afternoon in Southern Maine. Kate At The Gate became the first champion crowned, claiming victory in the $52,111 filly trot final with driver Gary Mosher calling the shots for trainer David Crochere. The filly scored the easy victory, her sixth in a row but not before some anxious moments. Scoring down following the post parade, driver Gary Mosher discovered that the race bike was broken and the duo returned to the paddock for sulky replacement. “It was pretty scary at first when I discovered the bike was broken,” Mosher said. “And with trotting hobbles, you never know where they go when you hook up to a new bike but thankfully we got it right. She’s just a great filly. She does nothing wrong.” Owner Jack Kelley chimed in, “My daughter raised her, my son Paul broke her, and then David Crochere took over. They all did an incredible job. Driver Gary Mosher -- I don’t know if anyone does better than him in Maine.” Kate at the Gate broke well from the gate, quickly inheriting an insurmountable lead before coasting to an open lengths victory. Shes A Castoff (David Ingraham) was second Mill Site Mille (Mark Athearn) was third. Big Bad Rose claimed victory in the filly pacing final, garnering the lion’s share of the $52,400 purse offering, as she secured her fifth win of the season, third in a row. The two year old daughter of Baron Biltmore is owned and trained by Donald Dickison of New Brunswick, and was expertly steered to victory by driver Greg Bowden. As the field sprang from the gate, Fast Pat was hustled to the lead by driver Drew Campbell, speeding to the half in 58.4. Bowden sat patient tracking the early speed then pulling to the outside past the 5/8 mile marker before drawing clear and holding the late chargers at bay. “She’s the model of consistency,” Bowden said, “and I’m so happy for the Dickison family. Great connections. Long time participants in harness racing… I couldn’t be happier for them.” “We raised her from a baby,” Dickison said. “She’s nice to be around, very friendly, and she can go a little bit too. Greg drove her perfect, pulled her at the right time and once she made the lead, we just held our breath from there.” Shady Touch (Michael Cushing) was second; Princess Wave (Heath Campbell) was third. The most emotional victory of the day came in the $52,334 colt trotting final as Maine Cast, the last colt ever bred by the late Roderick Cushing, scored the upset victory. Rounding the final turn, as driver Mike Cushing pulled the trotter to the outside, the cheers of the fans crescendoed to fever pitch as the reality set in that the sentimental choice could win. “When we broke this colt, my dad was having a relapse in his battle against leukemia,” an emotionally spent Cushing explained. “When he was at the hospital and there was nothing left to do for him, all he wanted to do was go home and see the horses. We brought him to the Farmington fairgrounds where many of his friends turned out to welcome him. With my dad in the back, they drove the ambulance right onto the track. I went a training trip with the colt right behind the ambulance, and the last time my dad saw him was looking out the back window.” There was not a dry eye in the house following Cushing’ interview. Maine Cast benefited from the misfortune of heavily favored CCC who had rolled off stride before the word go, but he did what he needed to do to claim the win, with Cushing raising his whip in victory and in salute to his late father. Star Studded Cast (Mark Athearn) was second. Pembroke Castaway (Ruel Goodblood, Jr.), was third. Fast Del claimed top honors in the $52,461 colt pacing final with driver Gary Mosher exhibiting all of the skills and intuition that have earned him more than 5,500 wins during his driving career. Owned by the Ben Bill & Will Stable of Carmel, Maine, Fast Del secured the pocket journey behind Maynard B, who was part of the powerful Gerald Smith trained entry. Approaching the half, Blackmailin, the other part of the entry, pulled to the outside in an effort to set up the outer flow. Mosher, recognizing the danger of having both entry mates racing one-two, decided on the unconventional strategy of pulling the pocket at the midway point of the mile. “I saw him coming and decided to take my chances,” said Mosher. “There was no sense waiting, it was all on the line. I’d beaten Maynard B first up before, so I know my colt was capable, and he came through when it counted.” “He came on late, took time to develop, but he’s a very nice colt. Look for him to have a great season next year.” Maynard B (Steve Nason) was second; David the Saint (Mark Athearn) was third. Scarborough Downs goes on hiatus for the fall fair season in Maine, opening October 11th, racing three days a week: Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:05 pm throughout the fall meeting. Scarborough will play host to the Maine Sire Stakes 3-Year-Old Championship Finals on Saturday, October 12th. by Mike Sweeney
Scarborough, Maine - More than $245,000 in purse money will be on the line on Sunday (9-8) as the freshman championships of the Maine Sire Stakes program will be decided in four divisions at Scarborough Downs. Restricted to two-year-old Maine-bred standardbred races horses, these title matches will be part of an extremely strong 12-race program with first post scheduled for 1:05 PM (EDT). The two trotting divisions are headlined by standout performers with Kate At The Gate and CCC both bidding to cap off dominant seasons. Kate At The Gate, a daughter of Current Cast, who is owned by the East Pond Stable of Oakland, Maine, rides a sterling five-race win streak into battle on Sunday as she bids to taste victory for the 8th time from just her 10th career start. Gary Mosher will be in the customary driver’s seat for trainer David Crochere. CCC, a fourth generation Maine-bred, trained and reined by Kim Ireland for owners Deborah and Dennis Foss of Rye, NH, comes to the big dance fresh off a track record performance at the Windsor Fair and will also be gunning for the 8th win of his freshman season. The filly pacing division appears to be the most competitive on the card with multiple entries boasting multiple stakes wins this season. Big Bad Rose, the pride and joy of the New Brunswick contingent, roars to the raceway off a lifetime best outing at the Windsor Fair in last, while Cheryl Leigh and Princess Wave stake their case for championship consideration based on their tally of five wins apiece this year. The central story within the colt pacing division centers around the powerful Gerald Smith juggernaut as his entry of Maynard B and Blackmalin account for 12 seasonal wins combined. The prodigious two-some have absolutely dominated their stakes division, having now hit the board in 19 of 21 starts. The Stakes Championship undercard will be anchored by three $6000 Free For All events which will showcase the crème de la crème of the Scarborough Downs overnight horse population. Gates open at 12:00 noon in anticipation of the 1:05 post time Sunday at Scarborough Downs. A 50/50 raffle will be conducted to benefit the MSBOA Scholarship Fund, and The Downs Club will be open for watching and wagering on the racing action. Admission is free. by Mike Sweeney
July 28, 2013 (Scarborough, Maine) – Trainer Gerald Smith continues to exert dominance over the three-year-old colt division of the Maine Sire Stakes program which was contested at Scarborough Downs on Sunday (7/28) in three splits, each going for purses in excess of $10,600. Smith added two more win tallies to his seasonal skein, now claming six victories after the completion of four divisional legs. SUMMERWINDS ATLAST tasted stakes victory for the third time this season, rebounding from a disappointing 3rd place finish in his recent Bangor start in which he suffered the indignation of broken equipment. Skipping a week following that unfortunate appearance, the three-year-old son of Western Cyclone reclaimed the winning stride with Greg Bowden driving for owner Florence O’Keefe of Old Orchard Beach. UTAH SKYE (Kevin Switzer) was second, and GOIN MANSTYLE (Wallace Watson) was third. Continuing the success of the Gerald Smith roster, stablemate JOHNNY FAST CASH scored his second consecutive win, third stakes win of the year, and fifth overall top tally. Also owned by Florence O’Keefe, this three-year-old son of NEUTRALIZE was aided in his quest to be the best by driver Greg Bowden. The score was one of three on the program for driver Bowden. Runner up honors went to MASTER OF PUPPETS (Heath Campbell), while ALL DONE FOOLING (Joey Mosher) claimed show dough. In the Gerald Smith-devoid third split, NEUTRAL DATA reigned supreme scoring his second stakes win of the season with driver/trainer Wallace Watson calling the shots for owners Harold and Nancy Dresser of Buxton. WILLY MAC (Gary Mosher) was second and EVERYBODY LIES (David Ingraham) was third. Live racing continues at Scarborough Downs next weekend on Friday and Saturday at 4 pm and Sunday at 1:05 pm. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs
Harness racing reinsman Gary Mosher continued his firm stranglehold on the top spot of the leader's board by casting a spell over the Scarborough Downs oval on Saturday (4/6), winning five of the ten races on the program, posting a total of 9 wins over the first four performances of the 2013 harness racing meet.
The gates swung open for the 63rd consecutive season at Scarborough Downs as Maine harness racing sprung to life on Saturday in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.
A competitive ten race program will herald the dawn of the 2013 harness racing meeting at Scarborough Downs on Saturday (March 30), featuring a balanced blend of tough as nails claimers, up-and-coming youngsters, classy conditioned foes and anchored by a stellar grouping of Free For All pacers.
Gary Mosher juggernaut continued at Scarborough Downs on Sunday (September 21) as the man in the familiar red and green colors worked out six winning strategies en route to engineering the most dominant performance by a driver that the local fans have been treated to this harness racing season.
Class came through on Saturday at Scarborough Downs as the harness racing veteran pacer, Mattdultery, crossed over the half-million-dollar mark in career earnings while recording his 28th lifetime win. Now owned by Kevin and Alec Gee of Falmouth, Maine, the 8-year-old son of Real Desire ground out the well-earned victory, racing first over and pouncing late with driver Shawn Thayer calling the shots.
On a sweltering late summer afternoon the crowds gathered at Scarborough to witness the inaugural running of the Irving Richardson Memorial Invitational. Seven top pacers assembled at the Seaside Oval to contest the $9,500 purse offering, and when the dust had settled, a new track record holder had been crowned.
Harness racing rookies and veterans alike came to the forefront at Scarborough Downs this weekend. On Friday third-year, twenty-one-year-old driver, Steve Nason, posted a grand slam driving performance, and disproving the old adage that 'youth will be served,' veteran driver Gary Mosher stepped up to the plate belting a four bagger of his own on Sunday with wins in the first four races on the program.
Bob Sumner has had a gutsful of harness racing officialdom. And the former leading trainer at Yonkers Raceway says he will never train again because of blind bureaucracy. 'Many men and women in prison, and on death row, are serving time for something they didn't do - and I now know how they feel. I've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending myself because deep down I know I'm innocent.
Dua Don N flaunted his youthful enthusiasm at Scarborough Downs on Friday (April 27), proving that there is still plenty of life left in his old legs, as the 14-year-old secured his first win of this, his final harness racing season at the races.