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
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
(Sunday, June 29, 2014- Scarborough, Maine) - Drew Campbell, a perennial power house at Scarborough Downs, secured career driving victory #3,500 at the Seaside Oval on Sunday (6/29). Heading into the day, Campbell needed two wins to reach his latest milestone and quickly got on the winning stride, grabbing one of the victories in the second race with a gate-to-wire performance behind the pacing mare, Saturday Night Dancer. Campbell then had to fret the afternoon away waiting until the 12th and final dash before tasting victory once again. "When I looked at today's card, I had thought I had a pretty good shot in the last race to hit it," said Campbell, who was met in the Winner's Circle by a crowd of cheering fans and horsemen. "But, honestly, I really have to tip my hat to the guys who get 4,000 or 5,000 wins. Man, it's a lot of hard work." Campbell's benchmark win came with the Adrian Wisher-trainee, It Hurts Me, who won in typical front-running fashion, Campbell's trademark tactic. This strategy is so familiar to the local fans that his license plate on his truck proclaims, ISENDEM. In other news: The Maine Sire Stakes 3-year-old colt division made its second appearance of the year at Scarborough Downs on Sunday. Pembroke Newt (Heath Campbell) grabbed victory in the first of three divisions, scooting up the inside path to secure the win and grab the lion's share of the $10,089 purse. The son of Neutralize is owned by William Varney of Bangor, Maine and trained by Valerie Grondin. Alittlebitcountry (David Ingraham) was second, while David the Saint (Mark Athearn) was third, beaten just half a length. Drama King (Dan Deslandes) remained undefeated on the season, grabbing his second consecutive stakes victory in convincing fashion. The son of B Dramattic, owned by James Smallwood of Windsor, Maine, paid a generous $15.40 to win in the $10,316 split. Zip It (Kevin Switzer) was second; Dansan Clyde (Kevin Switzer, Jr.) was third. Fast Del (Gary Mosher) last season's freshman champion, regained the winning stride in the $10,314 third flight. Sent to the gate as the bettor's choice, the son of Fast Company is owned by Ben Bill & Will Stable of Carmel, Maine. Blackmalin (Greg Bowden) recovered from last week's disastrous trip to score runner up honors, while Whip Chaser (John Nason) was third. Live racing resumes on Thursday, July 3rd featuring the 2-year-old trotting divisions of the Maine Sire Stakes program. Post time is 4:30 pm. 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
Denver Cyclone captured the State of Maine Record for Two Year Old Colts as he glided to victory in 1:57.3 in Maine Sire Stakes harness racing action at Bangor Raceway. Reined and trained by Wallace Watson, the son of Western Cyclone remained undefeated for owner Alfred Ross of South Dartmouth, MA.