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Scarborough, Maine (Friday, August 08, 2014) - Maine Sire Stakes harness racing action returned to Scarborough Downs on Friday (8-8) as the two-year-old trotting state-breds headlined the late summer performance, only to once again find the roster of the Valerie Grondin Stable stealing the spotlight. Pembroke Mistress was first to score, taking the early lead and never looking back, spinning a performance that would cause her name to become etched in the Scarborough Downs record books. The youngster claimed her share of the track record for two-year-old fillies on Friday, joining a fellow Maine-bred, Iza Bella (Ivan Davies) who had established the standard of 2:03 during the freshman Sire Stakes Finals of 2010. The daughter of CR Power Glide continued along her now familiar course as she grabbed the lion's share of the $9615 purse while remaining undefeated in stakes competition, running her string of success to six straight wins. Owned and bred by William Varney of Bangor, Maine, the precocious filly has yet to face any serious threat to her superiority, winning on Friday by an unhurried 5-3/4 lengths as driver Heath Campbell only briefly allowed her her head. Rhonwen (Ivan Davies) secured her third consecutive runner-up placing while Comcast (Mark Athearn) once again this week settled for third best. Bibidi Boo nearly matched her stable mate's record setting accomplishment while dominating action in the $9614 second division of fillies with driver Heath Campbell calling the shots from his customary seat. She mimicked the front end strategy of her barn roommate and extended out to a 3-3/4 length margin at the wire only missing her share of the track record by a mere fifth of a second. Owned in partnership by William Varney and Lynn-Marie Plouffe, the daughter of Noble Venture remains undefeated on her career as she secured her sixth consecutive score on the picture perfect afternoon. Jazz Show Shirley (Michael Graffam) grabbed the runner-up placing as she made her first career appearance sturdied by the addition of trotting hobbles. Kisses (Kim Ireland) recovered from an early misstep to rally for third place honors. The Grondin juggernaut ended at that point as the freshman colts took over center stage in their segregated $10,129 stakes split. Sampsonofravencast effortlessly tread the boards on Friday as he glided to his second consecutive stakes victory in a lifetime best of 2:04.2 for driver/trainer and co-owner Ron Cushing. The son of Current Cast remains as solid as Sears, having now finishing either first or second in all lifetime appearances, much to the delight of her other co-owner, Joseph Trice. Half Time (Ivan Davies) held firm at the wire for the place while Broadway Cast (Mark Athearn) turned near tragedy into a respectable third place effort as he recovered from an early bobble to rally into the number. In other track news, the trotter Orderingin eradicated one of Scarborough's oldest divisional track records on Friday as the four-year-old mare became the fleetest of her age and sex ever to cross the wire on top at the Downs. Driven by Heath Campbell for owner Kyle Gibbs, the daughter of Majestic Son stopped the clock in 1:59.4 eclipsing the standard of 2:00 established by D D's Copter and driver Raymond Tremblay in the 1993 version of the Legislators Trot, which was, in those days, the richest trotting event in Maine. The old record had been most recently matched by Jennys Jammies and driver Rob Dinning in 2009. 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

Scarborough, Maine (Sunday, August 03, 2014) - Maine Sire Stakes action returned to Scarborough Downs on Sunday (8-3) and the budding rivalry continued as Pembroke Maverick and Sailor Jerry matched strides for the fourth consecutive week. In all previous showdowns, Sailor Jerry and driver Andy Harrington steered the steady course, gained the lead and held off consistent late challenges from his chief rival. The tables were turned in the $9978 contest on Sunday though as driver Heath Campbell insisted on putting Pembroke Maverick on the early lead with Harrington's colt forced to take the unfamiliar two-hole seat and dog the pacesetter throughout the mile. Campbell's strategy worked to perfection as his charge swelled up on the lead and held firm at the wire to secure his very first career score in a respectable clocking of 1:59.3. The son of Western Maverick is owned in partnership by William Varney and trainer, Valerie Grondin. Sailor Jerry settled for the bridesmaid share for the first time in his career as his undefeated streak was put to an end at six straight. Hardcorjohnypawn (Kevin Switzer) threw in a strong rally to grab the show dough. The second split ($9979 purse) saw Cruzin Maverick earn his first stakes victory, power-moving his way to a mid-mile lead and holding off the late stretch challenge of Pembroke Wildcat to stop the clock in a new lifetime best of 1:58.2. That clocking, tagged the son of Western Maverick as the fleetest colt in his division so far this season supplanting Pembroke Wildcat's former claim on that honor. Another son of Western Maverick, Cruzin Maverick was teamed to victory by David Ingraham for owner Stephen La Casse. Pembroke Wildcat's (Heath Campbell) three-race win streak came to an end as he held on for second while Harttattack (Kevin Switzer, Jr) rallied from far back to get up for third. In other track news, Drew Campbell held the hot hand on Sunday as the meet's top rated pilot steered four winners down victory lane to add to his imposing margin atop the leader's board. Live racing resumes next weekend at Scarborough Downs with the Friday and Saturday cards scheduled to get underway at 4:30 p.m. (EDT). The popular Sunday matinees kick off at 1:05 p.m. For more information, visit or our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine (Sunday, July 27, 2014) - Maine Sire Stakes action returned to Scarborough Downs on Sunday (7-27) as the two-year-old colt pacing division made their second straight appearance. Split into two distinct flights whose makeup differed from last week's lineups, the competition was surely varied yet the results held true to form. Sailor Jerry rode a perfect five for five career record into battle in the first $10,154 flight and was sent to the post as the prohibitive fan favorite. The Cheyenne Hollywood colt grabbed the early lead which he maintained comfortably throughout the mile until in deep stretch he felt pressure as Pembroke Maverick (Heath Campbell) pulled along side. This being the first time the prolific winner had ever been tested from behind, driver Andy Harrington touched the colt with his whip for perhaps the first time in his competitive career, but unlike Niatross at Saratoga, Sailor Jerry stayed upright and true, remaining undefeated for owner/trainer Michael Graffam. Pembroke Maverick fell just a half-length short as the runner up while Hardcorjohnypawn (Kevin Switzer) rallied gamely for third in a mile which was timed in 2:04.4 over a muddy surface. The winning streak also continued for driver Heath Campbell's Pembroke Wildcat as the freshman son of Western Maverick claimed his 3rd consecutive top score in the $9978 second division. Owned by William Varney, the gelding glided pillar to post timed in 2:06.1 over a deteriorating track rated 2-seconds off after absorbing the result of a passing thunderstorm. Apollo's Chariot (Ron Cushing), who had finished second to the streaking Sailor Jerry in each of his last two appearances, had to settle for the bridesmaid share once again today while Western Moment (David Ingraham) just got up over Seablisscuit (Michael Graffam) to grab Show dough. In other track news, driver Heath Campbell held the hot hand on Sunday steering three winners down victory lane while Kevin Switzer, Jr. celebrated his 27th birthday with a pair of wins on the card. Live harness racing resumes at Scarborough Downs next week on a Thursday through Saturday schedule with post time set for 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with the Sunday matinee slated for a 1:05 p.m. starting time. By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine (Friday, June 6, 2014) - The freshman trotting divisions of the Maine Sire Stakes program returned to action at Scarborough Downs on Thursday (7-24) and the magic continued for Bibbidi Boo as the daughter of Noble Venture once again chose the pike route while extending her unbeaten streak to five consecutive scores in the $9614 contest. Owned in partnership by the tandem of William Varney and Lynne-Marie Plouffe, the state-bred filly deftly circumnavigated the Scarborough course on Thursday without encountering any serious threat to her impressive skein and with driver Heath Campbell barely breaking a sweat during the unhurried (2:05.3) contest before drawing clear for the 4-3/4 length margin. Rhonwen (Ivan Davies) settled for second while My Sweet Alex (Kim Ireland) held firm for third. William Varney owned trotters have pretty much dominated the early portion of stakes season in Maine and the mastery continued in the second $9615 filly split of the day with Pembroke Mistress joining her stablemate Bibbidi Boo in receiving winners circle accolades. The daughter of CR Power Glide extended her unbeaten stakes streak to four-in-row as she tracked the early speed of the trotter Kisses (Kim Ireland) before kissing the pace-setter goodbye in deep stretch to get up for the 1-1/4 length win timed in a new lifetime best clocking of 2:05.1 with driver Heath Campbell in his customary seat for trainer Valerie Grondin. Kisses once again settled for runner-up status, the 4th consecutive time she's played the bridesmaid role, with Tropical Trice (Ron Cushing) third best in the dash. The Varney/Grondin/Campbell consortium hit pay dirt in the $10,129 colt division as the trio completed the natural stakes Trifecta with a nifty effort from Pembroke Jack B whose undefeated record was put by the wayside just the week prior. Another son of CR Power Glide, he stalked the good early speed generated by Sampsonofravencast (Ron Cushing) twice around the oval while appearing outmatched by the pacesetter. Sampsonofravencast veered wide off the final turn though and seemingly encouraged by the sudden appearance of daylight, Pembroke Jack B drove determinedly up the inside path to persevere by a slight neck at the wire. The mile was timed in a career best 2:06.2. Sampsonofravencast settled for place with Broadway Cast (Ruel Goodblood, Jr.) recovering from a misstep before the start to rally for third. Live harness racing continues at Scarborough Downs throughout the weekend with 4:30 PM (EDT) posts on Friday and Saturday. The Sunday matinee gets underway at 1:05 PM and will feature the freshman pacing division of the Maine Sire Stakes program. by Mike Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

Sunday, July 20, 2014 (Scarborough, Maine) - Maine Sire Stakes activity returned to Scarborough Downs on Sunday (7/20) as the 2-year-old pacing colt divisions split out into two dashes contested for purses of $10,153 apiece. Sailor Jerry steamed full speed ahead as he continued his undefeated streak by scoring his fifth career victory. The Maine-bred son of Cheyenne Hollywood has answered every call this season while being deftly handled by driver Andy Harrington for owner/trainer Mike Graffam. Sailor Jerry sat second in the early going but reclaimed the lead with little trouble at the quarter and from that point on, the race became a mere formality as the freshman colt was never seriously threatened, completing the mile timed in a leisurely 2:00.4. Apollo's Chariot (Ron Cushing) was second; Cruzin Maverick (David Ingraham) rallied for third. Victory was claimed in the second division by Pembroke Wildcat (Heath Campbell), who took a new lifetime mark of 1:59.1 as he insisted on a front-end seat while grinding to the lead through a zippy opening panel of 28.4. The William Varney-owned son of Western Maverick never looked back from that point as he glided to a 5 ¾ length margin to grab his third Maine Sire's win from four career starts. Hardcorjohnypawn (Kevin Switzer) was second, while Reckless Rebel (Gary Mosher) was third. In other news, Drew Campbell held the hot hand, winning three dashes from the nine race card. Live racing returns to The Downs on Thursday, July 24th as the Maine Sire Stakes 2-year-old trotting divisions come to town, post time: 4:30 pm. 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              

Thursday, July 03, 2014 (Scarborough, Maine) - Maine sire stakes action returned to Scarborough Downs on Thursday (7/3) with the two-year-old trotting divisions taking center stage. The appearance marked the second week that the freshman turkey footers graced the Seaside Oval and once again, the William Varney-owned entries dominated. Bibbidy Boo (Heath Campbell), a daughter of Noble Venture, remained perfect on her career, scoring her third consecutive win in the first $9,440 filly division. Tropical Trice (Ron Cushing) was second; Jazz Show Shirley (Andy Harrington) was third. Her stablemate, Pembroke Mistress (Heath Campbell), a daughter of CR Power Glide, remained perfect in stake competition in the $9,430 second division. Kisses (Kim Ireland) was second; Rhonwen (Ivan Davies) was third. Campbell made his 3rd appearance in the Scarborough Winner's Circle with Pembroke Jack B, who took top honors in the $9,439 colt division. The son of CR Power Glide remained undefeated on his career, securing his third lifetime win, to give owner William Varney the Trifecta of stakes victories. Sampsonofravencast (Ron Cushing) was second; Half Time (Ivan Davies) was third. With no further Varney entries in sight, the second colt division was won by Broadway Cast (Mark Athearn). The son of Current Cast is owned in partnership by Thomas Dillon and Walter Hight and scored the first win of his career in the $9,615 dash. Just SayMo (Kim Ireland) was second; A Maine Adventure (Wallace Watson) was third. Live racing continues this weekend at Scarborough Downs on Friday and Saturday at 4:30 and Sunday at 1:05 pm. Sire Stakes action returns to the Downs with the 3-year-old filly pacers on Saturday (4:30) and the 3-year old colt pacers on Sunday (1:05 pm) by Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

(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

Thursday, June 26, 2014 (Scarborough, Maine) -The freshman trotting division of the Maine Sire Stakes program hit the ground on-stride on Thursday (6/26) at Scarborough Downs. The Maine-bred action was completely dominated by the trio of driver Heath Campbell, trainer Valerie Grondin and owner William Varney, who sent three trotters to the post with all three easily earning trips to the winner's circle. Bibbidi Boo scored top honors in the first filly split, coasting gate to wire timed in 2:06.5 to claim the lion's share of the $9440 purse offering. Co-owned by William Varney and Lynne-Marie Plouffe, the daughter of Noble Venture remains undefeated in her career, a perfect 2 for 2. Pembroke Mistress, a two-year-old daughter of CR Power Glide, followed her stablemate's example, taking the pike route to her first career victory timed in 2:08 in the second filly division, which went postward for a purse of $9,439. The trifecta was completed in the colt trotting division as Pembroke Jack B also glided pillar to post to establish a brand new lifetime mark of 2:06.3, his second win from two career starts. The son of CR Power Glide earned the lion's share of the $10,304 purse. Stakes action continues on Saturday (4:30 pm post) with the 3-year-old filly pacers, and stakes activity wraps up for the weekend on Sunday (1:05 pm post) with the 3-year-old colt pacers making their second appearance at the Seaside Oval. by Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

Springhill, N.S. native Teesha Symes has been around race horses her whole life. Now 25, she finds herself looking after the top aged pacer, in Canada, for trainer Dr. Ian Moore.  “Three days after I was born we made a stop at the local track - on the way home from the hospital - and ever since then I’ve been around the horses,“ said Symes. The daughter of Charles (Chuck) and Shirley has been all over the continent working with horses and she’s had her hands on some good ones over the years. “I spent about six months working with Shadow Play back in 2008,” she says. “I’ve also looked after Royal Becquet (2009 Gold Cup and Saucer starter), Mr Perseverance (2013 Paul Bunyan Invitational winner in Bangor) and now I’m enjoying my time with State Treasurer (two-time winner of the Molson Pace in London).” State Treasurer, owned by Sally MacDonald of Souris, PE and Paul MacDonald of Regina, SK, has got to be the number one-ranked aged pacer in Canada, right now, with his four straight wins - including his latest victory - a stunning last-to-first swoop, of the field, after making a bobble at the start of the $150,000 Molson Pace. “After he made that break at the start - I found it hard to even watch the race... Especially at the half when he was still sitting last,” Symes explains. “Then he began to pick them off and I made my way closer to the TV to get a better look. For him to get up to win that race was just awesome and to do it beating Foiled Again was just mind-blowing!”   Teesha recalls the second-place finish by Shadow Play to Somebeachsomewhere, in The 2008 Messenger at Yonkers, as one of her most favourite moments in racing. “That race was just so exciting... It was so close and it was a real thrill for me to be a part of that. ” It’s a horse by the name of Anybunny that will forever hold a special place in Teesha’s heart. “He was my favourite,” she says proudly. “I used to kill for the ‘BOOM’ call (Vance Cameron’s Boom! Just like that...) when racing on P.E.I... Sadly we had to put him down last season. He was sixteen then and he just wasn’t going to make it another winter.” Symes spent last summer working with her Dad in Bangor before heading to Dr. Ian Moore’s Florida operation in late October. Now in Ontario, working full-time for Moore, a normal day for Teesha consists of getting up around 5:30 am and heading to the barn - where the work normally finishes up around noon. “We’ve got an awesome team here and Ian is great to work for.” Working as a groom Symes likes to play it day by day. “It’s a lot of hoping for the best and living for the moment,” she says. “I’ve been lucky to have been mentored by my Dad,” she continued. “Guys like Mark Ford, Heath Campbell and Ian have been very good to me along the way too... Ian asked me the other day where he could get two of me, so it’s a nice feeling to get a compliment like that.” So what’s it like to look after the best aged pacer in Canada? “That question makes me nervous,” she replies. “I do my best to look after him like the other horses, but maybe he does get an extra piece of licorice or a few extra carrots now and then.” Another special horse out of the Moore camp this season is the P.E.I.-owned pacing colt Silverhill Shadow. And he’s special for Symes in a unique way too. “My Dad bought his mom (Ruthie Jane) from the Amish back in 2009. We raced her a few times in Charlottetown, PE and then sold her to Casey Gavin - who then bred her to Shadow Play. And from that came Silverhill Shadow.” Teesha likes her basketball, softball and hockey and had once worked with correctional services and the jail in Amhert, N.S., but her heart is and always has been with the horses. ”Growing up working next to Dad... Working with the horses is what I know and it’s what I love. It’s not even work for me...” So any advice to pass along to an aspiring groom? “I’d say work hard and always do your best,” she says. “Sure there are going to be some long days, but this job is so worth it.”   by Shannon "Sugar" Doyle, for Western Fair District

Tucson, AZ --- Dave Palone, the 51-year-old Waynesburg, Pa., native is Harness Tracks of America’s Driver of the Year, the formidable achievement that remains the most difficult award in the sport of harness racing to win. It is the seventh time Palone has won the title! The evidence of the accomplishment is clear in the fact that of the 3,156 drivers who competed for purses in North America in 2013, only six were able to finish in the top 10 in money won, races won and UDR in-the-money percentage. Under the HTA formula, points are awarded on the basis of 25 for first down to one for 25th in the standings in money won, races won, and UDR, with a 25-point bonus for finishing in the top 25 in all three categories. Palone’s 2013 Driver of the Year trophy will be presented as part of the United States Harness Writers' 2014 Dan Patch Awards Banquet Night of Champions, on Sunday (Feb. 23) at Dover Downs in Dover, Dela. Here are the complete standings for 2013 for the top 25 drivers in North America: Drivers--Wins (Rank)--Earnings (Rank)--UDR (Rank)--Bonus--Total Points Dave Palone--645 (2T)--$6,128,869 (12)--.385 (3)--25--85.5 Yannick Gingras--537 (8T)--$14,231,476 (2)--.367 (8)--25--84.5 Tim Tetrick--582 (5)--$16,164,822 (1)--.320 (13T)--25--83.5 Brian Sears--507 (12T)--$13,737,691 (3)--.368 (7)--25--80.5 George Napolitano Jr.--551 (7)--$6,068,813 (14)--.315 (18)--25--64 George Brennan--450 (14)--$9,134,699 (7)--.311 (20T)--25--61.5 Corey Callahan--619 (4)--$9,708,323 (6)--.281--(unranked)--42 Ronnie Wrenn Jr.--714 (1)--$2,480,373 (unranked)--.361 (10)--41 Trevor Henry--529 (10)--$2,458,956 (unranked)--.392 (2)--40 Ron Pierce--537 (8T)--$11,550,300 (5)--.281 (unranked)--38.5 Michael Oosting--511 (11)--$3,535,283 (unranked)--.373 (5)--36 Jim Morrill, Jr.--343 (unranked)--$6,116,760 (13)--.383 (4)--35 Bruce Aldrich, Jr.--645 (2T)--$2,764,419 (unranked)--.316 (17)--32.5 Matt Kakaley--446 (15)--$7,527,717 (8)--.287 (unranked)--29 David Miller--388 (22)--$12,230,914 (4)--.268 (unranked)--26 Winston Campbell--321 (unranked)--$835,983 (unranked)--.416 (1)--25 Aaron Merriman--568 (6)--$4,165,510 (24)--.292 (unranked)--22 Bruce Ranger--254 (unranked)--$1,216,733 (unranked)--.369 (6)--20 Jason Bartlett--362 (24)--$7,136,699 (9)--.260 (unranked)--19 Jim Marohn Jr.--390 (21)--$1,762,040 (unranked)--.331 (12)--19 Jody Jamieson--352 (unranked)--$6,300,192 (11)--.307 (23T)--17 Andy Miller--354 (25)--$7,122,058 (10)--.254 (unranked)--17 Luke Plano--262 (unranked)--$765,014 (unranked)--.363 (9)--17 Heath Campbell--202 (unranked)--$817,779 (unranked)--.349 (11)--15 Chris Page--428 (16)--$2,478,072 (unranked)--.308 (22)--14

Not even the photo finish camera could separate pacesetter Kelly Girl and late closer Southwest Bliss in the third race at Bangor Raceway Tuesday evening. Those two horses finished in a dead heat for win, but the ironic part of the race is that Kelly Girl and driver Drew Campbell had led the field from the opening quarter mile while Southwest Bliss and driver Heath Campbell started out in last place (8th) at the opening quarter mile. The race was a $2,000 pace for non-winners of 3 lifetime and went in 2:04 on the half mile oval. While Kelly Girl held the field at bay on the lead as the wagering favorite, Southwest Bliss at odds of 11-1 flew from eighth place at the half mile marker then went three-wide to loop the field into third place at the three-quarters. Then in a dramatic stretch drive, Heath Campbell and Southwest Bliss were able to collar Kelly Girl and Drew Campbell right at the wire for the dead heat win. Willy Mac (Christopher Nye) was third. For Kelly Girl, a three-year-old filly by Ring Of Life, it was her second victory for trainer Steven Vafiades and owner Jason Vafiades of Maine. Southwest Bliss is a three-year-old filly by Blissfull Hall and it was her third lifetime win. She is trained by Charles Symes and is owned by Teesha Symes of Nova Scotia. By Steve Wolf for

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  

Friday, October 11, 2013 – (Scarborough, Maine) - Saturday (October 12) marks the richest day of the Maine harness racing season as over $330,000 in purse money will be up for grabs at Scarborough Downs, with championship glory gleaming in the eyes of 32 Maine-bred hopefuls as they gather to do battle on the biggest day of their racing careers. Chief among them will be Obrigado, a three-year-old son of the exciting stallion, Boy Band, who will put his seasonal undefeated record on the line as he bids for his 13th top score of the year. Owned and bred by Michael Andrew, the strapping trotter will be handled by his customary pilot, Heath Campbell, scoring from post number two after being installed as the prohibitive even-money morning line favorite. A daughter of Boy Band, Song of Virtue, also owned by Michael Andrew, has been given a big chance to join her brother in seeking Sire Stake acclaim on Saturday after being made the 8-5 morning line favorite in the filly trotting division. Ruel Goodblood, Jr. will drive for legendary colt trainer, Gordon Corey, from post number three, shoulder-to-shoulder behind the gate with their chief competitor, Future Cast (Mark Athearn), who commands near co-favorite status at 2-1 odds. Darlington Stripe, a nine-time winner this season for owner/trainer Stephen La Casse, will have her work cut out for her from the outside post number six in the filly pacing division, despite being named the 4-5 morning line favorite. Conventional wisdom anticipates driver David Ingraham steering the daughter of Fast Company to her customary front end seat, then girding for the patented late-mile rally of track record holder, Pembroke Violet (Heath Campbell), who has been made second choice by the track odds maker at 2-1. The most wide open of the Sire Stakes contests figures in the colt pacing division where wins have been doled out on an rather equitable basis this year with five of the eight finalists boasting at least four wins apiece. The morning draw was not kind to the top pugilists though as seven-time winner, Master Of Puppets (Heath Campbell), will be forced to strategize from post number six, while the late-season sensation, Neutral Data (Wallace Watson), will bid to extend his three race win-streak from the seven hole. Other activities at the track include a 50/50 raffle to benefit the MSBOA Scholarship Program, an agricultural display, retired race horses, including Snap Dancer, 2008 Joseph Ricci Memorial Trot Winner, who will marshal the races with the Standardbred Performance Society. First post for the eleven-race Championship card is slated for 12:05 PM (EDT), Saturday at Scarborough Downs. by Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine ... Pembroke Prayer crossed over the $1-million mark in career earnings on Thursday afternoon (9-19) at the Farmington (Maine) Fair becoming the only horse ever bred in the state of Maine to achieve millionaire status. The nine-year-old son of Like A Prayer/Super Earl achieved the rarified status in style, mounting a determined stretch effort to overtake two-time State of Maine Trotter of the Year, Kerogen, in the final strides, claiming victory for the 52nd time in his storied career while stopping the clock in a respectable 1:59.4 in the $4000 fairground event. Owned in tandem by Mark Ford of Campbell Hall, NY and William Varney of Bangor, Me, Pembroke Prayer is currently housed in the Valerie Grondin Stable and was driven to victory on Thursday by Heath Campbell. He is best remembered in his native state for his upset win over world champion Enough Talk, in the 2010 edition of the $50,000 Joseph Ricci Memorial Trot at Scarborough Downs. by Michael Sweeney for New England USHWA  

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  

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