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Mitchell Cushing is the first to admit that patience is not his strong suit. Cushing, who turned 21 on Jan. 12, is coming off a year that saw him finish second in the harness racing driver standings at two New England racetracks on his way to 247 wins and $1.51 million in purses, both personal bests in his fledgling career. He drove the legendary Foiled Again to victory in a Farewell Tour race at the Windsor Fair in Maine, captured a Massachusetts Sire Stakes title with I'm A Clown, and finished second to Dan Patch Award-winner Shartin N with Apple Bottom Jeans in the TVG Series championship for female pacers. And he is anxious for more. "Everything has progressed quickly and I wouldn't want it any other way," said Cushing, adding with a laugh, "The way I am, if it can happen tomorrow I'd rather have it happen yesterday. "I'm pushing it to happen as fast as it can. I know there are so many things along the road to get there, but I absolutely love what I do and I'm going to push to be the best I can be." Cushing, the son of driver Ron Cushing, began driving in 2014. In his first four years he won 141 races, a total he exceeded by 106 in 2018. He finished second in the driver standings to Drew Campbell, who is approaching 5,000-career wins, at both Plainridge Park and Scarborough Downs last year. "I had some quality opportunities," Cushing said, referencing regular drives for Plainridge leading trainer Jimmy Nickerson as well as for Apple Bottom Jeans and I'm A Clown conditioner Kevin Switzer. "That helps. That makes it nice. I'm extremely thankful people have given me so many good opportunities." With racing in New England on hiatus for the winter, Cushing has spent January competing at Freehold Raceway and the Meadowlands Racetrack, both in New Jersey. Cushing has five drives at the Big M on Friday and is listed on another five for Saturday. He has a total of three drives over the weekend at Freehold. "It keeps me busy and I'm doing what I love," said Cushing, who lives in Maine. "I wouldn't want to do it any other way. I'm happy." Cushing has won 10 of 147 races at the Meadowlands during his career. He enjoyed his two best weekends last October, when the Breeders Crown was at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Cushing won 4 of 23 drives at the Big M during that span. "When I take a look back at it and take a deep breath, it couldn't be going any better," Cushing said. "I'm extremely thankful for the way it's going. If you would ask me on a day when I wasn't being appreciative and wanting to win races, I wish it was going the same as it was in October while everybody was at the Breeders Crown. But that's not realistic. "It's hard for me to accept that because I'm so competitive and when I get an opportunity I don't want to waste it. It's a good thing to be competitive, but sometimes you have to take a deep breath and work hard and let stuff happen. These last couple weeks, with the time I've put in, I'm getting more quality drives. I'm running from Freehold to get to qualifiers (at the Meadowlands) and stuff is starting to go my way a little more. That's kind of nice. It's starting to get to the point where people think they can use me to begin with, not just when someone picks off." Cushing grew up around harness racing and always enjoyed the sport and horses. But it wasn't until he suffered a knee injury his junior year of high school that focusing on it as a career became a passion. Cushing tore his ACL and during his recovery was unable to do much in the way of physical activity. He could, though, jog horses. "I always loved it, but that's when it changed," Cushing said. "Even before I was out of high school I was pushing hard to progress." Cushing has seen his career and abilities progress, especially in terms of getting along with horses. "Getting behind a horse and getting a quick and solid understanding of a horse, I think that's what developed the most," Cushing said. "As a catch driver, that's what your job is. You've got to be able to get on and get along with a horse the best you can for two minutes. As last year went on, I think that was my biggest growth. "And learning the races better, understanding races better, your decision-making gets quicker. People know about you statistically, but sometimes people wait for you to do the wrong thing and think maybe you're not ready. When you do things the wrong way, or you do things the right way, it changes opinions. I'm just going to keep trying to do things the right way and hopefully people think I deserve (an opportunity)." Cushing will continue racing at the Meadowlands and Freehold until Plainridge reopens in April. At that point, he hopes to have accomplished enough at the Meadowlands to continue getting drives on the weekends. "I don't expect to be there on a stakes night, but on a regular night throughout the year, that would be a huge personal accomplishment," Cushing said. "I hope I can just keep doing what I'm doing. It will get to a new level." And that would be worth waiting for. Ken Weingartner  

Plainville, MA --- There is no hotter set of hands currently racing in New England than those of Mitchell Cushing and he continued to pile-on numbers to his career year by winning five more races at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Nov. 19). The most notable victory in Cushing's day came in the marquee event; the $16,000 Winners-Over pace where Betterlatethnnever flashed his class once again. After leaving like a runner, Betterlatethnnever stacked up four horses three-deep at the three-quarters before shifting gears to pull away to a three-length win in 1:53.2. It was the ninth win in only 12 starts this year and the seventh win in the last eight starts for Betterlatethnnever ($4.20) who now sports $55,105 in earnings for 2018. David Glazer owns and Jimmy Nickerson trains. Then in the $14,000 conditioned event for pacers under 6-years-old, Cushing scored with Lear Hanover who followed Bowedfortyova (Drew Campbell) to the top of the stretch, where he pulled and out-muscled Ramblin Art (Nick Graffam) to the wire in 1:53.1. It was the eighth win of the season for Lear Hanover ($4.00) who is also owned and trained by Glazer and Nickerson. Cushing rounded out the five-bagger with Flash Lauxmont (1:53.3, $3.80), Lucky Sport (1:54, $4.80) and See Me Streakin (1:54.4, $5.00). Nickerson trains Lucky Sport as well and that gave him the conditioning Hat Trick Monday. Mitchell Cushing has posted gaudy numbers this year. Out of his 1,066 starts he's won 235 races, finished second another 160 and third 162 times. He's earned just under $1.4 million to date with a sparkling Universal Driver Rating (UDR) of .354. At the current Plainridge Park meet Cushing is in second place for wins with 131, has a UDR of .362 and earnings of $1.01 million. He sits behind Drew Campbell (155) in the victory category as Campbell has held that top spot for most of the year. Cushing plans to change his driving venue to the Meadowlands after the Plainridge Park meet ends next week which is the same track he started out the best year of his career back in January. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 20) at 1 p.m. With no winner again in the Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta in the last race on Monday, there will be a $5,265 carry over pool for the Wicked Hi-5 bet in the final race on Tuesday. Post time for the 10th race will be approximately 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Mitchell Cushing remains the hottest harness racing driver in Massachusetts as he once again won six of the 12 races programmed at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 4). His biggest score came in the final race of the day when he steered Calvin B to a narrow victory in the $16,000 Winners-Over pacing feature. Calvin B got away seventh while Some Attitude (Nick Graffam) and Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) went toe-to-toe to the quarter in :26.1. Quick Shot took control in front of the stands but Some Attitude came right back out and retook, then continued to the half in :54.3. At that station the outer flow was in motion with Kenrick N (Ron Cushing) first up and Calvin B right behind him. As the race rolled up the backstretch, Quick Shot called it a day and Kenrick N took a seat on the pegs behind Some Attitude. Calvin B was now second on the outside and advancing in 1:22.3. Calvin B drew even with Some Attitude while Major Leaguer (Jimmy Whittemore) and Major Bucks (Steve Nason) found racing room and were both making major moves. It became a mad dash down the lane with Major Bucks and Calvin B eventually matching strides to the wire where Calvin B got a nose in front in 1:52. It was the ninth win of the year for Calvin B ($11.80) and it boosted his earnings to $79,020 for owner Dolores Smiel. Jimmy Nickerson trains the winner. Cushing also won with Marc Et Master (1:55.1, $9.40), Shrinkwrap (1:53.3, $5.40), Wild West (1:52.2, $4.40), Betterlatethnnever (1:52.1, $4.20) and Lucky Sport (1:53.2, $4.40). Now boasting 95 wins for the meet, Cushing is just one win out of third place held by Greg Merton who has 96 tallies. Drew Campbell continues to lead with 132 and Shawn Gray is second with 101. Jimmy Nickerson became Plainridge Park's leading conditioner Thursday on the strength of four of Cushing's wins (Wild West, Betterlatethnnever, Lucky Sport and Calvin B), moving into first place with 41 wins and ahead of Eric Beach and Elisha Lafreniere who each have 39. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 8) with the second leg of the Massachusetts Sire Stakes for 2-year-olds of both gaits where five divisions will vie for a total of $159,736 in purses. Post time is 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Coming off his best effort of the year last week, Siskel bounced back even sharper to post the fastest mile of the day as he won the $12,000 conditioned harness racing pacing event at Plainridge Park. When the dust of five leavers settled, Some Attitude (Nick Graffam) ended up on top and blistering a :25.4 first quarter while Siskel (Mitchell Cushing) sat drafting second. The top two horses broke away from the pack by two lengths and cut fast fractions of :54 and 1:21.3 before heading into the final turn. By the top of the stretch, Cushing had Siskel out and moving and drew alongside Some Attitude. With both Cushing and Graffam getting after their mounts, Siskel finally got an edge and Cushing rocked him all the way to the wire to win in 1:50.2, which was a new seasonal mark for the winner. Siskel ($8.80) scored his fourth win of the year for owner Joseph Trice and trainer Jimmy Nickerson. Siskel was just one of four winners piloted by Mitchell Cushing on Thursday. Shawn Gray also had a driving triple with Jimmy Whittemore getting two wins of his own. Those bettors seeking instant fortunes had a field day at Plainridge Park on Thursday as some big money payouts highlighted the day. In the 10th race Crush Hanover (McGwire Sowers) who was overlooked at the windows, scored a come from behind victory at 60-1 and blew up the tote board with a $123.80 win mutuel. The 5-7 exacta returned $924.60 and the 5-7-2 trifecta paid $3,029.20. Then in the 12th race, Viceroy Hanover (Drew Campbell) went from last to first and scored a minor upset paying $19.80, but triggered a superfecta combination of 7-9-1-6 that paid $19,135.00. The first legs of the Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) were drawn and will headline the next two cards of racing at Plainridge Park. Monday (Oct. 1) has four divisions for 2-year-old trotters and pacers going for between $38,700 and $43,034 each. Then on Tuesday (Oct. 2) there are five divisions for 3-year-old trotters and pacers that will vie for purses totaling between $21,925 and $41,450. Post time for both days is 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- It's not too often a driver wins half a card of harness racing but that's just what Mitchell Cushing did on Thursday (Sept. 20) at Plainridge Park. Cushing drove six winners on the 12-race program including a victory in the $15,000 6-year-old and under condition pacing feature with Lear Seelster. Lear Seelster started from post two and stayed right there behind Tixnstones (Jim Hardy) who cut the mile. The race incrementally went :26.3, :56.1 and 1:24.1 under the challenge of an outer flow. But at the top of the lane it came down to Tixnstones and Lear Seelster and Cushing made the push that got the job done as Lear Seelster pulled away by a length to win in 1:52.3. It was the seventh win of the year and a new lifetime mark for Lear Seelster ($5.00) who is owned by David Glazer and trained by Jim Nickerson. Cushing also won with See Me Streakin (1:53.4, $13.40), Sports Lightning (1:51.4, $8.00), Jefferson Tare (1:52.2, $5.40), Manny (1:52.1, $3.00) and Siskel (1:52, $35.40). In the eleven races Cushing drove, he also finished second and third twice each and combined with the six wins gave him an amazing Universal Driver Rating (UDR) of .707. Cushing is having a career year with 173 wins out of 788 starts earning $859,421 in purses and sporting a .363 UDR for the year. Plainridge Park is well represented in North American harness racing as three of the top 10 percentage drivers compete daily at The Ridge. Drew Campbell is second with a .420 UDR, Shawn Gray is fourth with a .390 UDR and Mitchell Cushing is ninth with a .363 UDR. In the day's top aged pacing event, Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) went gate to wire to win the $14,000 Winners-Over Handicap in 1:51.2, holding off a late charge from Moonlight Artist (Shawn Gray) at the line to win by a head. Quick Shot captured his 10th win of the year and has now earned $96,060 for his owner Kathleen Brewer in 2018. John Bowman trains the winner. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Sept. 24) with post time at 2p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Major Leaguer overcame an early deficit to go the mile of his life in the $16,000 Winners-Over pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 13). Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) took early command and flashed to the half in :54.1. At that point four horses were already out and moving with Major Leaguer (Jimmy Whittemore) second-over in the pack. Bet You (Eddie Davis Jr.) was closest to the leader and forced a :27.3, 1:21.4 three-quarter time and looked like a contender at that point. As soon as they passed that station, Bet You stalled and Whittemore tipped Major Leaguer three wide around him and took dead-aim at Quick Shot, who still had a two-length advantage. Then under a methodic rocking hand drive, Major Leaguer made up the ground, wore down Quick Shot and hit the wire one-length ahead in 1:50.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Unraced at two, the now 4-year-old Major Leaguer ($16.20) scored his 23rd win in 44 lifetime starts for his driving owner, Jimmy Whittemore and his trainer Dennis Whittemore. The second fastest mile of the day was registered in a $13,000 non-winners event for the under 6-year-old group when Lucky Sport (Mitchell Cushing) went gate to wire to win by more than four lengths in 1:51, which was also a new lifetime mark. The win was the second in the last three Plainridge outings for Lucky Sport ($3.60) and the time knocked almost two full seconds of his previous best taken at Mohawk Raceway back in June of this year. Curran Racing and Adam Michael co-own Lucky Sport who is trained by Jim Nickerson. Several drivers had multiple wins on Thursday led by Mitchell Cushing with three and followed by Drew Campbell, Jimmy Whittemore and Wally Watson with two apiece. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Sept. 17) with a 2 p.m. post time. Monday's card features the $20,000 finals of the 2-year-old Open Late Closer series "The Wood End Light" on the trot and "The Nauset Light" on the pace. Several of the entries from this event are also eligible for the $1.3 million Massachusetts Sire Stakes that begin at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 1). This will be one of their last tune-ups for that series and it should make these two races very interesting. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- After watching several in the field take their best shot early, Shesjustadelight N made her move and took control late en route to winning the $15,000 fillies and mares Winners-Over pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 11) over a rain-soaked track. The front-end was a hot piece of property as the leaders changed hands fast and furiously. Empty Gesture (Chris Long) took an early lead before Watts Was I Drinkn (Jim Hardy) grabbed it from her at the quarter. But as soon as she hit the pylons, Show Runner (Greg Merton) was out and rolling and made the front as they passed under the wire for the first time. But positions were still up for grabs as this restless group of girls produced another attempting the front past the half. Shesjustadelight N (Mitchell Cushing) was out and rolling into the second turn with Seventimesavirgin (Nick Graffam) following her. Shesjustadelight N got to Show Runner's wheels at the five-eighths and stayed there until the three-quarter pole when Show Runner was starting to tire. Around the final bend Shesjustadelight N cleared the front and Seventimesavirgin tipped out for the stretch drive. But Shesjustadelight N had a one-length advantage and Cushing made sure it stayed that way as he rocked her down to the wire to win in 1:51.4, which was a new seasonal mark for the mare. It was the third win in only 14 starts this year for Shesjustadelight N ($3.80) who now has $51,600 on her card for owners Kevin Sywyk and Ron Cushing. Heidi Gibbs is the trainer. Cushing had a big day at The Ridge, winning four races on the card. Besides the already mentioned Shesjustadelight N, Cushing also scored with Zoe Blue Chip (1:54.2, $17.60), Le Gambe (1:55.4, $4.40) and Freetime (1:54.2, $4.40). Not to be overlooked, Jim Hardy also had a driving hat trick that included two horses that he also trains. The Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta in the sixth race that had a carryover of $10,380 today was finally hit. A 20-cent ticket on the straight combination of 6-9-2-5-8 returned $11,892.06. The $1.3 million (est.) Massachusetts Sire Stakes will once again be contested at Plainridge Park starting in October. There will be three weeks of $25,000 (est.) preliminary legs starting on Monday (Oct. 1) with the $85,000 (est.) finals to be held on Tuesday (Oct. 30). For more information on this state-bred series, log onto www.sominc.net . Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday with post time at 2 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Windsor, ME -- There was no better place to spend Labor Day 2018 then at Windsor Fair in Maine! The highlight of the meet was having the richest Standardbred of all time, FOILED AGAIN, participate in the Au Revoir Pace, which was open exclusively to 14-year-olds, vying for a purse of $4,000. The event did not disappoint as it turned out to be a storybook race that fans will never forget. Foiled Again sat on the rail in 3rd position until the half, then he challenged Kid Courageous A toe to toe for the last half. Coming down the stretch the crowd was cheering so loudly that all in attendance could feel the amazing energy of this once-in-a-lifetime event. The Winners Circle was mobbed with people, and Foiled Again received two blankets for his 1:55.4h victory. The first was the trophy blanket for the race, the Josette Bartlett Memorial. The second was a special memento emblazoned with the iconic pacing star's name and awarded to him and his connections in an emotional ceremony. Not only having the honor of having Foiled Again race and capture his 102nd lifetime victory on a Maine track, there were two other special events that capped off the nine day meet. The Windsor Invitational, the feature race of the day showcased 5 top horses from New England racing for $12,000. It was a crowd pleaser for sure with Bet You photo'ing out Calvin B and J J's Jet at the wire by a nose, dead heat for 2nd & 3rd. Bet You is owned by Scott Dillon, trained by Joe Nelson and driven by Eddie Davis Jr. The time of the mile was 1:53.3h. There was the Young Guns Championship Race, won by Mitchell Cushing. He drove Worth Watching to victory in 1:55.2h, who is owned by Michael Wilson, and trained by Benson Merrill. Mitch not only won the final of the Young Guns Driving Series he also won in the points standing. Windsor Fair always recognizes its top driver and trainer of the meet. This year Heath Campbell was the top driver at the Windsor meet with 22 wins and Bo Sowers was the leading trainer with 11 wins. Maine Harness Racing continues at these upcoming, pari-mutuel fairs in September: Farmington (9/16 - 9/22) and Cumberland (9/23 - 9/30), and the always popular Fryeburg Fair the first week in October (10/2 - 10/7). The Maine Sire Stakes culminates with the 2- and 3-year-old finals at Scarborough on Saturday, October 13. For more information please check out our website: mainehha.com by Deb Patterson, for the Maine Harness Horsemen's Association        

Plainville, MA --- The trotters took center stage at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 30) and the top two classes both yielded strong performances. In the $12,000 condition race for 6-year-olds and under, Now's The Moment (Shane Taggart) got away last while New World Goal (Mitchell Cushing) set the fractions for almost the entire mile. By the half mile marker, three horses broke and Now's The Moment found himself outside avoiding traffic before motoring up the backstretch and eventually drawing even with the leader at the top of the stretch. From there he trotted on by and opened up a three-length advantage at the wire, winning in 1:56.3. It was the third win in the last five starts and fifth win of the year for Now's the Moment ($6.60) who is owned by Sonya Mac Donald and trained by Allison Mac Donald. Then in the $10,000 non-winners event, Zorgwijk Nova (Mitchell Cushing) took a quarter to get the lead but when she did, it was for keeps. After setting fractions of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:25.2, Zorgwijk Nova held off challenges from Dial a Chic (Joe Di Stefano) and Coco Lindy (Greg Merton) and hung on to win by a length in 1:54.4, which was a new lifetime mark for the mare. It was the second straight win for Zorgwijk Nova ($11.40) under the guidance of trainer Eric Beach for owner A Piece Of The Action LLC. Mitchell Cushing and Shane Taggart each had two wins on the card, leading all other reinsmen on Thursday. There was no winning ticket in the Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta wager again on Thursday so there will be a $7,742 carry over pool in the sixth race Wicked Hi-5 on Monday (Sept. 3) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park at the new, earlier post time of 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Mitchell Cushing has been on a tear of late and his driving success continued on Monday afternoon (Aug. 27) at Plainridge Park when he added five more wins to his total, moving him into fourth place in the local driving colony. He finished first with Betterlatethnnever (1:53.3, $2.80), Lucky Sport (1:52.4, $2.40), Star Of Terror (1:53.2, $22.60) and Calvin B (1:50.4, $4.40) all of which were trained by Jim Nickerson, and BP Diet Food (1:53, $12.20). The most impressive effort of the day came with Calvin B, who in a carbon copy performance from last week, came from off the pace to win going away in the stretch in the $14,000 Winners-Over pacing feature. Calvin B got away fifth and watched as Some Attitude (Greg Merton) scooted to the front and set a swift quarter of :26.1. Just past that station, J J S Jet (Drew Campbell) pulled first over into the torrid pace and Calvin B drafted right behind him. The two slowly advanced outside around the turn and up the backside, trying to get even with Some Attitude. As the race approached the three-quarters, J J S Jet stalled, forcing Calvin B to go three-wide as they tripped the timer in 1:22.1. But as luck would have it; before Calvin B could draw alongside Some Attitude, Poisonous (Jimmy Whittemore) pulled out from behind the leader and kept Calvin B three deep around the entire final turn. The three horses entered the stretch fanned across the track evenly, but Cushing put Calvin B into overdrive and he paced away from all of them to win in 1:50.4, which equaled his seasonal mark for the second time this year. It was the eighth win of the year and second consecutive victory at Plainridge Park for Calvin B and it pushed his earnings to $64,320 for owner Dolores Smiel. Cushing's five-bagger gives him 54 wins at this meet and he sits in fourth place behind Drew Campbell (109 wins), Greg Merton (87 wins) and Shawn Gray (81 wins). He is currently the eighth leading percentage driver in North America with a .355 UDR and is having a personal career year with 139 wins and $648,757 in earnings to date. With his four win day, trainer Jim Nickerson now has 23 wins and he has jumped from eighth in the conditioner standings to fifth behind Eric Beach (34 wins), Mike Eaton (27 wins), Elisha Lafreniere (25 wins) and James Dunn (24 wins). There was no winning ticket in the Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta again on Monday and as a result, there will be a $5,635 carry over pool in the sixth race on Tuesday (Aug. 28) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- With 16 of the best pacing mares currently racing in Massachusetts gathered in two divisions of Winners-Over $10,000 lifetime events that highlighted the Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 14) card at Plainridge Park with both winners claiming victory via lifetime best efforts. In the first $16,000 division, Empty Gesture (Chris Long) defied her 10-1 odds and went right to the front to cut quarters of :26.1, :54.2 and 1:22.3, parking out Acefortyfour Alex (Mitchell Cushing) and Show Runner (Greg Merton) and then holding off Western Stepp (Nick Graffam) at the wire to win by a neck in 1:52.2, which was a new lifetime mark. It was the seventh win of the year for Empty Gesture ($22.40) and second for owner/trainer Jennifer Allen who claimed the mare for $12,000 back on July 3. The second $14,000 distaff pacing feature was won by Iced Out (Mitchell Cushing) who took a similar path to victory; on the front end cutting fractions of :26.4, :56 and 1:23.3 before rebuffing mild bids from Iheartquestionmark (Eric Davis) and Cameo Delight (Mike Stevenson) to pull away to a two length win in 1:52.3. That time was also a new lifetime mark for the winner. Iced Out ($6.80) scored her first win since the second week of June for owner Little Bapa and her trainer Eric Beach. Beach had the hot hand in the training department on Tuesday, sending four of his students to get their pictures taken. Besides the already mentioned Iced Out, Beach also conditioned Dakota Sleek (1:54, $22.60), Bestfriendforever (1:54.3, $4.60) and Spilling The Beans (1:55.1, $2.60) to victory. Greg Merton led all drivers on Tuesday with three wins. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Aug. 16) with post time at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- A relentless all-day rain wet down the track at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Aug. 13) but it didn't dilute the talent that would compete over that surface. Heading the list of eye-catching performances was Artful Way, who got used both early and late before closing sharply in the lane to capture the $18,000 Open Handicap pace. Artful Way (Steve Nason) left and took the lead, but he passed that off to Starznheaven (Greg Merton) by the quarter in lieu of a garden spot trip from there until the stretch. Positions remained the same until the half when Thisjetsabookin (Shawn Gray) pulled first up with Major Leaguer (Jimmy Whittemore) on his back and started to push the issue. The top four were now in a tight pack pacing two in and two out, going up the backside and into the far turn before Thisjetsabookin faded giving Artful Way the opening he was waiting for. Starznheaven looked clear with a two-length advantage but Nason got Artful Way underway and had a full head of steam. With heavy urging from Nason, Artful Way continued to eat up ground all the way to the wire and won by a nose in 1:51.1. It was the 11th win in 24 starts for Artful Way ($6.20) and it pushed his annual income to $110,667 for owner Kellogg Racing Stables and trainer Jackie Greene. There was a pair of undercard features whose winner's efforts defied the elements. The $15,000 Winners-Over pace was won by Poisonous (Jimmy Whittemore) who got a pocket trip behind One To Draw To (Shawn Gray) until the three-quarter pole where he tipped three-deep around the challenging UF Rockin Dragon (Greg Merton) and opened up a seven-length lead before cruising home a wrapped-up winner in 1:52. On the strength of his fourth win, Poisonous ($3.80) has now earned $35,820 in 2018 for owner Jimmy Whittemore and his trainer, Dennis Whittemore. In the other $15,000 condition pace for non-winners of nine races lifetime, Lear Seelster (Mitchell Cushing) got away sixth chasing a speedy :26.4 quarter before pulling second-over at the three-eighths, eventually going three-deep around the last turn to out-pace the front running Bamski (Jimmy Whittemore) under right-handed urging from Cushing to win in 1:53.1, which was a new lifetime mark for the winner. It was the fifth win of the year for Lear Seelster ($16.40) who has now earned $41,124 for owner David Glazer. Jim Nickerson trains the winning gelding. There was also a pair of 2-year-old late closer Open races on the card; one on each gait and both going for $12,500. In the Nauset Light for 2-year-old pacers, Sylvia Trench (Always A Virgin-Miss Maverick) made her first Plainridge start a winning one, tripping out behind Fight Like Mike (Greg Merton) to a two-length victory in 1:57.1, which equaled her lifetime mark. Jim Hardy drove Sylvia Trench ($4.20) who is owned by Rosalie and Paul Vacca, who also trains the filly. In the Wood End Light for 2-year-old trotters, Refi (Chapter Seven-Blazing Musclegirl) got away third, pulled first over and cleared the Massachusetts bred The Fixer (Trixton-Give You My Word) at the top of the stretch to win by a length in 2:01.4. Trained and driven by Domenico Cecere, Refi ($4.80) is owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut and Robert Rudolf. The horses weren't the only ones putting up big numbers on Monday. Several horsemen had multiple winning efforts on the day as well. Driver Mitchell Cushing teamed up with trainer Jim Nickerson and together they added four wins to each of their dash victory totals for the year. That dynamic duo found the winner's circle with the aforementioned Leer Seelster along with Siskel (1:55.1, $3.80), Star Of Terror (1:54.1, $8.00) and Sunburst Cruze (1:53.1, $4.00). Driver Steve Nason also drove two winners for trainer Jackie Greene. There was no winner of the Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta once again on Monday so there is a large carry over pool of $2,216.95 that will be available for the Wicked Hi-5 in the sixth race on Tuesday (Aug. 14) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA-It's hard enough to beat a field of the best distaff pacers on the grounds. But when you add in a 50-minute weather delay immediately before the race, an off-track and a first-over journey, it gets that much more difficult. But Apple Bottom Jeans was up to the task as she beat all the odds to win the $16,000 Winners-Over Handicap for fillies and mares at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (July 17). High winds and heavy downpours blew in just as the sixth race ended and delayed the start of the featured seventh. But the program reconvened and the gate released the field of seven with Western Stepp (Drew Campbell) taking her favored position on the point, speeding to the quarter in :26.4. Apple Bottom Jeans (Mitchell Cushing) floated out from post seven and dropped in fifth briefly, but came right back out at the three-eighths and started motoring up the rim by the time they hit the half. Although being pursued, Western Stepp maintained a two-length lead to the three-quarters and looked like the one to beat. Apple Bottom Jeans got to within one of the leader by the top of the last turn and was gaining momentum as Western Stepp started to look vulnerable under urging. When they hit the top of the lane the two mares were dead even, but Western Stepp gave way mid-stretch and Apple Bottom Jeans cruised right by her to win by two lengths in 1:53 while Cushing sat chilly with the whip under his arm. It was the 21st career win in only 51 lifetime starts for Apple Bottom Jeans ($3.00) and it pushed her 4-year bankroll to $511,828. KDK Standardbreds own the 5-year-old daughter of Mr. Apples who is trained by Kevin Switzer. In the co-featured $12,000 "Trackmaster 85 Rating" conditioned event, Acefortyfour Alex (Mitchell Cushing) followed a pedestrian :57 half from third before pulling at that station, grinding out a parked :27 third quarter and then running down the leading Empty Gesture (Drew Campbell) to win by three lengths in 1:52.1, which was a new lifetime mark. It was the second win in a row and fourth since coming to Plainridge Park for Acefortyfour Alex ($7.20) who is owned by Charles Fernandes Jr. and trained by Dennis Laterza. Besides winning both feature races on Tuesday, Mitchell Cushing also won the first with Rock Me Threetimes ($2.80) to complete the driving hat trick and lead all drivers for victories on the card. There was no winner in the sixth race Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta wager and as a result, there will be a huge carry-over pool of $14,931 in the sixth race on Thursday (July 19) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park. Post time for the first race is 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA---The epic growth of harness racing in Massachusetts since the introduction of gaming at Plainridge Park in 2015 has produced increased handles and purses, a higher caliber of horse competing and in turn, more reinsmen here to steer them as well. As evidence of that, the current driver colony at Plainridge includes Drew Campbell and Shawn Gray, who are currently the top two leading UDR drivers in North America for drivers with 500 or more starts, along with fast-rising star Mitchell Cushing who is the seventh best on the continent for those with 300 to 499 drives. Drew Campbell is the top UDR driver nationally with a .426 and is also at the top of the win charts at the Plainridge meet with 88 victories in 385 starts and $601,863 in earnings. He's also sporting a .397 UDR and has hit the board 59% of the time. Campbell also is the leading driver at Scarborough Downs where his numbers are equally impressive. There he has 76 wins in 235 starts and $191,227 in purses. He has a UDR of .477 and hits the board at an unbelievable 65% clip. Campbell is on course for a career year for wins and earnings in a career whose annual numbers are already impressive. He currently sits at 4,737 wins and is just short of $13 million in earnings while hitting the board 53% of the time since 1989. Shawn Gray is right behind Campbell nationwide with a .417 UDR and currently sits third in victories at Plainridge with 62 behind Greg Merton (65) who is the defending driving title holder here the past two seasons. Gray has also pocketed $455,966 in purses, hit the board 58% of the time and has a local UDR of .371. Gray splits his time at Buffalo Raceway and is the second winningest driver there with 103 tallies in 301 starts behind Drew Monti (114) who leads the locals in Western New York. At that meet, Gray's UDR is a lofty .483 and he's extracted $511,544 from that track's coffers to date. Like Campbell, Gray is also on track for new personal one-year standards for wins and earnings and is almost certain to get them. For his career to date, Gray has 3,970 wins and just under $15 million in purses. Plainridge's sixth leading dash driver is Mitchell Cushing who ranks seventh in North America for drivers between 300 and 499 starts and is only .010 out of second place in that category. At the Ridge, Cushing has 23 wins in 147 starts, $154,278 in the bank and a UDR of 261. He has hit the board at a 40% clip while sporting a phenomenal 90% return on investment rating that illustrates how many times he's brought the long-price horse back to the winner's enclosure. Cushing also drives at two tracks and is currently second (behind Campbell) at Scarborough Downs with 47 wins, $132,184 in earnings and a UDR of .385. Cushing is only 20-years-old and is a driver whose career is taking off. After racing in Maine and Massachusetts since he was 16, Cushing decided to up the ante and made the move to the Meadowlands this past winter to compete with some of the best in the business. He got his first win on the big stage on March 17 behind Fly'n With Royalty in gate to wire fashion and since returning home to New England, has exhibited skills and patience that have gotten noticeably sharper. As a result, he has become a sought-after catch driver at both tracks. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Two names that might not be familiar to Meadowlands regulars will be appearing in the harness racing program more and more during the winter months, and Mitchell Cushing and Austin Siegelman are prepared to do what it takes to make it on the sizable Big M stage. The first of these two youngsters is 19-year-old Cushing, who was actually contacted while making his way from his Albion, Maine home to the Meadowlands Thursday night. "I'm on my way there now," said Cushing, who graduated high school in June of 2016. "It's about six hours to get there. It'll be my second time driving at the Meadowlands. Last week, I drove one horse." Six hours in the car for one drive. Why? "For the love of the sport," said Cushing, who has been driving regularly for a year and a half in Maine and Massachusetts. "It's always been a childhood dream to drive at the Meadowlands." It may not be a six-hour trip, but when Pocono Downs races, Siegelman drives four days a week from Pocono to Monticello and back. On days such as Thursday, once Monti is done, it's 90 minutes one way to the Big M. Siegelman has been driving full-time for about four years. His father James has horses at Pocono that Austin drives, but with Pocono dark for the winter, the 25-year-old is taking another shot at Big M glory after trying the mile oval a year ago with limited good results. "It's the Meadowlands," said Siegelman. "Who doesn't want to drive there?" Siegelman has an alliance with trainer Chris Marino, so he'll get some drives there, as well as for his dad. Other than that, he'll be relying on himself. "I'm not a big phone guy," said Siegelman. "So how much work I get will be based on performance and people I know." It'll be tough for the two youngsters, who both plan to be around until March, and they are keeping expectations muted. "Try to make as much money as possible," said Cushing, whose dad Ron has been a long-time trainer. "But that depends on what horses you have. To have people say, 'Did you see this kid, he did a good job'. Then, if a big trainer were to come to Plaindridge this summer, he might consider me. It would be more than enough to be be known and respected." "I don't have a lot of expectations," said Siegelman. "Just put in some good efforts. I'd like to win some races. The Meadowlands is the place to be. Everybody watches the Meadowlands." And now everybody will be watching Cushing and Siegelman. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Mitchell Cushing made his very first career start as a Provisional Harness Racing Driver at Scarborough Downs on Saturday (4/2) and wasted precious little time in claiming Victory Lane as his very own territory. The son of noted driver, Ron Cushing, whose license was upgraded after celebrating his 18th birthday earlier this year, kept the classy campaigner, Sign Of Thunder, brave all the way to the finish-line, to cap off a perfectly executed gate to wire strategy in the afternoon's first race. While this may have been the first "P" win for Cushing, it was the 50th career winners circle appearance for the 11-year-old Sign Of Thunder, who just so happens to be owned by young Mr. Cushing himself. What a great combination this rookie driver and veteran pacer make! Scarborough Downs proudly features live harness racing every Saturday and Sunday with post time at 1:30 pm. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs  

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