January 1, 2022 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland

CUMBERLAND, ME – Roadshow Vic and Beer League had raced against one another on many occasions in the past, usually in full fields of trotters in the state of Maine.  When the two veterans lined up behind the Wes Brown starting gate on Friday (Dec. 31) it would be for the final time of their careers.

Carded as race ten on the 13-race program, and highlighted by retirement ceremonies for 13 individual 14-year-old Standardbreds, Roadshow Vic emerged victorious in the $2,000 Geriatric Invitational Trot at Cumberland.

Driven to victory by his owner and trainer Mike Cushing, the 59-time winner goes out a winner having earned $323,323 lifetime.  Roadshow Vic paid $2.40 to win.

Finishing a close second was Beer League, a 14-year-old son of Broadway Hall that is owned by Gayle Harris and was driven in the match race by his trainer Mark Harris.  Beer League retires with $294,080 in lifetime earnings and 43 career victories. 

Both Roadshow Vic (right) and Beer League (left) retired following their match race at Cumberland. (Stephanie Gray photo)

The winners circle was packed with well-wishers from both camps, with both horses having photos taken while looking at each other for one final occasion.  Both horses ride off into the sunset and will live out their days comfortably at their owners’ farms in Southern Maine. 

The $3,500 Au Revoir Invitational Pace was carded as race eleven, with two 14-year-olds starting from inside: Three New Dawns (Drew Campbell, post 1) finished a game second, and Panhellenic (Kevin Switzer Jr, post 2), picked up his last check, finishing fifth.

Following that winners circle presentatation, the connections of Three New Dawns (Alexandria Chadbourne) and Panhellinic (Chris Dubois Stable) received their recognition as retiring Standardbreds with Yonie’s beta halters with their names engraved on the brass nameplate, as well as a custom made name signs designed and produced by harness racing fan and talented artist Barbara Dresser.

The race was won by Milliondollardad (Bruce Ranger), who paid $11.00 to win.  Owned and trained by Dakota Jackson, it was his second training victory of the day. Jackson’s first victory came in race eight when he swooped the field coming down the home stretch to take the Maine Amateur Driving Club final with his own Rockaholic. 

Sponsored by Blue Seal Feeds, the race marked the culmination of seven weeks of 16 divisions of the popular series, with Benson Merrill finishing as the top point earner.

Throughout the day a total of thirteen veteran Standardbreds were recognized for their on-track accomplishments with special presentations and gifts given to the connections. 

An accomplished group of Harness Racing Stars, these pacers and trotters have collectively earned over $4.2 million for an average of $324,441 per starter.  These monsters of the midway have won a total of 646 races from 4,189 starts for an average of 50 wins per horse, sporting an average race record of 1:54.1.

In addition to the four aforementioned horses, Hoboken Hanover, Cool Runnings, Pan Taylor, Fox Valley Primo, Sign To Inverell A, Windsong Gorgeous, Photo King, Trotalot and Classy Kyle were also acknowledged in the winner’s circle.  Some of these retiring 14-year-olds led various post parades of earlier races, while others walked over.  Additional horses were also mentioned in absentia as they have taken new roles with New Vocations or as broodmares.

Driver Drew Campbell came out swinging in his quest for the dash title, winning three races on the card.  Bruce Ranger won two on the card, but it was not enough to catch his fellow reinsman and friend Drew Campbell who ended the year in the lead with 75 victories over Ranger’s 73 trips to the Blue Seal winners circle.  Benson Merrill was the meet’s leading trainer with 46 wins.

A good crowd enjoyed the full card of racing and fans bet over $100,000 worldwide on the day’s program.  First Tracks Cumberland is scheduled to begin racing again on April 8, 2022, pending final approval from the Maine Harness Racing Commission.

Following the last race, and prior to the trackside awards for the year’s leading trainer and driver, First Tracks Cumberland CEO Mike Cianchette offered his gratitude to the horsemen, staff and fans for helping the inaugural race meet achieve resounding success.  Cianchette noted that it was the first time in history that harness racing was conducted on New Year’s Eve, and added, “Just because people think we’re crazy, doesn’t mean we are wrong.”

Fred Nichols Memorial Legs complete at Cumberland

December 16, 2021 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland

CUMBERLAND, ME – The second round of three elimination legs of the Fred Nichols Memorial Late Closing Series went postward at First Tracks Cumberland on Wednesday (Dec. 15), with two new victors and one repeat winner visiting the Blue Seal Winners Circle.

The first $5,000 division was a wire-to-wire romp for Sanattle Slew and driver Dan Deslandes.  The meet’s third leading reinsman put the 10-year-old son of Santanna Blue Chip on the front end from post five, and never looked back.  Scoring in 1:58.3 by 3-3/4 lengths, it was Sanattle Slew’s fourth victory in his last five starts.

Trained by Karl Butterfield for owner Jose Cerventes, Sanattle Slew paid $6.00 to win.  Cool Jack (Aaron Hall) finished second; Through The Fence (Drew Campbell) was third.

Obscene Blue Chip and Matt Athearn (Stephanie Gray photo)

The second div. went to repeat winner Obscene Blue Chip and driver Matt Athearn.  Starting from post six, the 7-year-old son of Western Ideal had the best view of favorite Mach Diesel (Bruce Ranger) cutting fractions of 28.2, and 58.2 to the half.  Southwind Terror (Nick Graffam) was the first to pull first over, with Obscene Blue Chip (Athearn) enjoying that second over cover into a 1:27.2 third quarter.

Matt Athearn urged Obscene Blue Chip down the lane and squeaked out the win by a nose in 1:59.2 over King Royalty (Kevin Switzer).  Mach Diesel (Ranger) finished third by a neck.

Trained by Kenneth Secord for owner Cris Wescott, Obscene Blue Chip paid $6.00 to win.

The third and final division of the Fred Nichols was captured by So It Goes and Nick Graffam who got up in the final strides to win by a nose over favorite Commondiscourtesy (Drew Campbell) in 1:58.4.

Trained and co-owned by Brian Lamb with Mona Dodd, So It Goes lit up the tote board, paying $62.00 to win.

Named for the man that was instrumental in keeping Maine’s Harness Racing Industry alive, Nichols wore many hats in our industry, including, but not limited to USTA director, race secretary and promotions director.  The top eight money earners (listed below) that raced in both legs and subsequently enter will qualify for the $15,000 final on Wednesday, December 22.

Kevin Switzer Jr. enjoyed two driving wins on the program.  Bruce Ranger and Drew Campbell each had one win on the card, which was enough to keep the former in first place by one victory over the latter, in the on-going battle for Cumberland’s top dash-winning reinsman.

Racing resumes once again on Saturday (Dec. 18) and Sunday (Dec. 19), post time for all race dates is 11:00 a.m.

Our Winter Festival extended pari-mutuel meeting continues with live harness racing several days each week through December 31, 2021, which is also the date of our special retirement ceremonies for 14-year-old Standardbred horses.

For more information, go to our website:


1)        $5000      OBSCENE BLUE

2)        $3750      COMMONDISCOURTESY

T-3)     $3100      SANATTLE SLEW

T-3)     $3100      THROUGH THE FENCE

T-5)     $2500      COOL JACK

T-5)     $2500      SO IT GOES

T-7)     $1850      MACH DIESEL

T-7)     $1850      PO PO DEE

9)        $1250      KING ROYALTY

T-10)   $1000      JOEY THE THIRD

T-10)   $1000      TAIL HOOK

T-12)     $650      BET ON SUCCESS

T-12)     $650      REAL SANCHO

14)        $500      MOONSHINECHARLEIGH

T-15)     $400      SOUTHWIND TERROR

T-15)     $400      TOE TAG

17)        $250      ROCKAHOLIC

Rick Cushing Memorial Legs complete at Cumberland

December 15, 2021 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland

CUMBERLAND, ME – Driver Andrew Harrington swept the early Daily Double which included the first div. of the second leg of the Rick Cushing Memorial on Tuesday (Dec. 14) at Cumberland.

Harrington grabbed the two-hole from post three with Amarettigone which saw pylon position leaver Rojas Blue Chip (Mike Stevenson) cut sensible fractions of 29.2, and 1:01.1 to the half.  Once the outer flow started with Manhattan Express (Drew Campbell) first over, the combatants were ‘two-in’ and ‘four-out’ as the field passed the three-quarters in 1:31.1.

Sitting in the catbird seat, Harrington never had an anxious moment when he found racing room in deep stretch to score with the 7-year-old Real Desire mare in 2:02.4 on a track rated ‘good.’

Ammerettigone and Andy Harrington (Stephanie Gray photo)

Trained by Hunter Moody for owner Patricia Moody-D’Angelo, Amarettigone paid $12.40 to win.  Rojas Blue Chip finished second, Manhattan Express was third.  The 3-1 exacta paid $26.80.

The second div. of the Rick Cushing Memorial went to Jo Pa’s Sweet Lou in 2:01.4.  Trained and driven by the husband and wife team of Lisa and Wally Watson, the 5-year-old son of Sweet Lou is owned by Mark Jacoff. 

Jo Pa’s Sweet Lou paid $24.60 to win.  Mr Wiggle Pants (Drew Campbell) finished second, Bettoriffic (Matt Athearn) was third.  The 5-2 exacta paid $43.10.

Safety Second was the only horse to repeat, taking the third div., and winning back-to-back legs of the Rick Cushing Memorial.  Dan Deslandes smoked the field by over 14 lengths to stop the timer in 2:00.1.  Safety Second paid $2.40 to win.  Whatchagonnadoboo (Aaron Hall) finished second; Pembroke Ranger (Luke Varnum) was third.

Trained by Karl Butterfield, and previously owned by Barry Franklin, Safety Second was claimed from the last leg by Charles “Butch” Eaton for $4,000, and will surely be the favorite for the final.

Roderick “Rick” Cushing of Wilton, Maine was a well-respected trainer & driver for over 40 years on the New England circuit, and is also the late-father of Mike and Ron Cushing, who have carried on the family’s commitment and passion for Maine harness racing.  The top eight money earners (listed below) that raced in both legs and subsequently enter will qualify for the $10,000 final on Wednesday, December 22.

Bruce Ranger also had two wins on the program, which puts him one victory ahead of Drew Campbell in the on-going battle for Cumberland’s top dash-winning reinsman.

Racing continues on Wednesday (Dec. 15) and then resumes once again on Saturday (Dec. 18) and Sunday (Dec. 19), post time for all race dates is 11:00 a.m.

Our Winter Festival extended pari-mutuel meeting continues with live harness racing several days each week through December 31, 2021, which is also the date of our special retirement ceremonies for 14-year-old Standardbred horses.

For more information, go to our website:


(For all horses that raced in both legs and eligible for final)

        1)     $ 4,000      Safety Second

        T-2)  $ 2,480      Bettoriffic

        T-2)  $ 2,480      Pembroke Ranger

        4)     $ 2,200      Jo Pa’s Sweet Lou

        T-5)  $ 2,000      Amarettigone

        T-5)  $ 2,000      Mr Wiggle Pants

        T-5)  $ 2,000      Whatchagonnadoboo

        8)     $ 1,320      Lucky Michael

        9)     $ 1,200      Rojas Blue Chip

        10)    $   960      Manhattan Express

        11)    $   800      Redbreast Hanover

        12)    $   640      Invictus Hanover

        13)    $   520      Bolt Ruler

        14)    $   480      Baileys Legacy

        15)    $   400      Star Of Terror

        16)    $   320      Zampara

        17)    $   200      Ima Tragedy N

Drew Campbell gets victory No. 5,500

November 27, 2021 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Nova Scotia-born harness driver Drew Campbell learned from his father Winston “Soupie” Campbell a long time ago, ‘If you are going to do this, do it right.”

Hanging around Drew Campbell, and his younger brother Heath, it’s obvious that they live and breathe harness racing.  “We were horse-crazy as kids and learned everything we know, including shoeing our own horses, from my father,” he said. “I never wanted to do anything else and it’s really great to be able to get up every morning and love what you are doing.” noted the 54-year-old top New England reinsman.

Drew Campbell began driving horses in 1989 and has earned $17.6 million in purse earnings.  Saturday (Nov. 27) at Cumberland he picked up his win number 5,500, just like it was another day at the office.  He started the day by winning the third race with Lindas In Heaven, paying $4.80.  Then Campbell came right back to win the fifth race with Surreal Sergeant, wire-to-wire, and paid $6.20 while reaching the milestone.

“I know a lot of people that win way more races than me,” noted Winston ‘Drew’ Campbell who shares his first name with his late-father.  “But 5,500 wins is a lot of work.  Hats off to the guys that got more.”

A third generation horseman, his dad ‘Soupie’ Campbell picked up 1,784 wins in an era when catch driving was not the norm, but the exception.  Drew Campbell’s first win came aboard a horse owned by his dad named Mountain North at Exhibition Park in Saint John, New Brunswick.  At the time, it was the aspiring reinsman’s seventh career drive.

“Driving horses is a lot of sacrifice and a lot of traveling,” Campbell stated.  “I also had a lot of help from the trainers and owners.  They really put all this together!”

Campbell has enjoyed many decades of driving success, often with 300+ victory seasons and over a million in purse earnings in four separate years.  “I have a blast racing no matter what happens,” he said. “Of course I like making money, but some days things just don’t go your way or the horse simply doesn’t have it. Then you go out there the next day and do it all over again.”

Although just four years apart in age, Drew’s younger brother Heath is hot on his brother’s heels in the driving category, with 5,414 wins and $17.2 million in earnings.  “Heath is very successful in New England racing,” Campbell pointed out.  “Now he’s at Gilcrest in Florida with a large stable of colts.  I look forward to joining him soon to be his wing man.”

For Drew Campbell, every day in the horse business is a victory.

Bruce Ranger has a slight lead over Drew Campbell in the Cumberland drivers’ standings, 54-53.  Other driving doubles on the Saturday (Nov. 27) card were enjoyed by Bruce Ranger and Nick Graffam.

Bertolini Scores first win at Cumberland

November 26, 2021 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – For the 83rd time in his fledgling career, Jason Bertolini lined up behind the starting gate in a pari-mutuel purse start.  Since the year 2017 the 24-year-old has been knocking on the door, picking up five seconds and fourteen third place finishes along way.  On ‘Black’ Friday (Nov. 26) Bertolini finally rang the cash register, finding his virtual ‘stairway to heaven’ with his own Led Schneppelin in 1:59.

Bertolini went right to work in the Aaron and Ryan Hall Stable after graduating Gardiner (ME) High School in 2015.  Training and rubbing horses and learning as much as he could, he has been driving around the Maine fairs for the last five years.  This summer he asked the owners if he could buy Led Schneppelin.  They said, “sure, as long as YOU drive him.”

So off Bertolini went, into the Maine Amateur Driving Club (MADC), also known as the ‘The Greatest Sideshow in Maine Harness Racing, in charge of his own destiny.  Competing in the $4,000 ‘Group B’, perhaps his boss, driver/trainer Aaron Hall said it best in a congratulatory Facebook post, “You’ll never forget this one.  You deserve this moment more than anyone I know.”

Scoring from post five, US-born but Finnish-bred Bertolini was in no mood to let anyone go today.  He left alertly and made the top just past the eighth pole with the 10-year-old son of Memphis Flash.  From there Led Schneppelin and Jason Bertolini got every call, widening their margin on the field at every well-rated stanza.  By the head of the stretch they were on top by three and never had an anxious moment.  

Bertolini was quick to credit both of his mentors, Aaron Hall, and his mother Kirsi Bertolini, for much of his harness racing education.  “They both gave me plenty of opportunity to drive and helped give me the experience I needed,” noted the aspiring reinsman.  “Yes, today was a great day.  But like Kevin Switzer Jr. told me, ‘One day you’re a hero, one day you’re a zero.’ So I try to stay humble.”

The oldest of five siblings, Bertolini has been going to the barn since he was an infant.  His mother Kirsi is very proud of her son’s strong work ethic and his horsemanship skills.  The elder Bertolini stated, “Everyone in Maine wants him to warm up their horses because he gets along with anything.”

Jason echoed those sentiments, declaring “I believe you should work hard and dream big…and let the horses do the talking.”

Led Schneppelin belted out $11.00 to win.  Wagering favorite Colorful Speech (post 1, Zach Vickerson) finished second, American Fighter (4, Alex Richardson) was third.

Benson Merrill won the $4,500 MADC ‘A’ with Jet Aviation, paying $7.40 to win.  The third split, $3,200 MADC ‘C’ was captured by Ryan Hall with his own Librado Hanover, kicking back a whopping $19.40 to his backers.  The Maine Amateur Driving Club is sponsored by Blue Seal Feeds.

Racing resumes on Saturday (Nov. 27) with a full ten-race card, followed immediately by Cumberland’s first of five Sunday (Nov. 28) cards.  Post time remains 11:00 a.m.

Our Winter Festival extended pari-mutuel meeting continues with live harness racing several days each week through December 31, 2021.

83-Year-Old Nadeau scores with Putnams Storm

November 18, 2021 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photo)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Gray-haired Putnams Storm, a 12-year-old gelding by Force Of Life, started his harness racing journey in the province of Nova Scotia, in the Canadian Maritimes.  His owner, Bob Nadeau, an 83-year-old sales rep from Maine began his quest for trotting and pacing glory a decade before the United States Trotting Association began keeping detailed driver/trainer records in 1966.

Together, they have been having the time of their respective lives, racing and sometimes winning at Cumberland. 

“I had been racing the horse from behind lately, but have had some bad trips and gotten locked in several weeks in a row,” stated Nadeau, an independent contractor who has been selling pre-cast concrete for the last fifty years.

“Yesterday (Nov. 17) I decided, ‘That’s enough, I’m pulling early!’”

Steely-eyed Nadeau tipped the ashen Putnams Storm just past the quarter and was parked to the ¾ pole in 1:28.4, and had effectively worked his way to the lead.

“I have always loved racing horses in Maine,” noted the active octogenarian.  “But I also knew that I didn’t have enough talent to make a living driving race horses.”

Nadeau acquired Putnams Storm in June of this season, and was the fourth owner of the horse just this year.  Alas, the horse has grown on Nadeau.  “He is one of the best horses I have ever owned.  I have had Maine stakes horses since the 1970s, but this horse is special. He has a home for life.”

As game a horse as one could want, Putnams Storm has taken a race record every year for the past eleven racing seasons.  Earning his wings at Truro, NS and Charlottetown, PEI, since then the horse has changed hands and zip codes no less than a dozen times, racing all over the Northeast and Midwest.  His swiftest victory came at the Red Mile in Lexington where he scored in 1:50.4 at age five, making him perhaps the fastest gray pacer ever bred in Nova Scotia.

By the Life Sign stallion Force Of Life p,3,1:52 ($243,534), Putnams Storm is out of the Cambest mare Reading Terminal.  Lifetime he has amassed $171,113 in earnings with 35 victories to his credit.  Winning confidently by a length and a half in 2:00.1 on Wednesday (Nov. 17), the score may have caught everyone except his owner by surprise as he paid $63.20 to win and $89.80 across the board.  Prince Of Art (post 4, Dakota Jackson) finished second, Three New Dreams (post 5, Drew Campbell) was third.

Normally, no one helps Nadeau with the horse work, he is very self-sufficient.  Not only is he the trainer, driver, caretaker and shipper, but he also shoes the horse himself.

Nadeau recalled, “I did have help on Wednesday, my son, a school psychologist got off of work early and came to watch him race.  We both got our picture taken, which is special to me because he is definitely the nicest animal that I have ever had.”

In other news, Drew Campbell has tied perennial leading driver Bruce Ranger at the top of the Cumberland leader board with 50 wins apiece.  Campbell has 225 starts with 41 seconds, UDRS of .374 and earnings of $182,900.  Ranger has 226 starts with 30 seconds, UDRS of .347 and earnings of $166.545.  This is the first time this season that Ranger has had to share the top spot.  However, Ranger is still on top at Plainridge, with two more race cards remaining for the season and is just $85,354 shy from breaking the $2 million seasonal mark at the Bay State oval.

Racing continues at First Tracks Cumberland on Saturday (Nov. 20) with the regular 11:00 am post time.  Our Winter Festival extended pari-mutuel meeting continues with live harness racing several days each week through December 31, 2021.


November 3, 2021 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – The warmth of the sun was shining down upon the horses and fans for the opening day of Cumberland’s winter festival on Wednesday (Nov. 3) where a full card of ten races enjoyed robust wagering and competitive harness racing.

The $4,500 opener and co-feature was won by Mr Blissfull and driver Aaron Hall in 1:58.4.  Scoring from post two, Hall moved the 9-year-old son of Blissful Hall right to the top and never looked back.  Trained by Aaron’s father Craig Hall and owned by Robert Ferreira, Mr Blissfull picked up his fifth victory of the season and 31st of his career where he is quickly approaching a quarter million in lifetime earnings. 

Blue Seal Feeds sales representative Aimee Nichols cheerfully made the presentation to the winning connections.  Mr Blissfull paid 2.60 to win.  So It Goes (post 6, Athearn) finished second with Tail Hook (7, Watson) getting up for third.

The fourth race, second leg of the co-feature went to Daliocity and driver Andy Harrington.  Demonstrating that the front-end bias held strong through today’s card, Harrington sent the 7-year-old son of Dali out to the lead as soon as the wings folded, and continue to hold command of the tempo and the field.  Tripping the timer in 1:57.3, Daliocity picked up his seventh win of the season for owner and trainer Sarah Gibbs.

Daliocity paid $24.20 to win.  Sanattle Slew (post 1, Deslandes) finished second and provided for an $80.90 exacta.  Through The Fence (2, Hall) was third and coupled with the 5-1 resulted in a $492.30 trifecta.

Matt Athearn and Bruce Ranger both enjoyed driving doubles on today’s card, with total handle exceeding $70,000. 

Another popular ‘Business Day at the Track’ was sponsored by Key Bank and Landry French Construction with guests enjoying great food and refreshments on the track’s expansive apron.

Be sure to join us on Saturday, November 6 at the Trackside Pub to benefit ‘Futures for Standardbreds.’  Round Up, Donations, and Raffles during the races with giveaways throughout the event.  Visit Blue Seal Feeds and Futures for Standardbreds in the pub, which is hosted by the Trackside Pub and First Tracks Cumberland.  

Every card in the upcoming schedule boasts a $3,000 guaranteed Pick 5, which begins with the first race, and free past performances are available on the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Schedule:

Racing continues at First Tracks Cumberland for our Winter Festival extended pari-mutuel meeting featuring back-to-back cards on Tuesday & Wednesday (Nov. 9 & 10) and continues weekly through December 31, 2021.

For more information go to our website: 

Follow us on Facebook at @FirstTracksCumberland.


ALL Horsemen MUST complete a W9 & Purse Authorization Form

Those accounts will be on hold and no checks will be issued until completed.  

Please email completed forms and questions in regards to purse checks to: