Southwind Terror one tick shy off Track Record

June 8, 2021 – by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Driver Nick Graffam sent the rangy Southwind Terror away from the starting car like he was being chased by a zombie apocalypse.  Leaving from post five in the $4,800 feature pace, the 11-year-old son of Camluck never gave his assailants a second chance as he went coast to coast in 1:54.4, which was just one fifth of a second off the Cumberland track record for Older Gelding Pacers. 

Trained by Christopher Hitchcock for owner Michael Pease, this was Southwind Terror’s third victory of the season, second at Cumberland, and 45th of his career.  The win puts him over $350,000 lifetime.

January A (Matty “Ice” Athearn) was content to sit in the catbird seat for the entire mile, and finished second.  Nets of Passion (David Ingraham) got up in the final strides to finish third.

Southwind Terror paid $3.40 to win, in what was the first sub-1:55 mile of the track’s inaugural extended pari-mutuel season.

The front end held up very well in today’s harness racing action, as five of eight races were won by horses that were at or near the front end by the half.  Yet, only three wagering favorites prevailed, giving punters incentive to stay off the chalk.

In the finale, it was a tight finish with three horses separated by just a half-length at the wire.  When the dust settled it was Mickey Blu who came from off the pace from post eight to eliminate her co-conspirators and grab the loot.

Driven by Drew Campbell, the 12-year-old McArdle mare got away sixth, and was back ten lengths off the leaders as the field went down the backstretch to the quarter pole.  Pulling third-over going to the half, and now back just five lengths moving forward, Campbell revved up the 45-time winner and started to wear down the other mares in the $4,200 Fillies and Mares NW3000 pace.  Pecking them off one-by-one as the field rounded the final turn Mickey Blu had shortened the gap to pay dirt considerably and got up in the final strides to win in 1:57.2.

Only a half-length separated the winner from Media Queen N (Ranger), who finished second, despite being parked most of the circuit, and show dough darling We’re Gonna Rock (Matt Athearn) who was also not forwardly placed during the early going from post seven.

Trained and owned by Kimberly Vafiades, Mickey Blu paid $11.80 to win.

Bruce Ranger and Drew Campbell both had driving doubles on the day’s card, which was an exceptionally warm 91 degrees at post time.

Racing from Cumberland is presented every Tuesday and Saturday, through early August, first post is 2:30 pm (EDT).  For more information go to our website: Follow us on Facebook at @FirstTracksCumberland

Led Schneppelin Remains Aloft at Cumberland

June 5, 2021 – by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Michael McGee made a bold move and put his own Led Schneppelin on the front end of the Maine Amateur Drivers Club (MADC) race Saturday (June 5) at Cumberland.   The move turned out to be the right one, and despite having several competitors try to puncture his lead, the 10-year-old son of Memphis Flash held off all would-be conquerors to capture the $4,200 NW2000 event in 1:59.3.

First it was 83-year-old Robert Nadeau who tried to stick Putnams Storm’s nose in front while some confusion reigned in the back of the pack.  Pulling first over going to the half, the 5-year-old son of A Rocknroll Dance was turned away by a determined McGee and Led Schnepelin.

After Nadeau gets stung and hung past the 5/8, Benson Merrill and Kreacher approached the leader going to the ¾ pole.  Kreacher and Led Schneppelin fought valiantly all the way to the wire, but the latter prevailed by a head to take home the lion’s share of the purse and the bragging rights for this week’s amateur event.

His first win of the season, but 35th of his career, Led Schneppelin is approaching $315,000 in lifetime earnings for owners Michael McGee and Scott McGee.  Trained by Aaron Hall, he paid $10.40 to win.

In the winner’s circle, Michael McGee’s family and friends were greeted by Melanie Locke who presented a ‘swag bucket’ trophy of stable supplies on behalf of the Windham and North Yarmouth Blue Seal Feed stores.

The featured trot of the day was the $4,800 NW4000, captured by Cherry Crown Jewel and driver Matt “Ice” Athearn in 1:59.  Trained by Gretchen Athearn for owner William Phipps, the 9-year-old daughter of RC Royalty took advantage of a perfect two-hole trip that provided for an open length victory following a costly break in the final turn by pacesetter Jimmy Dean.  Cherry Crown Jewel paid $7.20 to win.

Top gun pilot Bruce Ranger enjoyed two wins on the program, as did trainer Marc Tardif.  Aaron Hall got both a catch driving win and a training win in the MADC on Saturday’s card.

Live harness racing from Cumberland is presented each Tuesday and Saturday, through early August.  Post time is 2:30 pm (EDT).  For more information go to our website:

Follow us on Facebook at @FirstTracksCumberland.