June 16, 2021 – by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)
CUMBERLAND, ME – The rivalry between Winners Over victor Rocksapatriot and nemesis Airspinder continued at Cumberland on Tuesday (June 15). Currently, after four rounds of heavyweight action, the score cards are tied at ‘two all.’
The $6,000 Winners Over $10,000 lifetime is the featured overnight in the state of Maine. The first time these two horses met in the top pace at Cumberland on May 18, Airspinder won with Rocksapatriot just getting beat by a quarter-length for second. Airspinder took the next week off.
On June 1, these two met again, with this scribe forecasting that Airspinder was “looking for two-in-a-row.”
Perhaps camera shy, adverse to publicity, or simply bad racing luck may have prevented the former from realizing the predicted outcome, providing Rocksapatriot an opportunity to even the score and win decisively by almost three lengths.
Shipping North to Bangor on June 9, outside of the realm of this reporter, Airspinder reclaims his title, with Rocksapatriot finishing third. Now the tally is two-to-one, for those keeping score at home.
Unintentionally, but yet once again, previous to Tuesday’s bout this prognosticator calls the trainer of Airspinder, Chris Lefebvre, and finds out that now the ownership of the horse have become somewhat ‘publicity adverse.’ This is due in no small part to prophecies made on or about June 1. But, that didn’t stop this beat writer from advancing the cause, and predicting Airspinder ‘King of the Airspace’ on June 15.
But, Rocksapatriot and driver Dave Ingraham had other ideas. Collectively, they were not concerned with air traffic control, rush hour congestion or any other form of transportation bottlenecking. Ingraham pulled the six-year-old son of Rockincam first over into an evenly rated half by pacesetter Jet Aviation (Bruce Ranger). Airspinder (Drew Campbell) picked up the live cover second over, following Rocksapatriot into a 1:28 (28.3) third-quarter.
As the field rounded the final turn Rocksapatriot stuck a head in front and started to gain some separation from his adversary Airspinder, sprinting home in :28.2 to win by 1 ½ lengths in 1:56.3. Airspinder continued to chase valiantly, but to no avail, and despite his :28.1 last quarter, the five-year-old son of No Spin Zone had to settle for second best. Jet Aviation finished third, with betting favorite The Bus A grabbing fourth.
Driver Dave Ingraham noted, “I was looking for Cushing [The Bus A] to give me cover, but I had to move myself. You have to be careful driving him. He sees things and sometimes spooks. He wears a turn-up shadow roll, a murphy blind on the outside, and a cheek piece on the inside. But once he gets rolling, he’s pretty sharp.”
Not unaware of the inclinations of handicappers to pick against him, Ingraham adds with a laugh, “You just keep writing about Airspinder!”
Trained by Kelly Case for owner/breeder Stephen J Farrell, Rocksapatriot paid $9.60 to win.
Race three witnessed a full-field of eight battling for the $4,800 purse in the NW4000 pace. Southwind Terror (Nick Graffam) asserted his dominance to make it three-in-a-row at the iconic Southern Maine oval.
Sent off as the mild 2-1 favorite, the Christopher Hitchcock-trained 11-year-old son of Camluck got away seventh. Nonetheless regular driver Nick Graffam had the 46-lifetime winner out and rolling at the half, and was forced three-wide going down the backside to engage in a battle with pacesetter January (Matt Athearn) and Rocnrolwilneverdie (Drew Campbell).
As the field turned for home, track announcer Scott Ehrlich exclaimed, “they are coming from everywhere” and Southwind Terror took the lead and fought off any would-be spoilers to win in 1:57.1 by three-quarters of a length. Miss U Big Mike (Bruce Ranger) jumped up to be second, and Haydenssmoothmove (Heath Campbell) finished third.
Southwind Terror paid $6.20 to win.
Dave Ingraham, Bruce Ranger and Drew Campbell all had driving doubles on the Tuesday (June 15) card, and in each case they victories were in back-to-back races. Trainer Elisha Lafreniere had two successive wins as well.
Seasonally, Bruce Ranger still leads all drivers with 23 victories, followed in second by Dan Deslandes (17), with Drew Campbell and Kevin Switzer Jr. tied for third with 12 trips each to the Cumberland winners circle.
Racing returns this Saturday (June 19) with the popular Maine Amateur Driving Club, sponsored by Blue Seal Feeds, and three-year-old filly pacers take center stage in the Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes.
Live harness racing from Cumberland is presented each Tuesday and Saturday through early August, post time is 2:30 pm. For more information go to our website: firsttrackscumberland.com
Follow us on Facebook at @FirstTracksCumberland.