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: firsttrackscumberland.com Follow us on Facebook at @FirstTracksCumberland