July 8, 2021 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland

CUMBERLAND, ME – The Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association (MHHA), in collaboration with Love To Race author Amber Sawyer, will give a signed copy of the children’s book to the first twenty kids under 12 that attend the live harness racing at Cumberland on Saturday, July 10. In addition, First Tracks Cumberland has matched the 20 book sponsorship to raise the total give away to forty books.

“The MHHA is excited to attract young people to the harness races, and as a bonus, provide kids with an opportunity to meet an accomplished harness horsewoman-turned-author,” stated MHHA president Mike Cushing.

“We love this book and were pleased when offered the opportunity to help distribute copies to youngsters.”

Amber Sawyer will visit Cumberland as part of a whirlwind book signing tour that brought the author from her home state of Wisconsin to Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in New York, to the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey and then on to the great state of Maine.

The book recounts the story of harness racehorse, Derek Bromac N. After racing in New Zealand as a 2-, 3-, and 4-year-old, Derek was shipped to California to begin his racing career in the United States. He immediately began dominating his competition at remarkable race times. This classy bay gelding found success wherever his travels took him and was often a barn favorite. His crazy antics of always sticking his tongue out while being harnessed, and on the racetrack, made him a horse that wouldn’t easily be forgotten.

From California to New Jersey, and every racetrack in between, he was driven by some of the most elite and talented in the harness racing business. He was always known as the horse that always “gave his all.”

Follow Derek’s narration, written by his owner Amber Sawyer, and beautifully illustrated by Tami Joe DeLisle.

Sawyer’s love for horses began at an early age, and as a little girl, she would ride on her father’s lap on the jog cart as he brought the horses back from the track to the barn.

A second-generation harness racer, Sawyer’s travels have led her to race horses in Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Dakota, and Minnesota.  

The well-traveled harness horsewoman said, “I have been fortunate enough to race, jog, or train hundreds of horses from first-time starters, to a former Hambletonian contender, a $400,000 winner, and even a former track record holder.”

Besides working full time and being a single mother, Sawyer is also a freelance writer for Hoof Beats, the largest Harness Racing magazine in the country, as well as writing for the Wisconsin Horseman’s News and the Wisconsin Harness Horseman’s Association.

Live harness racing from Cumberland is presented each Tuesday and Saturday through July 31, post time is 2:30 pm, with two additional dates added Wed. & Thurs., Aug. 4 & 5 with 11 am posts.  For more information go to our website: firsttrackscumberland.com

Follow us on Facebook at @FirstTracksCumberland.