July 21, 2021 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)
CUMBERLAND, ME – Driver David Ingraham is no stranger to driving longshots. Although respected by his peers, the 59-year-old reinsman is perhaps losing a few mounts to the up-and-coming young guns of Maine.
But that fact did not stop Ingraham from putting 6-1 fifth choice Patanjali N in perfect position to pounce on a tiring leader and win the $12,500 Donald Richards Maine Legends Pacing Series Final on Tuesday (July 20) at Cumberland.
Scoring from post two, Ingraham left alertly with Patajali N, forcing the favorite Media Queen N (post three, Bruce Ranger) to take command into a :27.4 first panel. Tactician Ranger did his best to back off the pace to a :58.1 half, giving his mare a much-needed :31 second stanza breather. But the damage may have already been done. By the three quarter pole Ranger had pulled the plugs on Media Queen, and while witnessing firsthand the shortening strides Ingraham found room in the turn to pull the pocket and get up for a 2-length margin of victory in 1:56.4.
An 8-year-old mare by American Ideal, Patanjali N paid $14.20 to win for trainer Chris Lefebvre and owner Michelle Lefebvre. Media Queen held on for second, who was noses apart from Mickey Blu (finished third, Drew Campbell) and Humor Me (finished fourth, Nick Graffam).
The Maine Legends pacing series trophies were sponsored by the Maine Harness Horseman’s Association and Blue Seal Feeds of North Yarmouth and Windham.
The Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes (MSBS) for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings witnessed 4-5 favorite Call Me Maverick (post six, Mike Stevenson) confirming his dominance, scoring in a seasonal best 1:57.2 over a rain-soaked track in the post time delayed third race.
A son of Western Maverick, Call Me Maverick drew post six in the second division with eight horses vying for the $10,402 purse, with just seven betting interests. A Sweet Bidda Luck (post five, Ron Cushing) blasted away from the car to assume control and remained on the lead until the half-mile marker. Stevenson pulled Call Me Maverick from third position and moved up swiftly to take command and continued to extend his lead with every stride, drawing off to win by nine lengths.
Owned and bred by Upland Farm, Call Me Maverick paid $3.60 to win for trainer Gordon Corey. A Sweet Bidda Luck finished second, Whatawinwillie (post 1, Kevin Switzer Jr.) was third.
During the first MSBS, rain began to fall as the field went to the gate, changing the dynamic of the race.
Lord Dynamic (post 4, Matt Athearn) moved swiftly to the front when the wings folded and never looked back, winning his second Maine-sired event of the year, in a new lifetime mark of 1:59.1. The sophomore son of Baron Biltmore is trained by Gretchen Athearn for owner and breeder Jason Vafiades.
Lord Magnetic paid $10.00 to win. Paxton (post 5, Heath Campbell) finished second; Hollywood Skeeter (post seven, Nick Graffam) was third.
Matt Athearn, Dan Deslandes and Bruce Ranger all had driving doubles on the day’s card. Leading conditioner Benson Merrill also won two.
The next card at Cumberland features the $7,500 Maine Amateur Driving Club Final on Saturday, July 24.
Live harness racing continues at Cumberland on Wednesday, July 28 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
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