December 16, 2021 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland

CUMBERLAND, ME – The second round of three elimination legs of the Fred Nichols Memorial Late Closing Series went postward at First Tracks Cumberland on Wednesday (Dec. 15), with two new victors and one repeat winner visiting the Blue Seal Winners Circle.

The first $5,000 division was a wire-to-wire romp for Sanattle Slew and driver Dan Deslandes.  The meet’s third leading reinsman put the 10-year-old son of Santanna Blue Chip on the front end from post five, and never looked back.  Scoring in 1:58.3 by 3-3/4 lengths, it was Sanattle Slew’s fourth victory in his last five starts.

Trained by Karl Butterfield for owner Jose Cerventes, Sanattle Slew paid $6.00 to win.  Cool Jack (Aaron Hall) finished second; Through The Fence (Drew Campbell) was third.

Obscene Blue Chip and Matt Athearn (Stephanie Gray photo)

The second div. went to repeat winner Obscene Blue Chip and driver Matt Athearn.  Starting from post six, the 7-year-old son of Western Ideal had the best view of favorite Mach Diesel (Bruce Ranger) cutting fractions of 28.2, and 58.2 to the half.  Southwind Terror (Nick Graffam) was the first to pull first over, with Obscene Blue Chip (Athearn) enjoying that second over cover into a 1:27.2 third quarter.

Matt Athearn urged Obscene Blue Chip down the lane and squeaked out the win by a nose in 1:59.2 over King Royalty (Kevin Switzer).  Mach Diesel (Ranger) finished third by a neck.

Trained by Kenneth Secord for owner Cris Wescott, Obscene Blue Chip paid $6.00 to win.

The third and final division of the Fred Nichols was captured by So It Goes and Nick Graffam who got up in the final strides to win by a nose over favorite Commondiscourtesy (Drew Campbell) in 1:58.4.

Trained and co-owned by Brian Lamb with Mona Dodd, So It Goes lit up the tote board, paying $62.00 to win.

Named for the man that was instrumental in keeping Maine’s Harness Racing Industry alive, Nichols wore many hats in our industry, including, but not limited to USTA director, race secretary and promotions director.  The top eight money earners (listed below) that raced in both legs and subsequently enter will qualify for the $15,000 final on Wednesday, December 22.

Kevin Switzer Jr. enjoyed two driving wins on the program.  Bruce Ranger and Drew Campbell each had one win on the card, which was enough to keep the former in first place by one victory over the latter, in the on-going battle for Cumberland’s top dash-winning reinsman.

Racing resumes once again on Saturday (Dec. 18) and Sunday (Dec. 19), post time for all race dates is 11:00 a.m.

Our Winter Festival extended pari-mutuel meeting continues with live harness racing several days each week through December 31, 2021, which is also the date of our special retirement ceremonies for 14-year-old Standardbred horses.

For more information, go to our website:


1)        $5000      OBSCENE BLUE

2)        $3750      COMMONDISCOURTESY

T-3)     $3100      SANATTLE SLEW

T-3)     $3100      THROUGH THE FENCE

T-5)     $2500      COOL JACK

T-5)     $2500      SO IT GOES

T-7)     $1850      MACH DIESEL

T-7)     $1850      PO PO DEE

9)        $1250      KING ROYALTY

T-10)   $1000      JOEY THE THIRD

T-10)   $1000      TAIL HOOK

T-12)     $650      BET ON SUCCESS

T-12)     $650      REAL SANCHO

14)        $500      MOONSHINECHARLEIGH

T-15)     $400      SOUTHWIND TERROR

T-15)     $400      TOE TAG

17)        $250      ROCKAHOLIC