April 24, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)
CUMBERLAND, ME – The father and son duo of trainer Mike Graffam and driver Nick Graffam combined forces to grab the lion’s share of Cumberland’s Kick-Off Late Closer series #3 final on Saturday (April 23) with Cyclone Pass winning the $12,000 top purse.
When the wings folded for race nine, four horses were eager to take command. With help from the draw Rose Run Slider (post 1, Dan Deslandes) held sway through the turn, but ultimately yielded to Count To Three (post 5, Drew Campbell) who bolted to the top in a :29 opening panel.
As the field went by the stands for the first time, Eleanor Jean (post 3, Gary Mosher) flushed the cover of Baywood Shadow (post 2, Kevin Switzer Jr.) who was no longer content with the third pylon position. With a half in :59.3 Graffam saw the skies opening and moved Cyclone Pass (post 4) into the outer flow and followed along third over.
While Graffam’s cover started to stall in sixth position, the reinsman tipped three wide past a 1:28.2 third quarter and continued to pass tiring horses through the final turn. Storming down the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:59.2, the 12-year-old son of Western Cyclone grabbed the 30th win of his career.
Cyclone Pass paid $8.00 to win for owner Diane Frazier. Colorful Speech (post 7, Bruce Ranger) went from seventh to second in the last eighth of a mile to overtake Count To Three who hung on for third.
In the seventh race $10,000 Kick-Off LC series #2 final driver Walter Case Jr. left the field in his wake, steering favorite Oceanview Echo (post 3) to a decisive 13 length victory. Trained and owned by Dana Whittemore, Case has guided the 5-year-old Rollwithitharry mare to three wins in as many starts.
Oceanview Echo paid $4.40 to win in 1:57.4. Sandinista finished second; Meetmeatthedance was third.
Drew Campbell, Walter Case Jr. and Kevin Switzer Jr. all enjoyed two driving wins on the card. Following six programs and 72 races, Dan Deslandes holds a one dash lead over Kevin Switzer Jr. in the drivers’ standings, 11-10. Bruce Ranger is third with 7 wins, with Walter Case Jr. and Aaron Hall tied for fourth with 6 all.
The early leader in the training ranks is Chris Lefebvre with 7 wins in 25 starts. Jamie Gerard holds the highest UTRS of .513 with 4 wins in 13 starts.
Horsemen should note the new draw schedule for Cumberland Raceway:
Race Date: Friday, April 29 (Box closes 9 am, Tuesday, April 26);
Race Date: Saturday, April 30 (Box closes 9 am, Wednesday, April 27);
Post time for the Spring/Summer meet is set for 3 p.m. on both Fridays and Saturdays, with the extended pari-mutuel meeting racing each weekend through July 23.
More information can be found on our website: https://firsttrackscumberland.com and on our Facebook page: First Tracks Cumberland.