Burns wins first Amateur Race; Cumberland Derby a big hit in Maine

July 3, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Hundreds of fans flocked to First Tracks Cumberland on Saturday (July 2) for the inaugural Cumberland Derby and Family Fun and Value Day.  In addition to a full card of harness racing, and an extended ‘meet and greet’ session with all the top harness drivers, seven lucky fans split $500 in prize money by picking horses in the interactive event.

The day began with a $11,477 Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes (MSBS) pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. As the wings folded Andy Harrington hustled Storm Artist to the top for trainer Marc Tardif.  While the son of Gaelic Thunder set speedy fractions of 28, 57.3, 1:26 his stable mate Stormin Maverick (Kevin Switzer Jr.) waited patiently for the stretch drive and breezed home in a new lifetime mark of 1:58.3.

Trained by Marc Tardif and owned by Leighton Property, the son of Western Maverick paid $7.20 to win.  Ugotaearnyourstripes finished second; Use Yah Blinkah was third.

Following the second race, all the local professional drivers arrived on the apron for their chance to interact with the fans, sign autographs, pose for selfies, and enjoy a moment of levity.  Among the group with 60,000 lifetime victories and $240 million in collective earnings was Bruce Ranger, Drew & Heath Campbell, Dave Ingraham, Dan Deslandes, Nick Graffam, Matt Athearn, Aaron Hall, Walter Case Jr., and others.  Fans lined up to receive their free, color autograph cards and jumped at the chance to hang out with their favorites.

The reason that these reinsmen were able to take a few races ‘off’ was because the next two races were Maine Amateur Driving Club events, sponsored, as always, by Blue Seal Feeds. 

The third race was captured by Mystical Wally who was driven by Alex Richardson in a wire-to-wire score in 1:58.3.  Trained by Billy DuBois and owned by Gordon DuBois Sr., the 7-year-old son of Jereme’s Jet picked up the 20th victory of his career and paid $10.80 to win.

Tricia Star (Ryan Hall) finished second; Led Schneppelin (Jason Bertolini) was third.

Lucky Michael (Brewster Burns)

The fourth race, the second MADC event was won by driver Brewster Burns, taking his first victory in the ‘greatest side show’ in Maine harness racing.  Moving first over up the backstretch to the ¾ pole in 1:27, Burns hustled Lucky Michael to the lead at the head of the stretch and cruised home to pay dirt in a swift 1:56.2, a new seasonal mark.  Lucky Michael is trained and co-owned by Mike Cushing with Mike Graham and paid $6.00 to win.

Librado Hanover (Ryan Hall) finished second; Worth Watch (Benson Merrill) was third.

Kevin Switzer Jr. and Marc Tardif teamed up for another victory in the MSBS $11,477 filly division, which was won by the 3-year-old Western Maverick filly Deal With It Roman.  Marc Tardif is also the owner and breeder.  She paid $2.40 to win.

Bandolito Blaze finished second; Ranaldi was third.

By this time nearly a hundred fans had entered the Cumberland Derby contest and as the designated ninth race drew closer, seven winners were selected by lot to represent their respective picks.

The winner of the ninth race was post position number 4, Ira Chief, who was driven by Nick Graffam for trainer Mike Graffam.  The winning connections were joined in the winners circle by the Cumberland Derby winners, all wearing their post position T-shirts.  Collectively, they shared $500 in prize money, with the top prize going to the first place finisher.

Cumberland Derby (Ira Chief, Nick Graffam)

Winnie the Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association mascot was on hand to meet young fans, who also received free USTA coloring books and crayons.

Kevin Switzer Jr. won three races on the on the program.

Racing resumes Friday (July 8), post time 4 pm.

More information can be found on our website: https://firsttrackscumberland.com and on our Facebook page: First Tracks Cumberland.