July 22, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photo)
CUMBERLAND, ME – As the penultimate program of the Spring-Summer meet at First Tracks Cumberland got underway, Ry’s Red Rocket roared past the pack to victory and grabbed the final $6,000 Open 3 Pace of the meet.
As the wings folded driver Matty “Ice” Athearn took a seat with the 5-year-old mare by Sunshine Beach, allowing front-running Nagle (Dan Deslandes) to control the tempo and stroll to a 28.3 opening panel.
Getting away fifth the Donnie Richards-trained lass waited until the field passed the 3/8 marker, and at the head of the stretch they picked up the cover of Rocksapatriot (Dave Ingraham) who pulled first over. As the field passed the stands for the first time, Nagle continued to set the pace getting to the half in 59.
When the group bunched up heading into a 1:27 third panel, Athearn was unwilling to wait any longer and pulled Ry’s Red Rocket three-wide down the backside to make a bold move for the lead.
With Nagle on the pylons and Rocksapatriot between them, the trio paced around the turn in unison and were mere heads apart as they entered the lane. Racing toward the wire the mare found another gear and got up by a quarter-length in the final strides to best Rocksapatriot. Nagle hung on for third.
Ry’s Red Rocket paid $3.80 to win, with the time of the mile in 1:56.3.
Owned and trained by Donnie Richards, it was the fifth seasonal victory for Ry’s Red Rocket.
Pickmepickme won the lone $11,703 Maine Breeders Stakes for 2-year-old pacing fillies, which was held before the program. Driven by Andy Harrington for owner/trainer/breeder Marc Tardif, the daughter of Western Maverick now has two wins in three stakes races this season.
Matt Athearn, Walter Case Jr., Aaron Hall and Wally Watson all enjoyed driving doubles on the day’s program.
The final date of racing for the Spring-Summer season will be held Saturday (July 23) at 4 p.m. Another round of Maine Amateur Driving Club action is on tap, sponsored by Blue Seal Feeds, along with several Open Pacing events and a $6,000 Open Trot.
The final race on both Friday and Saturday features our 20 cent Hi-Five (Pentafecta), with a low takeout of 16%.
More information can be found on our website: https://firsttrackscumberland.com and on our Facebook page: First Tracks Cumberland.