Sports Teen takes fastest Polar Express at Cumberland

December 5, 2022 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland

CUMBERLAND, ME – Dakota “Action” Jackson’s Sports Teen captured the fastest of four $6,000 elimination divisions of the Polar Express Late Closing series # 3 on Sunday (Dec. 4) at Cumberland.

Driven by Ron Cushing for trainer/owner Jackson, the 6-year-old son of Sportwriter rushed right out from post three to take command of opening panels in 27.4 and 58.4.  Mr Blissfull (Aaron Hall) sat in the two-hole while Terror Hall (Wally Watson) and wagering favorite Kick The Dirt Up (Matt Athearn) were first and second over, respectively.

With Sports Teen enjoying a comfortable margin at the 1:28 third stanza, driver Steve Wilson sensed a stalling of the outer flow and moved Touch Of Character three-wide down the backside in an attempt to decrease his lengths behind the leader.  At the head of the stretch Cushing found another gear and sprinted off to score by 6-3/4 with Sports Teen in 1:58.2.

Sports Teen paid $7.20 to win the 26th race of his career, and will be looking forward to the rich $15,000 final on Sunday (Dec. 18).  Touch Of Character finished second; Terror Hall was third.

The other three $6,000 Polar Express legs were captured by: Swellendam (Kevin Switzer Jr., 1:59.4, $12.00 to win); Twin B Impressive (Bruce Ranger, 2:00.4, $5.40); and Commondiscourtesy (Matt Athearn, 2:00, $35.60).

The $6,500 Open 2 Trot was a wire-to-wire romp for Life Well Lived, who captured the opener for driver Kevin Switzer Jr. in 2:01.3.  Trained by Billy DuBois for owner Gordon DuBois Sr., the 8-year-old son of Muscle Mass paid $6.40 to win.  Broadway Giant (Ranger) finished second; Sidd Finch (Nick Graffam) was third.

Track record holder Cherry Crown Jewel picked up the 41st win of her career, cruising to a 2:03 victory in the $5,500 Open 3 Trot.  Driven by Mark Athearn and trained by Gretchen Athearn, the 10-year-old daughter of RC Royalty paid $8.00 to win for owner Bill “Yarmouth Lumber” Phipps.  And Up We Go (Ranger) finished second; Little Macabee (Hall) was third.

Leading reinsman Bruce Ranger picked up three wins on the card, and continues to sit on top of the talented Cumberland drivers colony with 60 seasonal victories.  Kevin Switzer Jr. is in second place with 49 trips to the Blue Seal Winners Circle, following his own hat trick on Sunday.  Matty “Ice” Athearn and Walter Case Jr. are tied for third place with 46 wins apiece.  The leading conditioner of the meet is Chris Lefebvre with 28 wins.  Benson Merrill and Lisa Watson are tied for second in the trainers standings with 20 victories each.

Racing resumes Friday (Dec. 9) and continues through the weekend with the second legs of the three distinct Polar Express Late Closing series.  Cumberland’s extended pari-mutuel harness racing meet runs through December 24, 2022 with the first post at 11 am each day. 

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