April 16, 2023, by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)
CUMBERLAND, ME – Local reinsman Kevin Switzer Jr. won three races on the Saturday (April 15) program at Cumberland, including both $6,000 features. Known to extract speed from a horse, Switzer Jr. already owns the track record for an aged pacing horse, and was back to his old tricks setting the fastest mile of the early meet on opening weekend.
Switzer began his three-bagger by sending McStoned Again right to the top from the dreaded eight-hole in the Winners Over Handicap Trot in race five. Parked to the quarter in 31, “Switz” settled in to take command and led the 5-year-old son of Wishing Stone through comfortable fractions of 1:03.3 and 1:34.3 before the outer flow started to threaten his grasp on the lead.
At the head of the stretch he found another gear and the wagering favorite rolled to a 30.1 final quarter to best Inukchuk Chuck (Gary Mosher) by a measured neck in 2:04.4. Massive Lightning (Nick Graffam) finished third.
This was McStoned Again first start in Maine, having made a dozen seasonal starts at Miami Valley (OH). Now with trainer Christopher Hitchcock, it was the trotter’s second victory of the year. McStoned Again paid $6.20 to win and is owned by Michael Pease.
Two races later Switzer Jr. came right back to take the $6,000 Winners Over Handicap Pace with Lexus Witha View A in 1:55.4, which was the fastest mile of the fledgling season at Cumberland. Leaving from post six, the 9-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere led every step of the way in 27.2, 57.3 and 1:26.2, never having an anxious moment.
The heavy favorite cruised home a winner by 2 lengths and paid $2.80. Trained and co-owned by Jamie Gerard with Strategic Racing Stable, it was the second triumph of the season for Lexus Witha View A, who is now a few thousand dollars shy of $300,000 in lifetime earnings.
The co-feature provided a ‘Down Under’ Triple with The Bird Dance N (Nick Graffam) finishing second and Bush Man N (Gary Mosher) was third. The 6-8-2 trifecta paid $40.10 on a $1 ticket.
Speaking of payouts, several favorites faltered on the day’s program, with longshot bettors enjoying double-digit win tickets. Race three witnessed Bruce Ranger score with Liewhentruthwildo at 12-1 and paid $26.20 to win. Aaron Hall scored with Little Macabee in race six, paying $22.60 to win. Race eight went to Gary Mosher and Go Sandy Go who got back $29.00 ‘on the nose.’ In the finale, Steve Wilson steered 17-1 longshot Lucky Michael home to a $39.40 winning ticket.
Switzer Jr. also won race nine with Foxy Trottin Stick to complete the winning troika. Perennial leading reinsman Bruce Ranger had two wins on the program, bringing the ‘Ranger-watch-10,000’ count to -30. Conditioner Jamie Gerard enjoyed two training victories.
Wagering was strong, once again, for the second day of Cumberland’s opening weekend. Punters pushed $128,000 through the pari-mutuel system, which was up $53,000 from last year despite two fewer races.
Horsemen are reminded to check the condition sheet for our two ‘Spring Fling’ late closing series which starts this coming weekend. The Track Master Rating conditioned events vie for an impressive $15,000 and $20,000 final purse respectively, the following weekend, and is listed on our condition sheet on the USTA’s online entry system.
Racing resumes on Friday & Saturday, April 21 & 22. First Track’s Cumberland Spring/Summer continues throughout the Spring and early Summer months with regular racing on Friday and Saturday each weekend. First post remains 3:15 pm (EDT) during the extended pari-mutuel meeting, which runs through August 5.
For additional information, go to: https://firsttrackscumberland.com/