Alex Having Fun enjoys victory at Cumberland

December 10, 2023 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland (JOE SHAW PHOTOS)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Alex Having Fun enjoyed storming down the stretch to catch his colleagues at the wire to capture Saturday’s (Dec. 9) $6,500 featured winners over handicap pace in a swift 1:56 at First Tracks Cumberland.

Driven by Aaron Hall, the 6-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven was saddled with post position seven but managed to get away fourth in the early going.  High-energy wagering favorite The Bird Dance N (Dan Deslandes) scooted away from the car like an upbeat Tango performer, setting a blistering :27.4 opening panel.

As the field settle down and the gaps began to close, Hall moved Alex Having Fun first over into a ‘breath-catching’ :58.2 half.   The challenger continued to bear down on the leader through an up-tempo 1:26.3 third stanza, with the pair heads apart as they rounded the final turn for home.

Hall let out a notch and let Alex Having Fun have his head as the pair paced swiftly down to the wire, winning by 2-1/4 lengths.  Owned and trained by Kimberly Vafiades, it was the sixth victory of the year for the top pacer.  His seasonal earnings now exceed $88,000, and he paid $5.60 to win.

The Bird Dance N finished second; Ranaldi (Kevin Switzer Jr.) was third.

The program also included three $5,000 divisions of the Rudolph Late Closing Pacing Series.  The first division was captured by Art Of Endurance, who scored in a season’s best 1:56.  Driven by Kevin Switzer Jr. for trainer Benson Merrill and owners John and Thelma Kiernan and Tom Bemont, the 5-year-old son of Artspeak picked up his third win in a row at Cumberland.  He paid $16.80 for the triumph.

The remaining Rudolph divisions were captured by Tim McMiki (1:59.3; $3.00) for driver Bruce Ranger and trainer Randy Bickmore; and Nagle (1:58.1, $14.20) with Dan Deslandes driving for Jeff Deslandes.

The next round of Rudolphs will compete for $6,000 purses next week, with the $10,000 final slated for Dec. 24.

Bruce Ranger had three wins on the program, with Dan Deslandes and Aaron Hall getting driving doubles.

Trainer Benson Merrill harnessed two winners.

Racing continues Sunday (Dec. 10) at Cumberland with a $554.86 carryover in the Pick-5, which starts in race three.

The Winter Festival continues at First Tracks Cumberland with our ‘December to Remember’ three-day weekends of racing.  The entire holiday month enjoys a three-peat of Friday-Saturday-Sunday programs.  First post is a now few minutes earlier, slated for 10:55 am each day.

Racing at Cumberland continues three days each week through Christmas Eve, 2023. 

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