Second leg of Winter Series highlights Cumberland weekend

December 15, 2023 – by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland (Joe Shaw photo)

CUMBERLAND, ME – The Winter Late Closing Series at First Tracks Cumberland highlights the long weekend of racing at the iconic Southern Maine oval, with five divisions of the Gingerbread Series kicking off the activities on Friday (Dec. 15).

Each leg goes for $5,500 this week, with a $10,000 final on Christmas Eve.  The series drew a total of 35 entrants for the second round, with the quintet of races sprinkled throughout the card.

Millionaire Lucan Hanover is the 6-5 favorite in the second division, scoring from post four in race three.  The 13-year-old veteran by Western Ideal scooted home to win in 1:58 last week, opening up by 4-3/4 lengths.  Owned, trained and driven by Aaron Hall, the winner of 68 races and $1.39 million lifetime surely demonstrates that age is just a number.

Race secretary Rob Pennington, and his assistant Andrew Topham, also added the Frosty pop-up series to last week’s condition sheet, resulting in three $5,000 divisions TrackMaster 60 pacers.

Eleven races go postward on Friday (Dec. 15) with 10:55 am slated as the first post.

Saturday’s (Dec. 16) card features two $6,000 divisions of the Rudolph Late Closer Pace, with those pacers looking for a spot in the $10,000 final.  All series will also enjoy $7,000 consolations, entries permitting.

On the Sunday (Dec. 17) program the $6,000 Holly Pace and $6,000 Jack Frost Trot late closers also enjoy two and three divisions respectively.  This is also the second leg of these series, and each have a $10,000 final on Dec. 24. 

Race six on Sunday carries the $4,400 seventh leg of the Maine Amateur Driving Club (MADC) race, with a $6,000 Winter final slated for Sunday (Dec. 24).  As always, the MADC events are sponsored by the Blue Seal Feed Stores of North Yarmouth and Windham.

Looking ahead, Cumberland’s third annual Au Revoir Retirement Ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday (Dec. 23).  Seventeen 14-year-old Standardbreds will parade in front of the stands and be recognized by the announcer and feted in the winners circle with gifts and prizes.  Those that are still racing are cordially invited to participate in our $6,000 Auld Lang Syne race for older pacers, where the foals of 2009 will be given preference and inside post positions.  Trainers are encouraged to check the upcoming condition sheet for more details.

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.  A total of 31 races will be offered over the upcoming Dec. 15 – 17 span.  First post is a now 10:55 am each day.

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

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