Octogenarian Nadeau takes Maine Amateur at Cumberland

June 16, 2024, by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland

CUMBERLAND, ME – 86-year-old owner-trainer-driver Bob Nadeau had been winless in seven starts this season.  That all changed on Saturday (June 15) at Cumberland, when the youthful octogenarian steered his own N Expense to victory in a $5,000 division of the Maine Amateur Driving Club.

A concrete salesman by trade, the affable and hard-working part-time horseman has never let age get in the way of his passion for racing.

“I have been doing forty chin ups every day, ever since I was on the football team in high school,” noted Nadeau.  “Not only has this helped keep me fit, but has also been useful in the bike when these horses start to get a little grabby.”

In Saturday’s victory, Nadeau found himself splitting horses with his 2-hole position and left alertly along with the pylon-protecting I’ll Call You Later (Derek Howes) and Goin Manstyle (Hunter Lofthus) who was forcing the quick opening pace on the outside.

86-year-old driver Bob Nadeau scores with his own N Expense at Cumberland (Joe Shaw photo)

However, once around the turn the pacesetting I’ll Call You Later dramatically downgraded the tempo, resulting in a pedestrian 29 second opening panel.  With the field stacked up tightly around the far turn, Nadeau pops the pocket going into a 1:01 even softer second quarter.

With the upbeat rhythm heading into the backstretch for the final time, N Expense looked I’ll Call You Later right in the eye, and then went right on by.  After a 1:29.4 third section, Nadeau kept right on rolling down to the wire by an open five lengths, scoring in 2:01.1.  It was the second seasonal victory for the Nova Scotia-bred 13-year-old son of N Xample, who paid $10.60 for the triumph.

Owned, trained and driven to victory by Bob Nadeau, it was the reinsman’s first visit to the winners circle since December of last year when his gray stable star Putnam’s Storm won the $7,000 Frosty Final.  Nadeau has been driving horses since 1977 and has quietly amassed 165 victories and earned $261,508.

Bob Nadeau with Putnam’s Storm (Chris Tully photo).

Always modest, Nadeau stated, “I never made a lot of money driving horses, but I have always had a lot of fun.  And you can’t put a price on that!”

In other news, former track record holder Rocksapatriot driven by Dave Ingraham sat a perfect 2-hole trip to upset pacesetting favorite Instant Replay (Walter Case Jr.) to win the $6,000 feature in 1:57.2.  They paid $12.80 to win for owner-trainer Kelly Case.

Former Maine sire stakes champion Call Me Maverick returned to his home track to take a $5,500 conditioned pace in a swift 1:55.4.  Paying $2.40 to win, Mike Stevenson drove for trainer Allison Hynes.  The summa cum laude graduate of the Gordon Corey Institute of Equine Erudition remains the homebred property of Upland Farm.

Stephen LaCasse took the other $5,000 Maine Amateur Driving Club (MADC) event, picking up his first win of the year with Nets Of Passion in 1:58.4.  They paid $3.80 and were the favorites from the pylon position.  The MADC is sponsored by the Blue Seal Feed Stores of North Yarmouth and Windham, Maine.

The Maine Sire Stakes opened the card with two $16,196 divisions of 3-year-old filly pacers, with Push Your Luck (Walter Case Jr.) scoring in 2:01.2 for owner-trainer-breeder Marc Tardif.  The daughter of Thirty Two Red paid $6.60 to win.  Pembroke Red (Heath Campbell-Valerie Grondin) finished second; favorite My Sweet Revenge (Kevin Switzer Jr.-Tardif) was third.

In the second $16,196 division heavy favorite Gowestyounggrace took the overland route and wore down her challengers to score in 1:58.1.  Driven by Dave Ingraham for trainer and co-owner Fred Ward with partner Sharon Ward, the daughter of Western Maverick paid a paltry $2.20.  Pacesetter Who’s Perfect (Campbell-Grondin) was second; Ghost Of You (Switzer-Tardif) was third.

Racing resumes Friday (June 21) which includes several divisions of the Maine Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotters.

The First Tracks Cumberland meet continues throughout the summer months with regular racing on Friday and Saturday each weekend during the extended pari-mutuel meeting, which runs through August 3.  Post time is always 3:15 pm.

For additional information, visit our website at firsttrackscumberland.com, or find us on social media at https://www.facebook.com/FirstTracksCumberland/