June 1, 2024, by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland (Joe Shaw photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Both $5,500 co-featured events on Friday’s (May 31) Cumberland card were wire-to-wire romps by their respective victors, Broadway Giant and Pretty Gorgeous.

In the top trot opener perennial leading reinsman Bruce Ranger sent Broadway Giant right to the top and never looked back.  Hitting the opening panel in 28.4, the 10-year-old son of Broadway Hall settled in on the point and allowed the battle for second to appear in his rear-view mirror.

Steve Wilson had 13-1 longshot Inquiring Mind safely in the two-hole after the start, but Dan Deslandes had the French trotter and 6-5 favorite Elegant Dulupin ranging up on the outside into a 59.2 half mile marker, after letting a parked-out Jax Spratt (Aaron Hall) into the three-hole.  Following the live cover in the outer flow was Walter Case Jr. with Luvcrunchess.

Down the backside the final time the leader had gained some separation as Little Macabee (Drew Campbell) pushed three-wide into the 1:28.1 third panel with the rest of the field gapping behind the pacesetter and bunched up in the final turn.

As they turned for home Broadway Giant was on top by four and looking for more.  The scuffle for second stormed on with the challengers giving chase to no avail.

Broadway Giant prevailed by a comfortable 2-3/4 lengths in 1:59.1, a new seasonal mark.  Owned and trained by Ron Patoine, it was his third win in six starts this year, pushing his lifetime earnings to $165,858.  He paid $9.80 to win.

Elegant Dulupin FR finished second; Inquiring Mind was third.

A few events later and the $5,500 fillies and mares pace witnessed another front-end folly with Kevin Switzer Jr. leading 6-5 favorite Pretty Gorgeous through a 28.0 first panel tussle with the pylon protecting Gimme Some Lovin’ (Andy Harrington).

While Switzer cleared with the wagering choice, he backed down the tempo to a 58.2 half, prompting Case to pull A Black Diamond first over and challenge for the lead.  With Harrington and Gimme Some Lovin’ glued to Switzer’s helmet, and Case rolling on the outside the pack hit the third stanza in a furious 1:26.1.

As the field turned for home Pretty Gorgeous drifted out into the center of the track, allowing Harrington and Gimme Some Lovin’ to get a momentary advantage.  Pretty Gorgeous fought back valiantly once she straightened out again and prevailed by half a length in 1:56.2, the swiftest race of the day.

Trained by Benson Merrill for owners John and Thelma Kiernan, the 7-year-old daughter of I’m Gorgeous assembled her sixth win of the year and equaled her season’s best record. She paid $4.60 to win.

Kevin Switzer Jr. won four races on the program, Bruce Ranger won three and Walter Case Jr. grabbed a double, including a tote-board shattering $77.40 win ticket with Oceanview Echo.

Racing continues Saturday (June 1) with a 10-race card, featuring a $6,000 conditioned pace where George Fenno’s Instant Replay will seek his third win in a row. There are also two divisions of the popular Maine Amateur Driving Club (MADC), sponsored by Blue Seal Feeds.

The First Tracks Cumberland meet continues throughout upcoming 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.

Looking ahead, First Tracks Cumberland is proud to offer simulcasting from Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, June 8 for the 156th renewal of the Test of the Champion, the $2,000,000 Belmont Stakes.

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