July 7, 2024, by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland (Joe Shaw photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Maine’s 2-year-old trotters rolled into their first sires stakes action of the season on Saturday (July 6), with two $15,000-plus divisions opening the 12-race card at Cumberland Raceway.   

The diagonally gaited distaffs were the first $15,816 group out of the gate with the usual growing pains associated with green trotters. Following a few miscues after the start Ken Watson got Lady Lake Marty (6-1, Whataworkout) away from the gate cleanly and was on top by eight into a swift 30 second opening panel.  In a more subdued 1:02 half, the pair were on top by twelve and then eight lengths at the 1:34.1 third panel. 

That lead expired quickly when the pacesetting filly jumped it off while trotting into the final turn, allowing Pandemic Princess and Heath Campbell (9-5, Whataworkout) to roll through the apex and take command.  Down the stretch they strode to a 7-1/4 length score in 2:06.3.

Trained by Valerie Grondin for owner-breeder Lynn-Marie Plouffe, the duo paid $5.60 to win.

Katahdin Mistress (Wally Watson-Lisa Watson) finished second; Lady Lake Marty hung on for third.

The boys hopped into the fray next, vying for their share of the $16,028 Maine Sire Stakes purse.

The first to leave was Ken Watson with Whatawonder (9-2, Whataworkout) who cleared sharply and took the field into a moderate 31.2 first quarter.  Gapping out in the pocket was Mark Athearn with Iron Mike (5-1, Whataworkout) while heading to the 1:05 half, forcing Walter Case Jr. to come first over with Liberty’s Wildcard (2-1, Noble Venture).

Thru the paddock turn the second time Liberty’s Wildcard jumped, prompting Wally Watson and Katahdin Victor (4-5, Victor Blue Chip) to move first over into a 1:36 swifter third panel.  With Iron Mike on his inside Katahdin Victor grabbed second position, as the leader, Whatawonder, was on top by eight by the head of the stretch.

No further changes in the marching orders were realized as the pacesetter sailed home in 2:07.1.  Trained by Lisa Watson for owner-breeder Barbara Lawson, he paid $11.80 to win. 

Katahdin Victor finished second; Iron Mike was third.

Our favorite octogenarian was at it again this week, scoring another victory with N Expense in the Maine Amateur Driver Club (MADC) race.  86-year-old Bob Nadeau made a three-wide move down the backside to win by three in 1:59.1.  As the owner, trainer and driver, it was the second such triumph for the duo in the last month, but this time he paid a whopping $34.60 to win.  The MADC is sponsored by the Blue Seal Feed Stores of North Yarmouth and Windham, Maine.

Racing resumes Friday, July 12 as the First Tracks Cumberland meet continues with regular racing on Friday and Saturday each weekend through August 3. 

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