CUMBERLAND DERBY HIGHLIGHTS HOLIDAY WEEKEND FESTIVITIES

June 30, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland

CUMBERLAND, ME – Saturday’s (July 2) Family Fun and Value Day at Cumberland Raceway has something for everyone at the iconic Southern Maine harness venue. 

Perhaps the most exciting addition to the program is the Cumberland Derby where fans can enter to win $500 in total cash prizes based on their picks and the official order of finish in the designated ninth race. 

Seven lucky winners will be chosen by lot and given the opportunity to select which horse they think will perform the best in the special race.  Based upon their selection, each lucky winner will be given a free T-Shirt with the horse’s post position and saddle pad emblazoned on the front and on the back.

Winners, along with their friends and family, will be encouraged to cheer for their selection as the field roars down the home stretch to the finish wire.

For harness racing fans of all ages, an extended meet and greet with over a dozen of the track’s top harness drivers will take place after the second race, and continue until after the fourth race.  Enthusiasts that are young, and those that are not so young, will receive a free, color keepsake 9” x 12” poster with lots of space for autographs.  Selfies, smiles and handshakes with your favorite reinsmen will all be available from this stellar group, who have collectively won 60,000 races and $240 million in purse earnings.

All this cheering will be sure to work up a thirst and an appetite.  To satisfy those wants, the Trackside Pub will offer $2 Red Hot Dogs and $2 Soda and Chips.   For those ages 21 and over, there will be PBR’s ($2) and a special Maine Mint Julep for your consideration.

Winnie, the Maine Harness Horseman’s Association loyal mascot, will also be on hand, as well as USTA coloring books and crayons for the little colts and fillies.

Friday’s (July 1) card has a total of 11 races on the program, and one early non-betting race, which includes two $11,000 divisions of the Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes for 3-year-old trotters. There is also a $6,000 Open 3 Pace carded as race three.

The racing continues on Saturday (July 2) with 12 races on the card, including two rounds of the the Maine Amateur Driving Club sponsored by Blue Seal Feeds, along with two $11,477 divisions of the Maine Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers and a $6,000 Open 2-3 Trot.

The final race on both Friday and Saturday features our 20 cent Hi-Five (Pentafecta), with a low takeout of 16%.

The Cumberland Derby contest is open to fans age 18 and older and no purchase is necessary.  See official rules trackside.

More information can be found on our website: https://firsttrackscumberland.com and on our Facebook page: First Tracks Cumberland.

Airspinder flies in Cumberland feature

June 12, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photo)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Airspinder, one of the winningest horses in the state of Maine in 2021, returned to his previous form to fly home in 1:55.1 and land in the First Tracks Cumberland winners circle on Saturday (June 10).

The duo of leading trainer Chris Lefebvre and leading driver Drew Campbell were singing a familiar tune in the featured $5,200 cond. pace, as Airspinder turned on the afterburners and cruised to victory.

Scoring from post three, Campbell settled Airspinder into the four hole as Dan Deslandes rocketed from behind the car with Some Gold, setting fractions of 28 and 57.2 with the field spread out.  At the half, the outer flow started to materialize with Cool Jack (Matt Athearn) flushing Campbell and Airspinder from the pylons to move up first over and continuing to gain momentum.

At a wicked 1:25.4 three quarter clocking Airspinder was well on his way and had poked a head in front of a tiring pacesetter Some Gold.  Through the turn the rest of the field could do nothing but chase the 6-year-old son of No Spin Zone as the pacer opened up 5 ¾ lengths to cruise down the stretch in a new seasonal mark.

Airspinder paid $5.40 win and is owned by Michelle Lefebvre and Brian Aaskov.  Terror Hall (Wally Watson) finished second, Obscene Blue Chip was third.

Bruce Ranger won two races on the card, including the $5,000 Maine Sneak Peek for 3yo pacing fillies with Sweet Baby G, upsetting the heavy favorite Pembroke Legacy, to pay $12.60.  Ranger is now in second place in the drivers’ standings with 23 wins, just behind Drew Campbell who now has 24 trips to the Blue Seal Winners Circle at Cumberland.  Aaron Hall also enjoyed two victories on the program.

Racing resumes on Friday (June 17) and Saturday (June 18).  Post time for the Spring/Summer meet is 4 p.m. on both Fridays and Saturdays, with the extended pari-mutuel meeting racing each weekend through July 23.

The final race on both Friday and Saturday features our 20 cent Hi-Five (Pentafecta), with a low takeout of 16%.

More information can be found on our website: https://firsttrackscumberland.com and on our Facebook page: First Tracks Cumberland.

THE HARRINGTONS WIN THREE AT CUMBERLAND

June 11, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photo).

CUMBERLAND, ME – The husband and wife team of Sara and Andy Harrington enjoyed a triple play on Friday (June 10) at Cumberland, which included taking the $6,500 Open II Trot with Prescott.

With Prescott scoring from post two, driver Andy Harrington was content to concede the lead to Kyrie Deo (Mark Athearn) and Bruizn (Kevin Switzer Jr.) who tussled for the lead early, with the former finally finding the front for opening panels of 29.1 and 59.3. While Bruizn sat in the two hole for the first circuit, Prescott had been third on the rail, but tipped as the field approached the stands for the second lap.

Gaining ground with every stride, fought off Bruizn at the three quarters in a swift 1:28 and had to catch Kyrie Deo who had three lengths on the field. As the pair turned for home Prescott had one final burst of energy an caught the pacesetting Kyrie Deo to score in 1:58.1 by three parts of a length.

It was the fastest seasonal victory for the 6-year-old son of Yankee Glide who is owned by Robert Gibbs. Prescott paid $14.80 to win. Little Macabee finished third.

The Harringtons came right back to win the following race with I Saw Red. The 11-year-old If I Can Dream Mare also lowered her seasonal mark to 1:59.1 for owner Melvin Grant. I Saw Red paid $5.40 to win.

The “Sara and Andy Show” continued in the finale as Pokerface scored in wire-to-wire fashion from post four. Owned by Simon Hanson, the 10-year-old Art Major mare also lowered her seasonal mark to 1:59.3, and paid $4.80 to win.

Mike Stevenson enjoyed back-to-back trainer/driver victories. The third race was captured by Pembroke Newt, grabbing his first victory (2:00.4) of the season, and paid $19.20 to win. The fourth race witnessed Osprey Delta win her first start of the season, taking the $4,000 Open VI Trot in 2:04. Osprey Delta paid $15.20 to win, having emigrated from Prince Edward Island.

Veteran reinsman Bruce Ranger had a pair of driving victories on the program. ‘Double Digit Dave’ Ingraham lived up to his #SentItIn-moniker, stealing the fifth race with Shoot It Strait from post seven, paying $21.60 to win in 1:58.4 over favorite Justcallmeminnie.

Looking ahead, Saturday’s opener features a $5,000 ‘Sneak Peek’ stakes preview for 3yo Maine-bred pacing fillies, the first of 10 races on the program.

Racing fans and bettors will be able to watch and wager on this Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, the 154th renewal of the final jewel of the Triple Crown from Belmont Park.

Full Belmont Stakes Day programs will be available and betting windows will be open for the first post at 11:20 am, which will be broadcast live from the NYRA at Belmont Park. There will be TV monitors covering all the Thoroughbred action, and the Trackside Pub concession stand will also be open in the Fairgrounds grandstand.

Post time for the Spring/Summer meet is 4 p.m. on both Fridays and Saturdays, with the extended pari-mutuel meeting racing each weekend through July 23.

The final race on both Friday and Saturday features our 20 cent Hi-Five (Pentafecta), with a low takeout of 16%.

More information can be found on our website: https://firsttrackscumberland.com and on our

Harness Racing blood runs deep for DuBois

June 9, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland

CUMBERLAND, ME – If they had an ancestry-DNA app for harness racing folks, the statistics for Maine-born Standardbred trainer Wil DuBois would be off the charts.  That’s because DuBois is a third generation horseman that can boast having both sides of his large family involved in the sport.

Now an aspiring trainer in his own right, Wil DuBois has enjoyed the guidance and wisdom that has been handed down from both grandfathers, as well as his own father, to help him navigate the many twists and turns of equine competition.

“I always knew that I wanted to work with horses,” DuBois stated emphatically.  “I graduated [Bitteford, Maine High School] early and went right to work for Linda Toscano in New Jersey.”

Having worked for both sides of the family he was eager to give the Grand Circuit a try.

“My brother Tom quit his job with the Post Office to drive me back and forth to work each day.  We were living in a NJ hotel because the efficiency apartment we found fell through.  I loved the work [at Toscano], but it cost too much to live down there, so we came back home to Maine after a few months.”

Luckily, someone in the extended DuBois family always has horses and always need help.

“I worked for my uncle Billy at Scarborough for a while, and then I moved to Saratoga and I got a job with Jimmy Nickerson,” noted DuBois.  “I learn something from everyone I work for, but my biggest influence has been my father Todd.  He taught me a love for the game and an appreciation for the horses.”

Wil’s father Todd (age 57) manages a stable at Saratoga and is one of eight children by Gordon DuBois Sr., now 83 and a veteran horseman and racing official.  Gordon Sr. still owns a few horses with his son Billy, Wil’s uncle.

Todd cut his teeth while working for the master, Hall of Famer Billy Haughton on Pompano Park’s legendary training side back in the heyday.  That is where he met Wil’s mother Donna, she the daughter of the late Raymond Sawyer.  Brett and Jordan Derue are DuBois’ cousins on his father’s side, and have continued to make a name for themselves at Saratoga.

25-year-old Wil DuBois had been in Saratoga for the last several years, working and soaking up as much about the horse business as possible.  Last month he and his fiancé Alexis decided to move back to Maine and go out on their own.  They now have five in training and are stabled at Bill Fisher’s farm in West Newfield, aka Ramshackle Downs.

“We just wanted to make the jump.  The time was right,” noted DuBois.  “There is plenty of opportunity in Maine.  We are happy here and eager to race horses.”

Before DuBois made the move, he sent a horse named Star Of Terror up to ‘Sherriff’ Zack Gray to train during the early part of the Cumberland meet. 

“Zack got his first training win with [Star Of Terror].  He is like our barn pet.  Alexis rides him to keep him fresh.  We love him,” DuBois said.

“I really love the sport and the horses.  When I look around, I don’t see that as much as I used to,” DuBois stated, exhibiting wisdom beyond his years.

DuBois sends out three horses over the weekend at Cumberland.  A trotter Dimes Makes Dollars is looking for his first win of the season in race two on Friday.   Duck And Roll scores from pylon position in Saturday’s (June 11) fourth race, and Star Of Terror will leave from post seven in the ninth later in the program.  Saturday’s opener features a $5,000 ‘Sneak Peek’ stakes preview for 3yo Maine-bred pacing fillies. 

Both the Friday (June 10) and Saturday (June 11) cards have 10 races on the program.

Racing fans and bettors will be able to watch and wager on this Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, the 154th renewal of the final jewel of the Triple Crown from Belmont Park. 

Full Belmont Stakes Day programs will be available and betting windows will be open for the first post at 11:20 am, which will be broadcast live from the NYRA at Belmont Park.  There will be TV monitors covering all the Thoroughbred action, and the Trackside Pub concession stand will also be open in the Fairgrounds grandstand.

Post time for the Spring/Summer meet is 4 p.m. on both Fridays and Saturdays, with the extended pari-mutuel meeting racing each weekend through July 23.

The final race on both Friday and Saturday features our 20 cent Hi-Five (Pentafecta), with a low takeout of 16%.

More information can be found on our website: https://firsttrackscumberland.com and on our Facebook page: First Tracks Cumberland.

Tardif finishes 1-2 in Sneak Peek at Cumberland

June 5, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Marc Tardif, a fixture around the Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes, started the year off with a bang as a pair of his 3-year-old pacing geldings finished first and second in the $5,000 Sneak Peek event for Pine Tree State eligibles at Cumberland on Saturday (June 4).

Kevin Switzer hustled Deal With It Roman to the top from post four in the opener, posting comfortable opening fractions of 29.2 and 1:00.1.  His stablemate Stormin Maverick (Andy Harrington) was content to sit in the catbird seat and draft off of the pacesetter.

Switzer Jr. turned up the heat into at 1:29.1 third quarter, resulting in no movement from the other contenders, which allowed Deal With It Roman to coast home in 1:58.3 by two lengths.

The son of Western Maverick established a new lifetime mark for owner/trainer/breeder Marc Tardif, and paid $4.40 to win.  Tardif also trains Stormin Maverick, another son of Western Maverick who finished second, for owner/breeder Leighton Property/Victoria Leighton.  CBF Squirt Gun finished third. 

The third leg of the glamour boys (3yo male pacers) division of the Maine Sire Stakes visits First Tracks Cumberland on July 2, in conjunction with our inaugural Cumberland Derby where fans can win cash prizes for picking the correct winning horses.  There will also be a harness driver meet and greet with autograph sessions and giveaways.

The swiftest heat of the day was captured by Flight Deck N in 1:56.3.  It was the second win in a row for the 12-year-old son of Jereme’s Jet, who was piloted by his trainer Dan Deslandes, who also co-owns with Danny King and Jeff Deslandes.  Flight Deck N paid $9.40 to win.  It was the second trip to the Blue Seal Feeds winners circle for Deslandes, who now sits in second place in the drivers’ standings with 20 wins, just behind Drew Campbell who has amassed 23 victories.  Aaron Hall also steered two winners on the day.

In Maine Amateur Driving Club (MADC) action, Jason Bertolini drove his own Led Schneppelin to a wire-to-wire score in 2:004, besting Forward Bliss (Adam Gray) by half a length.

Bertolini owns and trains the 11-year-old son of Memphis Flash, and the victory put the 25-year-old reinsmen into first place in the “Greatest Side-Show in Maine Harness Racing,” usurping perennial leader Benson Merrill.

Racing resumes Friday (June 10) at 4 p.m., with the extended pari-mutuel meeting active each weekend through July 23.

Racing fans and bettors will be able to watch and wager on next Saturday’s (June 11) Belmont Stakes, the 154th renewal of the final jewel of the Triple Crown from Belmont Park, Elmont, New York. 

Full Belmont Stakes programs will be available and betting windows will be open for the first post at 11:20 am, which will be broadcast live.  There will be TV monitors covering all the Thoroughbred action, and the Trackside Pub concession stand will also be open in the Fairgrounds grandstand.

The final race on both Friday and Saturday features our 20 cent Hi-Five (Pentafecta), with a low takeout of 16%.

Heartofgold Devie takes top trot at Cumberland

June 3, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photo)

CUMBERLAND, ME – A change of scenery is all it took for Heartofgold Devie to pick up her first win of the season Friday (June 3), as Steven Wilson steered the 4-year-old Creatine mare to victory in the $6,000 Open II Trot at Cumberland.

Leaving from pylon position, Wilson was happy to let Kyrie Deo (Mark Athearn) take command of the tempo and post opening fractions of 30.1 and 1:00.4.  As the field rounded the paddock turn Prescott (Andy Harrington) flushed the cover of Little Macabee (Aaron Hall), which moved the outer flow toward the leaders going down the backstretch in a lively 1:30.1.

With Little Macabee stalled on the outside third, and while looking Heartofgold Devie right in the eye, as the field straightened out into the home stretch, Wilson found room along the inside and poked a neck in front of the pacesetting Kyrie Deo.  Little Macabee was third in a tight finish.

Trained by Charlene Cushing and owned by Mona Dodd, the metropolitan invader paid a surprising $28.60 to win.

Earlier in the card, PC’s Wildcard, a 13-year-old son of Sand Chaser, picked up his 50th lifetime victory for trainer/driver Mike Stevenson and owner Eddie Fournier Jr, and paid $18.40 to win.  In fact, five of the eleven races on the card paid more than $18 on a $2 win ticket.

Drew Campbell won three races on the program, vaulting him into first place in the drivers’ standings with a total of 22 victories on the season.  Bruce Ranger and Steve Wilson both piloted two winners on the day. 

Racing resumes Saturday (June 4) at 4 p.m., with the extended pari-mutuel meeting active each weekend through July 23.

The final race on both Friday and Saturday features our 20 cent Hi-Five (Pentafecta), with a low takeout of 16%.

BABY SCHOOLING at CUMBERLAND

this FRIDAY, JUNE 3 at 10 am

Please sign up with Brenda Brown at Paddock Office or reach out to Bruce Ranger.

…. also… SNEAK PEEK PREVIEWS for 3-year-old Maine Sire Stakes Pacing Colts and Geldings
… racing SAT., JUNE 4…draw WED., JUNE 1

Please note this week QUALIFIERS will be held on FRIDAY, JUNE 3.
Draw for Qual. is THU., JUNE 2 – box closes 9 am.

Ry’s Red Rocket wins thrilling duel at Cumberland

May 28, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Warm temperatures resulted in fast miles on Saturday’s (May 28) harness racing program at Cumberland, which helped leading driver Matt Athearn put a 1:54.2 seasonal mark on Ry’s Red Rocket while winning the $5,200 co-featured pace.

Leaving from post six in a seven-horse field, Matty “Ice” hustled the 5-year-old daughter of Sunshine Beach ahead of the pack, only to be met with immediate resistance on the inside from Go Sandy Go (Aaron Hall).

The two mares opened up seven-plus lengths on the field as they paced down the backside into a swift 27.1 opening panel.  As the field passed the stands for the first time, the ladies continued to gain separation from the rest of the contenders as the leaders hit the half in 56.2.  Out of the paddock turn Athearn sensed an opportunity to challenge the tempo-setting Go Sandy Go, and as the pair reached the three-quarters in a grueling 1:25.1, Ry’s Red Rocket was given her cue and moved up alongside the frontrunner.

Stride for stride the pair paced in tandem around the final turn and down the home stretch.  Within a stone’s throw from the wire the victor managed to gain an advantage in the hard-fought battle for bragging rights.

Tripping the timer in 1:54.2, Ry’s Red Rocket got her second win in three outings for owner/trainer Donnie Richards.  Go Sandy Go hung on by a length to be an ultra-game second, with Terror Hall back 7-3/4 lengths for third.  Ry’s Red Rocket paid $7.20 to win.

Rocksapatriot won the 100th start of his career, grabbing his 21st lifetime victory in the $5,500 Open III Pace for veteran reinsman Dave Ingraham. 

Quick Fun N (Joey Mosher) left swiftly from post six to gain a tactical advantage, but was forced to swing wide through the turn before assuming command in a 28 second opening panel.  Mosher got the breather he wanted in the form of a 58.3 half, while the outer flow started to develop.

The first to move was Jet Aviation (Bruce Ranger) who was immediately followed by Rocksapatriot (Ingraham) as the field pushed into the paddock turn.  Pacing into a 1:26.4 third panel, Dan Deslandes could wait no longer and moved Nagel three-wide alongside Rocksapatriot as the pacesetting Quick Fun N started to fade.

As the field rounded the final turn the three leaders matched strides, and from the rail out neither Jet Aviation, nor Rocksapatriot, or Nagle gave an inch.  When the group straightened out for the stretch drive, Ingraham jiggled the lines at Rocksapatriot and the classy campaigner responded by stepping away from the troika by two lengths to win in 1:55.4. 

Trained by Kelly Case for owner Stephen Farrell, the 7-year-old son of Rockincam paid $5.80 to win.  Nagle finished second, Jet Aviation was third.

Kevin Switzer and Drew Campbell both enjoyed driving doubles on the 10-race program.  When the dust settled, Campbell’s deuce put him into a tie with Matt Athearn for first place in the drivers’ standings with 19 seasonal Cumberland victories.  Dan Deslandes is third with 18 victories, Kevin Switzer is fourth with 17 and Bruce Ranger rounds out the top five with 16.

Racing resumes Friday (June 3) at 4 p.m., and continues on Saturday (June 4) with the extended pari-mutuel meeting active each weekend through July 23.

First Tracks Cumberland is also pleased to present, in concert with the Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association, a Stakes Preview for 3-year-old Maine-bred Pacers.  Featuring a ‘Colt Carnival’ for colts and geldings, on Sat., June 4 and a ‘Filly Festival’ on Sat., June 11, each division carries a $5,000 purse for Maine eligibles. The overnight prep races are co-sponsored by the MHHA and Blue Seal Feeds.

In addition, in preparation for stakes season, Cumberland will offer starting car schooling on the first two Fridays in June (3 & 10), as well as non-wagering baby races on the following two Fridays (June 17 & 24), with opportunities for the youngsters to ‘learn and earn’ their way into the upcoming Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes.

More information can be found on our website: https://firsttrackscumberland.com and on our Facebook page: First Tracks Cumberland.

Matt Athearn rises to the top at Cumberland

May 27, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photo)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Matty “Ice” Athearn gave Warrawee Preferred another gutsy drive on Friday (May 27) to win the $6,000 Open II Trot and move to top of the tough Cumberland drivers colony.

Scoring from the outside post five, Athearn left alertly with the 11-year-old son of Federal Flex, only to be thwarted by a determined Majestic Braden and Sherry Cushing who refused to relinquish the front end.

As the two trotters and dueling teamsters slugged it out past the eighth pole, Athearn ducked into a wide-open two hole with an opening panel in 29.2.  Barely a breather was realized when Athearn tipped back out at the three-eighths marker and moved up alongside the leader into a 1:00.3 half mile.

After getting an ample supply of that good Maine air into a 1:30 three-quarter stanza, and while maintaining a stranglehold on the headstrong Warrawee Preferred, Athearn poked a nose in front heading into the final turn.  Although the pacesetter had called it a day, Athearn was then forced to contend with the late charges of Little Macabee (Aaron Hall) and Kyrie Deo (Mark Athearn), who finished second and third respectively.

Owned and trained by Ryan Berry, Warrawee Preferred stopped the timer at exactly 2:00 flat and paid $8.20 to win by 1-1/2 lengths.  It was the 60th victory of the horse’s career, and ninth seasonal romp.

With the win, Matt Athearn moved into first place in the drivers’ standings with 18 seasonal Cumberland victories.  Dan Deslandes and Drew Campbell are tied for second with 17.

Walter Case Jr. and Andy Harrington both enjoyed driving doubles on the 10-race program.

Racing resumes Saturday (May 28) at 4 p.m., with the extended pari-mutuel meeting active each weekend through July 23.

The final race on both Friday and Saturday features our 20 cent Hi-Five (Pentafecta), with a low takeout of 16%.

More information can be found on our website: https://firsttrackscumberland.com and on our Facebook page: First Tracks Cumberland.

MAINE-BRED SNEAK PEAK at CUMBERLAND

Stakes Preview for 3-year-old Maine-bred Pacers

Each division carries a $5,000 purse

COLT CARNIVAL for colts and geldings, Sat., June 4

FILLY FESTIVAL for fillies, Sat., June 11

PREFERENCE CONDITIONS:

1.  Trainer;

2.  If more than seven (7) separate trainers enter each division, preference will be given
to the entrants with the highest 2021 Maine Sire Stakes purse earnings;

3.  Trainer entries with bonafide separate ownership;

4.  Trainer entries with common ownership.

Ties will be drawn by lot.  •  Horses must be eligible to Maine Sire Stakes to enter.
Maximum field size of seven.