Ranger Rolls at Cumberland with Roll With Dom

July 1, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Bruce Ranger avoided traffic trouble in the first turn to capture Friday’s (July 1) featured overnight event at First Tracks Cumberland and gave Roll With Dom his fifth victory of the season.

As the $6,000 Open 3 Pace field hit the first turn Lindas In Heaven (Drew Campbell) got rough gaited and forced Roll With Dom to go wide at the eighth pole to gain control of the tempo.  As the field passed the opening panel in 28.1, Ranger showed the way with Lindas In Heaven gaining her composure and drafting in the two hole, with Ry’s Red Rocket (Matt Athearn) sitting third.

Approaching the half, Nagle (Dan Deslandes) was the first to start the outer flow, with Call Me Maverick (Mike Stevenson) gaining cover second over.  Roll With Dom got a 58 half breather, but started to roll up the backside as the rest of the field gave chase into a 1:26 third stanza.

Roll With Dom (Bruce Ranger)

Turning for home it was a race for second as Ranger had the 5-year-old son of Roll With Joe in full flight and was in no danger of being caught as he crossed the wire all alone in 1:55.  Ry’s Red Rocket made a late charge in the lane to be second by 1-3/4 lengths, Lindas In Heaven hung on to be third.

Roll With Dom is trained by Billy Dubois, owned by Robert Kluchevitz, and picked up his 15th career win.

In Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes (MSBS) trotting action, the $11,986 filly division was captured by Maplewood Slugger in 2:02.3.  Driven by Andy Harrington for trainer John Nason and owner/breeder Maxine Hadlock, the 3-year-old daughter of Pembroke Slugger picked up a new lifetime mark in the process.  Trainer/driver John Nason finished second with Show No Tears.  Pembroke Honcho (Drew Campbell/Valerie Grondin) was third in the early non-wagering race.

The opener was also captured by driver Andy Harrington, with the 3yo trotting colt Warriorofthevalley.  Trained by Marc Tardif, the son of Pembroke Slugger is owned, and was bred by Leighton Property.  Warriorofthevalley took a new lifetime mark of 2:01.2 winning the $11,739 MSBS.  Katahdin Mark finished second (Gary Hall); Sammy’s Venture (Mike Stevenson) was third.

Warriorofthevalley (Andy Harrington)

Bruce Ranger and Andy Harrington both enjoyed driving triples on the program.

Racing resumes Saturday (July 2) where First Tracks Cumberland will play host to the Family Fun and Value Day at the iconic Southern Maine oval.  Fans can enjoy a meet and greet with their favorite harness drivers, specials on food and drink, as well as our inaugural 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 race.  Giveaways and a big day of harness racing will also be provided.

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

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.

Adam Gray upsets in Maine Amateurs with 14yo Forward Bliss

June 25, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Amateur driver and full-time trainer/owner Adam Gray slayed the dragon in a thrilling upset to capture Saturday’s (June 25) Maine Amateur Driving Club (MADC) race at Cumberland with his own 14-year-old veteran pacer Forward Bliss.

Gray had the advantage of pylon position at the start, and as is often the case in amateur races, there was a lot of action early.  Benson Merrill driving his own Road Untraveled fought off the other leavers to assert himself on the front end.  This move was not without opportunity cost, however, as Gray pushed the pace and forced Merrill into a 27.2 opening quarter.

Forward Bliss (Adam Gray)

As the field straightened out going to the half, Hollywood Deemon (Mike Girouard) was the first to enter the outer flow, and was followed immediately by wagering favorite Eternal Ring (Dalton Lee) second over.  The half was in a milder 58.1 with pacesetter Forward Bliss getting a much needed breather while Gray and Forward Bliss tracked in the pocket second.

With Eternal Ring’s outside cover stalling, Lee was forced to move three wide down the backside into a 1:27.1 third panel.  Nearing the 7/8’s marker, Gray had sat in the two-hole long enough and tipped Forward Bliss out to challenge for the lead.  As the pacers battled down the stretch, Gray prompted his horse with one last surge at the wire and prevailed by a quarter-length to win in 1:58.1.

Following the winning effort, trainer/driver/owner Adam Gray was very pleased with his own, and his horse’s, performance. 

“It’s nice to drive and win with one of your own at your home track,” Gray said.  “`Bliss’ is the family horse and I drove him the way my father always tells me I should.”

It was a new seasonal mark and the 35th victory in 359 lifetime starts for the 14-year-old son of Blissfull Hall, who is nearing $150,000 in career earnings.

“We’re really excited that at age 14 he is still a very game and sound racehorse,” Gray added.  Forward Bliss paid $24.80 to win.  Road Untraveled finished second; Eternal Ring was third. 

The Maine Amateur Driving Club is sponsored by the North Yarmouth Blue Seal Feed Store and the Windham Blue Seal Feed Store, with leadership and support from Aimee Nichols, their dedicated territory sales manager.

The feature of the day, a $5,500 Open III Trot, was captured by Mister Muscle in a wire-to-wire score in a 1:58.1 seasonal best.  Trained by Jamie Gerard and driven to victory by Bruce Ranger, the 8-year-old son of Muscle Mass is owned by Mark Beckwith.

It was the third score in four starts for Mister Muscle, who paid $7.80 to win.  Caulfield finished second; Warrawee Preferred was third.

Mister Muscle (Bruce Ranger)

Matt Athearn led all drivers on the program with three trips to victory lane, while his father Mark Athearn had two winners.   In addition, Bruce Ranger and Drew Campbell both had driving doubles and are now tied for first place in the drivers’ standings with 28 wins apiece.  There is a three-way tie for third place with Matt Athearn, Dan Deslandes and Kevin Switzer Jr all posting 25 wins each.  Walter Case Jr. is next on the win totals list with 23.

Racing resumes Friday (July 1) at First Tracks Cumberland at 4 pm.   Cumberland’s extended pari-mutuel meet races through July 23.

A week from Saturday First Tracks Cumberland will host Family Fun and Value Day at the iconic Southern Maine oval.  On Saturday (July 2) fans can enjoy a meet and greet with their favorite harness drivers, specials on food and drink, as well as our inaugural 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 race.  Giveaways and a big day of harness racing will also be provided.

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

Captain Nash outguns top dogs at Cumberland

June 24, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photo)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Captain Nash sprinted to the top in the $6,500 Open II Pace at Cumberland on Friday (June 24) and never looked back, securing their position as his week’s top gun in the upper echelon of Maine sidewinders, and re-writing his own track record in the process.

Driver Bruce Ranger wasted little time in securing his control of the tempo, clearing just past a 26.4 opening panel, following a push by Call Me Maverick (Mike Stevenson) to test the favorite’s meddle.  As the field approached the half, Nagle (Dan Deslandes) was the first to move into the outer flow, followed by Roll With Dom (Drew Campbell).

After a 56.2 breather, Ranger let out a notch and Captain Nash responded by adding some separation on the rest of the field.  Just past a 1:24.3 third-quarter, the leader was on top by four, and looking for more.

Captain Nash finished strong while Ranger had his whip tucked in 1:55, a new track record for an older pacing horse, and paid $4.20 to win the featured race of the day.

Captain Nash (Bruce Ranger)

Owned by Reginald Duguay and trained by Richard Bartlett, the 6-year-old Captaintreacherous stallion picked up his fifth win of the season and eighteenth of his career.  Nagle finished second; Roll With Dom was third.

The afternoon card began with two divisions of the Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes for 3-year-old trotters.  The first $11,986 division, an early non-wagering event for sophomore fillies was captured by Maplewood Slugger in 2:04.2 by driver Andy Harrington for trainer John Nason and owner/breeder Maxine Hadlock.  Trainer Valerie Grondin picked up the next two spots with Pembroke Honcho (finished 2nd) and Pembroke Faye (3rd).  All three were by trotting stallion Pembroke Slugger.

The first race on the betting card, the second $11,739 MSBS div. for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings was captured by Katahdin Mark in 2:03.2 for trainer/driver Gary Hall for breeder(s)/owner(s) James Kelley Jr. and Betsey Kelley.  Katahdin Mark, a son of Noble Venture, paid $12.80 to win.  Chamorro finished second; Wild Venture was third.

Walter Case Jr. led all drivers on the program with three trips to the Blue Seal Feeds winners circle, while Matt Athearn had two winners.

Racing resumes Saturday (June 25) at First Tracks Cumberland at our regular post time of 4 pm, featuring an full twelve race card, including a division of the Maine Amateur Driving Club series.

A week from Saturday First Tracks Cumberland will host Family Fun and Value Day at the iconic Southern Maine oval.  On Saturday (July 2) fans can enjoy a meet and greet with their favorite harness drivers, specials on food and drink, as well as our inaugural 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 race.  Giveaways and a big day of harness racing will also be provided.

The final race on both Friday and Saturday features our 20 cent Hi-Five (Pentafecta), with a low takeout of 16%.  Cumberland’s extended pari-mutuel meet races through July 23.

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

Prescott wins back-to-back Open Trots at Cumberland

June 19, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Driver Andy Harrington provided Prescott the opportunity to capture back-to-back victories in Cumberland’s $6,000 Open II Trot on Saturday (June 18).  Despite the outside post position, Harrington fed the horse racetrack and he responded admirably to win the feature in 1:58.4.

Hustling the 6-year-old son of Yankee Glide from the start, Harrington had to work his way past a string of pylon-sitting foes to get up next to the front-sitting Mister Muscle (Bruce Ranger).  As the pair dashed to a 28.4 opening panel, Matty Athearn closed off the pocket with Warrawee Preferred, forcing Harrington continue to the front while parked around the second turn. 

Prescott

Clearing at the head of the stretch, Prescott (Harrington) got a 59.1 breather as the outer flow started to develop.  The first to move was Richsnortherndream (Walter Case Jr.), followed immediately by Little Macabee (Aaron Hall).  Down the backside the final time ‘Casey’ had Richsnortherndream nipping at the heels of the leader as they hit the three-quarters in 1:28.3.

At the head of the stretch Aaron Hall had Little Macabee in full flight and was bearing down on the leaders.  Prescott held off the late charges to prevail by a length and paid $10.60 to win.  Wagering favorite Little Macabee finished second, Richsnortherndream was third.

Prescott is trained by Sara Gibbs for owner Robert Gibbs.

In Maine Amateur Driving Club (MADC) action, current point leader Jason Bertolini added a cushion to his growing lead, taking the sole division with his own Led Schneppelin in 2:00.2, a new seasonal best.

Bertolini left alertly with his trusty steed and kept most of the field at bay with a swift 28.3 opening panel.  After looking over his shoulder and seeing no one coming, Bertolini was able to moderate the pace and hit the half in a leisurely 1:00.3.  Seeing this, David Crochere pulled CBF Bantam first over to make a mighty challenge for the lead.  Bertolini let out a few notches while the Crochere pulled the ear plugs enabling the challenger to poke a nose in front. 

At a 1:28.3 third panel, Bertolini would give no quarter and hung any would-be spoilers out to dry.  In the final stretch drive, CBF Bantam faded, but Karl Butterfield and Tryonsbettorsella N slipped up the rail to challenge, but ultimately had to settle for second.  ‘Sherriff’ Zack Gray swooped in with Pembroke Newt to be third.

Led Schneppelin (Jason Bertolini)

The 11-year-old son of Memphis Flash is owned, trained and was driven by Jason Bertolini and paid $4.00 to win.

The Maine Amateur Driving Club is sponsored by the North Yarmouth Blue Seal Feed Store and the Windham Blue Seal Feed Store, with leadership and support from Aimee Nichols, their dedicated territory sales manager.

Both Drew Campbell and Dan Deslandes enjoyed driving doubles on the program.  After 22 racing dates, Drew Campbell leads all drivers with 26 wins at Cumberland this season.  Bruce Ranger is a close second with 25, with Dan Deslandes and Kevin Switzer Jr. are tied for third at 24.

Racing resumes on Friday (June 24) at First Tracks Cumberland at our regular post time of 4 pm.  There will also be a second round of baby races, held prior to the regular card at 2 pm on Friday. 

In less than two weeks First Tracks Cumberland will host Family Fun and Value Day at the iconic Southern Maine oval.  On Saturday (July 2) fans can enjoy a meet and greet with their favorite harness drivers, specials on food and drink, as well as our inaugural 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 race.  Giveaways and a big day of harness racing will also be provided.

The final race on both Friday and Saturday features our 20 cent Hi-Five (Pentafecta), with a low takeout of 16%.  Cumberland’s extended pari-mutuel meet races through July 23.

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

Hespoisedtopounce A snatches Track Record at Cumberland

June 17, 2022, by Chris Tully for First Tracks Cumberland (Stephanie Gray photos)

CUMBERLAND, ME – Aussie expat Hespoisedtopounce A grabbed victory and a new track record at Cumberland on Friday (June 17), defeating some of the best pacers on the grounds in the featured $6,500 Open II Pace.

Scoring from post five, driver Kevin Switzer Jr. sent Hespoisedtopounce A charging to the front and took command by a two length margin by the time the 28 second first-quarter flashed.  Moving to the half, Switzer put on the brakes and enjoyed a brief respite in 57.3 as the outer flow started to add pressure.  Nagle (Dan Deslandes) flushed the cover of Airspinder (Drew Campell forcing Switzer to let out a notch on Hespoisedtopounce A as the field moved to the five-eighths pole.

Hespoisedtopounce A

While the challengers were stacked three high on the backside, the leader tripped the three-quarter timer in 1:25.1, and it was clear that no one was backing down.  Only Nagle (Deslandes) could withstand the torrid pace as Switzer held Hespoisedtopounce A to his ‘A’ game and maintained a half-length advantage over his nearest rival at the wire.

The 1:54.2 winning time was the fastest mile ever at Cumberland for a 5-year-old and older pacing gelding, erasing a mark that was shared with three horses, one of which was Rocksapatriot (who finished third).

A 6-year-old Australian-bred son of Bettor’s Delight, Hespoisedtopounce A is trained by Jimmy Nickerson for owners Anthony Gruppo and Tim Bojarski.  ‘Pounce’ paid $9.40 to win. 

Driver Kevin Switzer Jr. enjoyed two victories on the regular program, and also steered two winners in the early Learn and Earn non-wagering races.  Walter Case Jr. won the other two events.  All four winners were trained by Marc Tardif and owned by Leighton Property (Lesley and Victoria Leighton).

Cumberland holds its next round of baby races on Friday (June 24), with the first post at 2 pm. 

Racing resumes on Saturday (June 18), the card features 11 races and the return of the Maine Amateur Driving Club sponsored by Blue Seal Feeds, along with a $6,000 Open II Trot with three horses all coming off of winning efforts.

In two weeks First Tracks Cumberland will host Family Fun and Value Day at the iconic Southern Maine oval.  On Saturday (July 2) fans can enjoy a meet and greet with their favorite harness drivers, specials on food and drink, as well as our inaugural 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 race.  Giveaways and a big day of harness racing will also be provided.

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.

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%.