Maine Freshmen Star In Sire Stakes Finals

Gowestyounggrace winning at Cumberland Fair
Published: October 1, 2023 11:22 am EDT

The Maine faithful were out in force on Saturday, Sept. 30 when the Pine Tree State-bred freshmen battled for bragging rights in the $200,000-plus Maine Sire Stakes finals for two-year-olds on the closing day of the iconic Cumberland Fair.

The swiftest stakes race of the afternoon program was captured by Gowestyounggrace (pictured above) in 1:59.4 taking the $51,023 final for frosh filly pacers.

Driven by Dave Ingraham for trainer and owners/breeders Fred Ward Jr. and Sharon Ward, the homebred daughter of Western Maverick and wagering favourite worked hard to get to the top.

When the wings folded, 8-5 second choice Whos Perfect (Heath Campbell) dashed out for the lead with Summertime (Steve Wilson) and Mrs Foxy Roxy (Nick Graffam) settling into the second and third positions, respectively.

Just after the field hit the :28.1 opening panel, Ingraham had Gowestyounggrace out and rolling through the turn and, while passing the stands, the aggressor had made up nearly six lengths and was looking the leader right in the eye.

That :59 second stanza breather was neither a benefit, nor a detriment, to the advancing Gowestyounggrace as she got to within a whisker of the lead as Whos Perfect was valiantly trying to gain some separation at the 1:28.1 third station.

With the rest of the field racing for second, Ingraham took charge and scooted home by a very comfortable 3-1/2 lengths, with the final time just a fifth of a second off the filly’s lifetime best. Summertime finished second and My Sweet Revenge (Walter Case Jr.) was third.

Gowestyounggrace paid $4 to win her fifth race of the season from eight starts.

When the boys got busy in the $51,023 Maine Sire Stakes two-year-old colt and gelding pace final, it was the tactical steer by Ron Cushing that rewarded the connections of Hesjustadelight with the champion’s trophy.

At the start, Kevin Switzer Jr., driving 4-5 favourite Two Fold Cold from the dreaded post eight, was literally forced to leave and continued moving up to grab the lead just past the :29.2 opening panel.

Alertly, Cushing was anticipating the scenario and was content in the pocket while Dave Ingraham pulled Oakleypopsthedeuce first-over into a :59.2 half.  While that put Cushing and Hesjustadelight in a box, the veteran reinsman sat chilly through the 1:30 third station.

As the field rounded the final turn, daylight emerged for Cushing as he found racing room and set his sails into the wind and let the son of Western Maverick’s final brush take him home a winner in 2:01.4. Two Fold Cold finished second and Justcallmebuck (Gary Hall) was third.

Trained by Heidi Cushing and owned by Ron Cushing, (breeder) Lynn-Marie Plouffe, Anthony and Joseph Romanelli, the gelding earned his fourth win of the season from 11 starts.  He paid $5.40 to win.

In the $50,567 Maine Sire Stakes final for two-year-old trotting fillies, Pembroke Breeze emerged victorious.  Bernies Legacy (Ivan Davies) finished second and My Saving Grace (Mark Athearn) was third.

Trained by Valerie Grondin and driven by Heath Campbell, the daughter of Pembroke Slugger is owned and was bred by Bill Varney. She paid $3.40 to win after stopping the clock in 2:07 and improving her scorecard to 4-4-0 in eight starts.

Pembroke Breeze completed a sweep of the trotting splits for the aforementioned connections as their Pembroke Will won the $50,421 Maine Sire Stakes for freshman trotting colts and geldings contested before the card.

Pembroke Will was driven by Campbell for trainer Grondin and owner/breeder Varney with the son of Pembroke Slugger taking a new lifetime mark of 2:08.3 in the process. Stablemate Chipper Dale (Valerie Grondin) finished second and Carrabassett (Athearn) was third.

(With files from First Tracks Cumberland)

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