Maine Sophomore Finals Set For Bangor

Wild Ending
Published: October 13, 2023 04:39 pm EDT

Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway at historic Bass Park welcomes the $280,000-plus Maine Sire Stakes for three-year-old Pine Tree State-bred harness horses on Saturday, Oct. 14 in Bangor, Maine. 

The state-bred action begins 30 minutes before the regular 6 p.m. post time with an early non-betting event, the $70,966 Maine Sire Stakes final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings.  Seven males go postward, with the focus placed squarely upon the dominant Wabanaki from the Ivan Davies stable.

A winner of seven of his last 11 starts, the son of Boy Band has been the horse to beat all season long, and it appears that the Maine State Harness Racing Commission used that logic in placing this event ‘off’ the regular card.  Already barred from the wagering earlier this season at the Farmington Fair for his propensity toward victory, the Anita ‘Bunny’ Anastosopoulos-Andrew-owned and Mike Andrew-bred gelding scores from post three in the series finale. 

Having earned over $121,000 during the last two seasons, this successful trotter has reportedly been consigned to the Standardbred Mixed Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and will look to go out with a bang.

The only horse to consistently pester Wabanaki this season is Outlawofthevalley (Kevin Switzer Jr.), who landed in the outermost seventh post position.  Although not afraid to leave when necessary, the seasonal earner of $50,837 will also need some racing luck to overcome his luck of the draw.  Ironically, three of those winning efforts against his rival Wabanaki have come over the surfaces at Cumberland and Bangor.

The first race on the card, the $70,852 Maine Sire Stake final for three-year-old trotting fillies, has the other wildly talented trotter from the Ivan Davies stable, Wild Ending.  She is also a product of the sire Boy Band and bred by the late Mike Andrew.  Owned by Anita ‘Bunny’ Anastosopoulos-Andrew and a winner of eight races and $70,257 this season, her success has had some additional unintended consequences.  For the second time this year she has been barred from the wagering.  Wild Ending is also reportedly consigned to the Mixed Sale in Harrisburg.

While Wild Ending (pictured above) leaves from post five and races for purse money only, the Mike Cushing-trained and driven filly Shesalilbitmouthy has been installed as the 4-5 wagering favourite from post two.  Owned by Mona Dodd, the daughter of Victor Blue Chip has three wins and $436,827 earned this year.  Marc Tardif’s Another Adventure (PP3, Kevin Switzer Jr.) is picked for second in the mutuels at 5-2.

Race four introduces the first of two pacing proceedings, with the $71,118 Maine Sire Stakes final for three-year-old pacing fillies.  The full field of eight is headed by South St Dottie (PP4, Nick Graffam), who has excelled in both Maine and Massachusetts events, sporting $89,485 seasonally with nine victories.  Trained by Mike Graffam for owner-breeder Jan Donaway, the daughter of Western Maverick has been installed as the 9-5 favourite and boasts a new 1:53.3 record taken at Plainridge last week.

Her sparring partner for this bout is Katelyns Angel (PP1, Switzer Jr.), a filly that is also by Western Maverick and hails from the powerful Tardif Taskforce stable of Marc and Peg Tardif.  A winner of five races and $72,006 this season in multiple jurisdictions, she was bred by and is currently owned by Leighton Property.

The glamour boys hit the stone dust in race six, the $71,134 Maine Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, with the Tardifs sending the two early favourites into the fracas.

So Rock Rock NRoll (PP6, Walter Case Jr.) has form and function on his side, as the son of Western Maverick won his last start at Fryeburg against these foes.  Also owned and bred by the Leightons, the gelding has six wins and six seconds in 13 seasonal starts earning over $90,000 and is the 3-2 top choice.

Luke McGook (PP1, Switzer Jr.) shows a short respite since his last start and has been made the second choice at 5-2.  A winner of $69,837 and eight races this year, the son of Rock N Roll World is one of five entrants trained by Marc Tardif.

Other contenders are Two Towns Over (PP2, Aaron Hall) and Colt Bennett (PP7, Dave Ingraham) at 5-1 and 7-1, respectively.

The Maine Sire Stakes finals represent a culmination of years of hard work and dedication of behalf of dozens of industry stakeholders, including, but not limited to the owners, breeders, trainers, drivers and caretakers of these equine athletes.  Not only do these horses represent a significant individual and collective investment in harness racing and agriculture in the state of Maine, but the peripheral revenue generated by the truck and trailer sales and maintenance, fuel suppliers, feed companies, hay producers, tack shops, blacksmiths, farm owners and racetracks that give them a place to compete, generously exceeds seven figures annually.

(Maine Sire Stakes)

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