Ranger In Cumberland Spotlight

Amini and Bruce Ranger winning at First Tracks Cumberland
Published: May 28, 2023 10:00 am EDT

Bruce Ranger won three races on Saturday (May 27), which was the second afternoon of harness racing action at Cumberland that was named in his honour.

After the first race, Ranger was interviewed in the winner’s circle by Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association president Mike Cushing.  When asked why he chose to come back to Maine when there was opportunity all over the nation, the perennial leading reinsmen noted, “A lot changes when you go over that big green bridge [in Portsmouth, New Hampshire].  I love Maine and I still love to win races. But it’s the people here that make me feel at home.”

Then Ranger was swarmed with fans looking for an autograph on their copy of the commemorative program.  Of course, people brought their kids and their dogs for selfies and photo ops with the top driver too.

Ranger had the second race off duty, as that was the Maine Amateur Driving Club (MADC) event, so he was happy to meet and greet fans on the apron while club president Joe Burke took matters into his own hands.

Leaving from post four, Burke went first-over at the half and three-wide down the backside to score with his own Plus One and become the only driver this season not named Jason Bertolini to win a $4,400 MADC race.  Trained by Bob Marston and owned by Burke, Plus One tripped the timer in 1:58.2 and paid $3.40 to win.  Everyone’s favourite gray horse, Putnams Storm, finished second with owner/trainer/driver Bob Nadeau at the controls.  Librado Hanover and Ryan Hall were third.  The Blue Seal Feed Stores of North Falmouth and Windham sponsor the series.

But once the starter’s call for the third race was sounded, Ranger went back to work.  He won that race with S R Willpower in a coast-to-coast adventure in 1:58 and paid $28.40.  Trained by Wayne Smith for owners Courtney Pitts and Adalberto Silva, the seven-year-old son of Badlands Hanover picked up his first win of the season to get the 14th win of his 100-start career.

Ranger won the sixth race $5,500 featured fillies and mares conditioned pace with Amini (pictured above), using a three-deep move to secure the victory in 1:55.4.  Trained by Elisha Lafreniere, the five-year-old Sportswriter mare is owned by Karma Racing and paid $6.80 to win. The win was also her first this season in five outings.

Coming right back to nab the hat trick, the judges placed Airspinder and Ranger first over Art Of Endurance (Kevin Switzer Jr.) because the latter ‘carried out’ the former.  The time of the mile was 1:57.1 with just a head’s distance separating the two at the wire.

Nick Graffam also won three races on the card.  Ranger now leads Kevin Switzer Jr. by one win following the weekend, with Graffam in third place. The tight dash win totals are 23-22-21. Chris Lefebvre and Jeff Deslandes remain in a dead-heat for training wins at 13 all.

Racing resumes Friday, June 2 with first post slated for 3:15 pm (EDT).

(With files from First Tracks Cumberland)

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