Seven Wins In A Row For So Rock N Roll

So Rock N Roll winning at First Tracks Cumberland
Published: June 23, 2024 08:55 am EDT

The Maine-sired pacer So Rock N Roll continued his winning ways at First Tracks Cumberland on Saturday, June 22, extending his current win streak to seven.

From New England to Monticello and back, the son of Western Maverick has not been off the board since January at The Meadowlands. Since that time, the Benson Merrill-trained four-year-old has rattled off eight wins in nine starts. Prior to Saturday, he had won the Open at Monticello Raceway for three straight starts with McGuire Sowers in the bike. Subsequently, he was given his walking papers and sent back to Maine where he started the win streak.

Bruce Ranger got the call from the assigned seven hole in Saturday's $8,219 top conditioned pace, where they got away fourth, allowing 11-1 shot Rocksapatriot (Dave Ingraham) to call the shots through a :28.3 opening panel. Instant Replay (Walter Case Jr.), the 6-5 second choice, sat in a loose pocket while Ranger tipped the proud son of the Pine Tree State first over going into a :58.4 modest half.

By the time the seasoned side-steppers hit the 1:26.2 third panel, So Rock N Roll was neck and neck with the pacesetter Rocksapatriot. The pair battled stride for stride around the final turn and down through the length of the stretch. With a slightly faster grind, the even-money favourite was able to get up by half a length to prevail in 1:55, equalling his seasonal best. Instant Replay hung on to be third.

Owned by Leighton Property and bred by Lesley Leighton, So Rock N Roll earned the 19th win of his career, pushing his lifetime bankroll to $293,855. He paid $4.20 to win.

In a lone $6,849 division of the Maine Amateur Driving Club (MADC), leading point earner Hunter Lofthus also continued his reign of terror, winning in a wire-to-wire romp with Lisa Watson’s Jo Pas Sweet Lou. Scoring from post six, Lofthus put the eight-year-old son of Sweet Lou right on the point and never looked back. Several would-be challengers came and went throughout the course of the mile, but Lofthus kept all of them in his wake and strolled home to victory in 1:58.3. Jo Pars Sweet Lou paid $12 to win. Southern Winds (Todd Whitney) finished second and Furious Beach (Mike Girouard) was third. The MADC is sponsored by the Blue Seal Feed Stores of North Yarmouth and Windham, Maine.

Lofthus started a trend which some may call a ‘punters paradise’ as the next four races all produced double-digit win payouts. Then, Garret Mosher drove Gardys Legacy A (1:57.2) to a $31 upset in race nine and Wally Watson scored with local favourite Airspinder (1:56.1), paying $44.80 in race 10. 

Drivers Aaron Hall and Bruce Ranger each picked up a pair of victories on the 12-race card. 

In the early "Learn and Earn" two-year-old events, John Nason cruised to a 12-length victory in the opener with Marvins Choice in 2:06.3. The New York-sired son of Little Brown Jug winner Courtly Choice is owned by Carolyn Corso and Katharine Nason and was bred by Winbak Farm. 

In the second non-betting race, Kim Ireland also cut the fractions with Joyous Spirit to win in 2:17.2. The New Jersey-sired daughter of sub-1:50 trotter Six Pack is owned by Dennis and Deborah Foss and was bred by Mike Andrew.

In the third event, John Nason rolled to another front-end victory with Ridgecrest Dan in 2:04. The Maine-sired son of Adios winner Dudes The Man is owned by Bill ‘Yarmouth Lumber’ Phipps and was bred by Jason Vafiades. The Tardiff Taskforce picked up many of the remaining spots with their pupils finishing second, third, fourth and sixth in that event.

The final race was captured by Katahdin Victor in 2:08.1, which was more impressive than it sounds.  Following a miscue at the start, driver Wally Watson regrouped and was back 15 lengths at the quarter pole. First-over and back eight at the half, the trotter had assumed command by the third panel and went on to win handily by a length. Trained by Lisa Watson for owner/breeder James and Betsey Kelley, the Maine-sired Victor Blue Chip gelding looks like he actually trotted in 2:05 and a piece to make up all that lost real estate.

Racing resumes at Cumberland on Friday, June 28 at 3:15 p.m.

(With files from First Tracks Cumberland)

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