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Call Me Maverick Asserts Dominance

Published: July 11, 2021 1:16 pm ET

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Three divisions of the Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes (MSBS) went postward on Saturday (July 10) at Cumberland, with series leader Call Me Maverick maintaining his dominance in front of a big summer weekend crowd.

Winning his $9,918 division, Call Me Maverick got every call as driver Mike Stevenson led the successful son of Western Maverick through comfortable fractions, which allowed the three-year-old pacing gelding to scoot down the homestretch in :28.3 to win in 1:59.1 by 2-1/4 lengths.

Never beaten at his home track, the heavy favourite paid $2.60 to win, and now has three wins in four MSBS legs this season. Upland Farm homebred Call Me Maverick competes for trainer Gordon Corey.

American Maverick (Kevin Switzer Jr./Marc Tardif) finished second; Brady To Gronk (Ron Cushing/Heidi Gibbs) was third.

Another favourite that won his $9,918 MSBS division was A Sweet Bidda Luck, also in 1:59.1, also from post one, also wire-to-wire. Ron Cushing drove the Lynn-Marie Plouffe-bred son of Western Maverick to his second win of the MSBS season for trainer Heidi Gibbs and owner Scott McKenzie. He paid $3.20 to win.

Barely a whisker could separate Lord Magnetic (Matt Athearn/Gretchen Athearn), who finished second by a half length, from the dead heat for third between Hollywood Skeeter (Aaron Hall/Mike Graffam) and Whatawinwillie (Kevin Switzer Jr./Mark Tardiff).

In the third division, Paxxton locked bridles with Edelman heading to the three-quarters and proceeded to battle for the final three-eighths of a mile with the former besting his rival by a half length in 1:59.2.

Paxxton, driven by Heath Campbell for trainer Valerie Grondin, left alertly from post five and grabbed the lead into a swift :28.1 opening panel. When the field hit the half in :59.3, Ron Cushing, driving Edelman, sensed the slow :31.2 second stanza and pulled the son of Western Maverick from the three-hole. Heading through the third turn, those two locked eyes and never gave one another an inch until the wire, where Paxxton prevailed by a short half length. Whiskey Maverick (Aaron Hall/Michael Graffam), locked in on the pylons sat third through the final half and finished in that position.

Paxxton, a son of Western Maverick, is owned by Valerie Grondin and Rhoda Underhill and was bred by Warren and Joan Harp. He paid $4.60 to win.

The glamour boys return to town July 20, when First Tracks Cumberland welcomes the fifth leg of the Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes (MSBS) for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, which culminates with an $80,000 added final on Oct. 16 at Bangor.

During week seven of the Maine Amateur Driving Club (MADC) series, sponsored by Blue Seal Feeds, current point leader Joe Burke put some distance on the rest of the club drivers by winning his third MADC race in a row.

During the first half of the race, Todd Whitney, driving Major Plans, cut the mile and had things pretty much his own way. But “Big” Joe Burke had other plans as he pulled the pocket going down the backside into a 1:30.1 third panel and continued to gain ground to win in 2:01 with his own Meetmeatthedance by 1-1/2 lengths.

Trained by Robert Marston, the five-year-old son of A Rocknroll Dance lit up the tote board, paying $27.80 to win. Charles “Butch” Eaton closed swiftly with Hoboken Hanover to be second, who is also second in the point standings. Trainer/driver David Crochere finished third, with Todd Whitney (third in points) and Major Plans hanging on to be fourth.

Returning, once again, to Cumberland to make the presentations to the winning amateur connections was Melanie Locke, store manager for both local Blue Seal feed stores.

There will be just one more week for drivers to earn additional points toward the $7,500 final on July 24, with the top seven point earners advancing to the finale.

The Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association and First Tracks Cumberland, in collaboration with Love To Race author Amber Sawyer, gave out several dozen signed copies of the children’s book to kids under 12 that were in attendance on Saturday.

Live harness racing from Cumberland is presented each Tuesday and Saturday through July 31 at 2:30 p.m., and on Aug. 4 and 5 at 11 a.m. For more information, go to firsttrackscumberland.com.

(First Tracks Cumberland)


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