Wabanaki Leads Maine Sophomore Trotters

Wabanaki winning at Bangor Raceway
Published: July 17, 2023 09:10 am EDT

A quartet of $14,000-plus divisions of Maine Sire Stakes for two and three-year-old trotters put in their respective miles on Sunday afternoon, July 16 at Bangor Raceway over a rain-soaked surface.

Last year’s champion freshman trotter, Wabanaki (pictured above) returned to his winning ways, taking the featured $14,941 sophomore colt trot.

Sent off as the 2-5 favourite in the opener, trainer/driver Ivan Davies had the son of Boy Band in high gear going into the first turn and posted a :29.4 opening quarter, despite the off track conditions. Outlawofthevalley (Kevin Switzer Jr.) was sitting in a loose pocket with Pembroke Traveler (Heath Campbell) third and moving first-over just past the 1:01.2 softer second panel. Down the backstretch the final time, Campbell had Pembroke Traveler all revved up and managed to poke a head in front of Wabanaki into the 1:31.2 third stanza. However, Wabanaki fought back and dug in for the final quarter and rolled on like a good horse to win in 2:02 by two lengths. Outlawofthevalley finished second and Eustis (Mike Stevenson) was third.

Owned by Anita Anastosopoulos, the Davies-trained and driven colt picked up his second win of the season from three starts and his fifth lifetime victory. Bred by Mike Andrew, Wabanaki increased his lifetime earnings to $72,586. He paid $2.80 to win. 

Wabanaki leads his peers in the point standings.

Historic Bass Park hosted three non-wagering races, which preceded the regular card. The first to fire were the two-year-old filly trotters, vying for a purse of $14,367.

Leaving little room for interpretation, My Saving Grace was sent out directly to the lead from post four and proceeded to show the way for the other trotting babies. With the judges giving a two-second allowance for the sloppy track, the daughter of Shake It Off Lindy cruised casually through a soft opening half of 1:09.1, with driver Mark Athearn urging the distaff to scamper home in 2:12 by 6-3/4 lengths. The win was the second consecutive stakes victory for the Leighton Property-bred filly, who is trained by Gretchen Athearn for owner Margaret Thyng. Pembroke Breeze (Campbell) finished second and Bernies Legacy (Davies) was third.

Next up was the $14,502 sophomore filly trotters, which witnessed another gate-to-wire romp by Shesalilbitmouthy. Driver Aaron Hall had the daughter of Victory Blue Chip out and rolling from their starting pylon position and made every call a winning one. Tripping the timer in 2:04, the Mona Dodd-owned distaff picked up her third front-end stakes victory of the season. With lifetime earnings of $117,340, the Michael Cushing-trained lass has roared her way to the top of her class this season. She was bred by Stephen Hall. Wild Ending (Davies) finished second by a tight length and Another Adventure (Switzer Jr.) was third, but unhurried.

The final $13,971 freshman colt trot Maine Sire Stakes event went to Chipper Dale, who broke his maiden in his first-time purse start. Driven by Heath Campbell for trainer Valerie Grondin, Chipper Dale was content to follow pacesetter Carrabassett (Mark Athearn) through all the panels. When the pair got to the head of the stretch, they were heads apart. With Carrabassett jumping off stride, Chipper Dale went on to win by 6-1/2 lengths in 2:08.4. A son of Shake It Off Lindy, Chipper Dale is owned and was bred by Lynn-Marie Plouffe.

Maine Sires Stakes events resume on Friday, July 21 with the two-year-old pacing fillies racing at Bangor. The following day, the freshman colts return to Cumberland. On Sunday’s card, the trotters will return once again to historic Bass Park.

(With files from Maine Sire Stakes)

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