Luke McGook Maintains Perfect Sophomore Record

Luke McGook winning at Bangor Raceway
Published: July 27, 2023 08:30 am EDT

Three-year-old pacing gelding Luke McGook earned another victory at Bangor Raceway on Wednesday, July 26, giving the Marc Tardif-trained seasonal star an unblemished record of five-for-five in the glamour boys division of the Maine Sire Stakes.

Leaving from pylon position and driven by regular pilot Kevin Switzer Jr., the son of Rock N Roll World left little doubt who would be in command at the :29.2 opening panel of the $15,142 event in which five of the seven starters were trained by Tardif. With the world at his back, the Leighton Property-owned pacer with the funny name rolled through the middle half of 1:00.2 and 1:29.3 while maintaining a respectable, but not overly boisterous, single-length lead on Colt Bennett (Bruce Ranger). 

Stablemate Someones Hero (Dave Ingraham) went first-up at the half and through the third panel. Sensing some hesitation, Walter Case Jr. moved So Rock N Roll three-wide down the backside to swoop his tiring colleague.

With the fracas behind him, Luke McGook pranced home in 1:58.3, with nary an anxious moment to score by 1-1/4 lengths. Colt Bennett finished second with So Rock N Roll getting up to be third in the first of three non-wagering events. 

Luke McGook was bred in Maine by Erica Saucier and now has $178,574 in lifetime earnings, with 13 career victories.

The second $14,146 Maine Sire Stakes event, a two-year-old colt trot, was captured by Chipper Dale in 2:12 by a 1-3/4-length margin with trainer/driver Valerie Grondin at the controls. Chipper Dale is by the sire Shake It Off Lindy and is owned and was bred by Lynn-Marie Plouffe.  Pembroke Will (Heath Campbell) finished second after cutting the fractions while Carrabassatt (Mark Athearn) was third.

In the final non-betting race, Two Towns Over won the other $15,367 sophomore colt pace division in a seasonal best 1:58.1. Driven by Aaron Hall for owner/trainer Valerie Grondin, the son of Deuce Seelster made every call a winning one, wiring the field and scoring by 3-3/4 lengths.  Stablemate Mattucci (Walter Case Jr.) finished second and Rockaroundsam (Andy Harrington) was third. Two Towns Over was bred by Andrew Bustard.

The Marc Tardif-trained Outlawofthevalley provided a mild upset in defeating wagering favourite and previous point leader Wabanaki (Ivan Davies) in the $15,166 Maine Sire Stakes for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

Scoring from the Euro-rail position, driver Kevin Switzer Jr. let Stealin Money (Nick Graffam) leave sharply and cross over.  However, the dust barely had time to settle as Switzer Jr. was back out and rolled on to re-take command in a :29.4 opening panel.

Stealin Money sat a tight pocket with Wabanaki not content in third and choosing to pull first over into the 1:01.4 half-mile marker.  The pair battled on the front end through a 1:31.4 third stanza, where track announcer Mike Sweeney noted that Wabanaki "refused to go away."

Down the stretch, it appeared that the lathered-up Outlawofthevalley had his hands full, but the wire arrived and the pacesetter was able to maintain a half-length lead over the favourite to score in 2:02.2. Stealin Money hung on to be third.

Outlawofthevalley, a son of Pembroke Slugger, is owned and was bred by Leighton Property. He paid $9.80 to win.

It's a three-day weekend for participants in the Maine Sire Stakes at Cumberland. On Friday, July 28, Cumblerand will host two and three-year-old trotting fillies and three-year-old pacing fillies. On Saturday, July 29, there will be two divisions of freshman pacing fillies while the freshman pacing colts will compete on Sunday, July 30.  All the divisions are on the betting program. 

(With files from Maine Sire Stakes)

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