Graffam, Grondin Take Maine Splits At Bangor

South St Dottie
Published: July 3, 2023 02:39 pm EDT

Trainers Mike Graffam and Valerie Grondin each grabbed a $14,684 division of the Maine Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies at Bangor on Sunday (July 2), giving the active conditioners something extra to cheer about for the holiday weekend. 

Carded as races five and eight on the afternoon program at historic Bass Park, the opener went to South St Dottie, a distaff that is heretofore undefeated in Sire Stakes competition this season. However, the betting public thought otherwise and placed a previously undefeated filly up on a pedestal and made Pickmepickme the 1-9 favourite.

When the car sped away, Nick Graffam put his Western Maverick lass into high gear and sped out quickly to the front. Pickmepickme (Andy Harrington) assumed the two-hole and the pair left the rest of the field in their wake. Graffam controlled the tempo with a :30.1 opening panel, followed by a 1:02.4 breather. When Harrington got to the five-eighths pole he tipped Pickmepickme out to challenge for the lead. Graffam sensed the movement and tapped the accelerator. South St Dottie responded and the pair dashed to through a 1:33 third panel and around the final turn, fending off the continued assault of the favourite. Not to be denied, and under constant pressure, Graffam and South St Dottie held off Pickmepickme to upset by a measured length in 2:02.4. Justcallmemimi (Bruce Ranger) finished third. She paid $22.40 to win.

South St Dottie is trained by Mike Graffam for owner-breeder Jan Donaway. It was the third consecutive Maine Sire Stakes victory for South St Dottie, who now counts $22,346 as her seasonal earnings. 

The second $14,684 division witnessed La Mambacita grab her first victory of the season, having been a bridesmaid on three previous occasions.

Driver Heath Campbell began his tour of the facility from pylon position, and to avoid a speed duel, let Ally Mac (Nick Graffam) take the top. Before the timer could register the split, Campbell and pulled and retaken the lead. Following a snappy :28 opening panel, Campbell and La Mambacita controlled the tempo through the :58.3 and 1:28 middle half, but not without pressure down the backside from Ally Mac, who was tight in the pocket, and Katelyns Angel (Kevin Switzer Jr.), who went first over. Advancing with every stride Katelyns Angel had dead aim on the leader La Mambacita, and as track announcer Mike Sweeney exclaimed, they were “whiskers apart at the wire.” La Mambacita prevailed by a head, and paid $3 to win, in 1:58, taking a new seasonal mark.

Now with $20,448 in seasonal earnings, she is owned by Scott McKenzie and trained by Valerie Grondin. The daughter of Western Maverick was bred in Maine by Lynn-Marie Plouffe.

The Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes returns to Bangor on Wednesday, July 5 for a $15,123 Maine-sired two-year-old filly pace and come right back on Friday, July 7 for the two-year-old colt pace. 

(Maine Sire Stakes)

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