Use Yah Blinkah turned in a career-best performance on Wednesday (Aug. 3) when the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings met at Bangor in the Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes (MSBS).
In the first $18,227 MSBS division, a non-wagering event, driver Heath Campbell sent Use Yah Blinkah right to the front from post position one. From there, the son of Western Maverick set fractions of :28.3 and :59.2 while he controlled the tempo by a comfortable by 1-1/2 lengths.
Having travelled these roads before, Use Yah Blinkah must have ‘remembered the way’ as the Valerie Grondin-trained gelding had won his only other race of the season at Bangor on June 15 in the opening leg.
Fast forward to week six, when Use Yah Blinkah gained some separation and was on top by five at the head of the stretch following a 1:27.4 third panel.
Coasting home in 1:57, the clocking established a new lifetime mark for Use Yah Blinkah. Stormin Maverick (Andy Harrington) finished second and Deal With It Roman (Kevin Switzer Jr.) was third.
A model of consistency, Use Yah Blinkah has finished top three 17 times in 19 career starts for owners and breeders David Thibault, Paul Vacca, Ed Nowak Jr. and Jim Hardy.
In the second $18,227 MSBS division Bandolito Blaze (Heath Campbell) blasted out for an early lead to take command from post four. Fresh off a victory at the Union Fair last Wednesday (July 27), the son of Western Maverick posted opening fractions of :29, :59.4 with a 1:29 third stanza. In the stretch drive Ranaldi and Ron Cushing tipped off his two-hole cover to grab the lead and get up in the final strides to win by a quarter-length in 1:58. CBF Quirt Gun (Nick Graffam) finished third.
Another son of Western Maverick, Ranaldi is trained by Heidi Gibbs and is owned and was bred by reinsman Cushing.
The Maine-sired sophomores return to Bangor once again for all of the three-year-old MSBS divisional finals on Oct. 15. The two-year-old championships will be held two weeks earlier on Saturday (Oct. 1) at the Cumberland Fair.
Next week, the series transitions over to Topsham for five days of racing beginning Sunday (Aug. 7) and continuing through Saturday (Aug. 13).
(With files from MSBS)