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Maine Amateurs Make Last Dash

Published: July 16, 2021 12:14 pm ET

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The eighth and final week of the regular Maine Amateur Driving Club (MADC) series has two divisions this Saturday (July 17), sponsored by Blue Seal Feeds, with 10 drivers looking for a chance to compete in the $7,500 final next Saturday (July 24).

The top seven drivers in the point standings advance to the final, with the second seven going to the $4,000 consolation, being held on the same date, now billed as the Maine Amateur Driving Club Day.

A full field of seven vying for the $3,800 purse in Group ‘B’ (race six) pits last month’s winner, Baywood Shadow (post three, 5-2) and driver Dalton Lee, against the Derek Howes-driven Sunset Over Miami (post six, 3-1), who is winless this season but gets some class relief as of late. Added to the fray is upset-minded Worth Watching (post two, 7-2) with the meet’s leading trainer, Benson Merrill, at the controls. He has been second and third in his last three at Bangor, but won his last Cumberland start on June 22.

Also at 7-2 on the morning line is I Saw Red, the lone mare in the field, piloted by Eric Bickmore. Both Putnams Storm (post seven, 6-1), a 12-year-old Force Of Life gelding being driven by 83-years-young Bob Nadeau, and Hoboken Hanover (post five, 4-1), a 14-year-old by Cams Card Shark handled by Charles ‘Butch’ Eaton, have not missed a cheque in MADC events this year.

Rounding out the ‘B’ field, and still searching for that elusive first win of the MADC season, David Crochere brings his own Rambling Jet (post one, 5-1) into the race, and looks to help the horse get his 30th lifetime victory.

For the $4,800 Group 'A' event (race 10), Merrill brings a new horse, Velocity Sub Z (post two, 3-1) into the MADC ranks and looks to improve his position in the point standings with the seven-year-old son of Arts Chip. Fresh off a win in his last start at Cumberland, the Judson Merrill-trained side-wheeler just took a seasonal mark of 1:57.3 at Bangor last week.

Another horse coming off a win at Bangor is Led Schneppelin (post five, 7-2) with co-owner Mike McGee back in the sulky. The Aaron Hall-trained 10-year-old son of Memphis Flash also took a seasonal record at Bangor last week, winning wire-to-wire with Hall at the controls in 1:57.2.

A pair of horses that each won their last MADC outings are River Runs Deep (post seven, 4-1) and Plus One (post four, 9-2). River Runs Deep gave driver Eric Bickmore his first win of the season on June 26, where he beat the ‘A’ group in 1:57.3. Trained by Sara Gibbs, the 10-year-old son of Riverboat King comes into the race off two wins at Cumberland and two cheques at Bangor.

Plus One gives reigning point leader Joe Burke another shot at the title. Having beaten the ‘B’ group in his last outing, he will have to bring his A-game to overtake this bunch. Trained by Bob Marston, the six-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere is also owned by Burke.

All MADC winners receive a ‘swag bucket’ trophy of stable supplies on behalf of the Windham and North Yarmouth Blue Seal Feed stores. In addition, on July 24, the Maine Amateur Driving Club will make donations to a variety of local and national benefit organizations from funds accrued from driver’s fees of past MADC series.

The richest overnight race of the day is the $6,500 Winners Over Trot, which is carded as race nine and reconvenes a strong group of past and present victors. Leading the charge is Northern Skyway (post six, Drew Campbell), who is coming off a 1:58.1 win last week and looks to repeat for trainer Jim Dunn and owner Bill McElvain Jr.

Sure to be right on his helmet will be Try Try Again (post three, Heath Campbell), who was second in this bunch last outing. Trained by Valerie Grondin, the seven-year-old Kadabra stallion has eight wins this season, but only one in his last nine starts.

Of course a savvy punter could never count out the mare, Cherry Crown Jewel (post five, Matt Athearn) who has been first or second in seven of her last nine starts. Trained by Gretchen Athearn, the nine-year-old daughter of RC Royalty seems to prefer the front end, but can certainly conquer from off the pace.

Bruizn (post four, Andy Harrington) could be looking for redemption. Making an uncharacteristic break from post seven in his previous start, the strapping seven-year-old son of Musclini has toppled some of these punchers before, and just needs to stay in the bout to succeed.

Live harness racing from Cumberland is presented each Tuesday and Saturday through July 31 at 2:30 p.m., with two additional dates added — Aug. 4 and 5 at 11 a.m. For more information, go to

(First Tracks Cumberland)

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