Maine Sire Stakes Championships for the 3-year-old divisions were decided on Sunday (Oct. 140 at Scarborough Downs. An enthusiastic crowd came forth to witness the combat as the Maine-breds battled for purses in excess of $77,000 per split.
Pembroke Picture claimed the filly crown on the trot posting her 11th win of the season and 20th career victory lap. Owned by William Varney of Bangor, the daughter of CR Power Glide battled for the early lead with A Vicious Woman before settling on a two-hole trip, deciding that discretion is the better part of valor. Driver Heath Campbell pulled the filly just past the half-mile marker, engaging A Vicious Woman throughout the remainder of the mile before pulling away to a slight advantage at the finish.
"Gary (Hall) decided he wanted the top, and I didn't press the issue,” said driver Heath Campbell. "My filly can do it either way. Maybe I put her in the better footing by taking her to the outside -- I've watched Donnie Richards do it for years – and it worked today.”
TJs War Princess (Kim Ireland) rallied for second; A Vicious Woman (Gary Hall) finished third; the mile timed in 2:05.1 on the off-rated track.
Current Crisis claimed top honors in the colt trot division, forced into an extended first-over maneuver due to poor post position and extreme speed to his inside. Accustomed to taking the front end seat, Current Crisis nonetheless prevailed to secure his fourth consecutive victory, eighth on the season. The 3-year-old son of Current Cast is owned by Thomas Dillon and Walter Hight and was driven to victory by Mark Athearn.
"He was very strong today,” Athearn remarked. "He's been getting better in each and every start, I hate to see the season end for him.”
Bank Bailout (Gary Mosher) was second; I'm A King (Paul Battis) rallied for third, the mile timed in 2:04.1.
An upset of sorts occurred as filly pacers took to the raceway in race 9 when the favorite, Pembroke Cuddles, got roughed up in the early going. Royal Knockout took full advantage of the early pace scenario to mount a powerful rally move up the backstretch, tipping four-wide off the final turn before charging convincingly to the wire. The 3-year-old daughter of Ashlee's Big Guy recorded her ninth win of the season for owners Michael Graffam, William Arnold and Richard Shaw.
"There was an awful lot of traffic on the raceway today,” said driver Mike Graffam. "I had one shot to get out up the backstretch but Gary's (Mosher) filly put in a bit of a step. So I just rode it out – she loves to close. And when I saw Heath (Campbell) and Ron (Cushing) hook up early, it really set this race up for us.”
Magically (Gary Mosher) was second; Ashlee's Cool Gal (Mark Athearn) was third, in a mile timed in 2:00.2.
Pembroke Dewey capped a near-perfect season on Sunday, securing his 13th win from 14 starts, as he stepped foot on the biggest stage of his career. In a field where everyone seemed to want the early lead, driver Heath Campbell hustled his colt briskly toward the top before grabbing the lead well past the quarter-mile marker.
"I was a little worried,” Campbell said, "because we did get stung pretty bad in the early going. But my colt is tough and he dug in when it counted.”
Fuzzylegsandall (Mark Athearn) rallied strongly to secure a well-earned second; and Paris Knight (Ivan Davies) was third, in a mile timed in 2:00.1.
This was the second stakes win of the day for owner William Varney and trainer Valerie Grondin.
Scarborough Downs continues live racing for its fall meet with a Friday/Saturday/Sunday schedule, post time: 12:05 pm. (Scarborough Downs)