Mitchell Cushing has been on a tear of late and his driving success continued on Monday afternoon (Aug. 27) at Plainridge Park when he added five more wins to his total, moving him into fourth place in the local driving colony.
He finished first with Betterlatethnnever (1:53.3, $2.80), Lucky Sport (1:52.4, $2.40), Star Of Terror (1:53.2, $22.60) and Calvin B (1:50.4, $4.40), all of which were trained by Jim Nickerson, and BP Diet Food (1:53, $12.20).
The most impressive effort of the day came with Calvin B, who in a carbon copy performance from last week, came from off the pace to win going away in the stretch in the $14,000 Winners Over pacing feature.
Calvin B got away fifth and watched as Some Attitude (Greg Merton) scooted to the front and set a swift quarter of :26.1. Just past that station, J J S Jet (Drew Campbell) pulled first over into the torrid pace and Calvin B drafted right behind him. The two slowly advanced outside around the turn and up the backside, trying to get even with Some Attitude.
As the race approached the three-quarters, J J S Jet stalled, forcing Calvin B to go three-wide as they tripped the timer in 1:22.1. But as luck would have it, before Calvin B could draw alongside Some Attitude, Poisonous (Jimmy Whittemore) pulled out from behind the leader and kept Calvin B three deep around the entire final turn. The three horses entered the stretch fanned across the track evenly, but Cushing put Calvin B into overdrive and he paced away from all of them to win in 1:50.4, which equaled his seasonal mark for the second time this year.
It was the eighth win of the year and second consecutive victory at Plainridge Park for Calvin B and it pushed his earnings to $64,320 for owner Dolores Smiel.
Cushing’s five-bagger gives him 54 wins at this meet and he sits in fourth place behind Drew Campbell (109 wins), Greg Merton (87 wins) and Shawn Gray (81 wins). He is currently the eighth leading percentage driver in North America with a .355 UDR and is having a personal career year with 139 wins and $648,757 in earnings to date.
With his four win day, trainer Jim Nickerson now has 23 wins and he has jumped from eighth in the conditioner standings to fifth behind Eric Beach (34 wins), Mike Eaton (27 wins), Elisha Lafreniere (25 wins) and James Dunn (24 wins).
There was no winning ticket in the Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta again on Monday and as a result, there will be a $5,635 carryover pool in the sixth race on Tuesday (Aug. 28) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park with post time at 4 p.m.--By Tim Bojarski/Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts