Maine crowns champions in Sires Stakes
October 10, 2020
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The sun broke through and temperatures climbed into the mid-70s on Saturday as an enthusiastic crowd gathered to fete the crème de la crème of the Maine-bred set on a brilliant early autumn day at Scarborough Downs.
The three-year-old finals of the Maine Sire Stakes programs were contested for purses just shy of the $250K level and participants breathed a sigh of relief, as a stakes season delayed and interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, graciously came to a well received conclusion.
The $61,210 filly pacing final featured a determined effort from Proud American Girl, who gamely ground her way through the outside speedway lanes in dogged pursuit of the front-running Maverick Fiber. That energetic strategy set up an epic stretch duel as she reached even terms with the rabbit, just as the lead tandem was quickly joined by the late flying She's A Fireball. As they rounded the final turn, charging toward home, stacked three across the raceway, they raced with no design on defeat. But it was Proud American Girl finally wearing down her early rival and withstanding the challenge of her trailing foe to proudly reach the wire 1/2-length the best, timed in 1:59.2.
Proud American Girl, a daughter of Western Maverick-Funnel Cake Queen, is trained by Marc Tardif for owner Lesley Leighton and was driven to her third win in a row by Dan Deslandes.
She's A Fireball (Ron Cushing) rallied for the place while Maverick Fiber (John Nason) settled for third.
Spatterdash destroyed the competition in the $61,226 colt pacing final, extending out at the wire, 7-1/4 lengths the best, while stopping the clock in a sizzling 1:55.3. The zippy clocking fell just 1/5th-second off the track’s divisional record and the stakes record set by Seeley Man in the 2016 Maine Sire Stakes Final.
Owned, trained and bred by Ralph Andersen, the son of Deuce Seelster-Poster Hanover was expertly driven by Michael Stevenson.
Clairmont (Ron Cushing) settled for the bridesmaid share while R J Maverick (Bruce Ranger) rallied gamely for the show.
Victory in the $60,803 colt trotting final went to Noble Sand Man, who extended his win streak out to four-in-row as he strutted on the biggest stage of his career. Unraced as a freshman, the son of Noble Venture-Damsel In The Sand, in essence inherited the early lead, led throughout, and then extended out to a 8-1/4-length margin while equaling his lifetime mark of 2:03.1.
Owned by longtime state-of-Maine breeder, Michael Andrew and trained by top trot-master, Ivan Davies, the courageous colt was confidently steered to victory by Heath Campbell.
Late season sensation, Song Of Victory (Gary Mosher), finished second in only his third start of the year, while T Brook Billy (David Crochere) rode the cones to claim the show dough.
R T's Warrior capped off a brilliant Maine Sire Stakes career in the $61,194 filly trotting final on Saturday, holding off a stern challenge late in the mile to claim her seventh win of the season. Timed in 2:01.3, the daughter of Nobel Venture—Oye Oye, remained perfect on the year in Maine Sires Stakes contests while adding the Maine Stakes sophomore title to the freshman crown she earned in 2019.
The prolific filly is trained by Gretchen Athearn for owner William Phipps, and was driven to victory by the trainer's son and one of the leading drivers at the Downs, Matty Athearn. (Scarborough Downs)