Cumberland, ME — The Down East faithful will transition from Farmington to the 150th annual Cumberland Fair on Sunday (Sept. 25) with 10 harness races programmed at the iconic Southern Maine oval.
Many of Maine’s rural fairs are known for their tractor pulls and draft horse demonstrations, however the Cumberland fair was first held in 1868 with harness racing as the “Maine” attraction. It remains one of the biggest annual agricultural events in the southern part of the Pine Tree state.
The harness racing at Cumberland Fair will start at 2 p.m. on opening day, Sunday (Sept. 25) with full cards scheduled for eight consecutive dates through Sunday (Oct. 2). Post time is slated for 1 p.m. beginning Monday (Sept. 26) through the end of the Fair meet.
The featured events for the opening day card are the first legs of two individual Monsters of the Midway series, which are ‘TrackMaster rating’ conditioned paces. The series finals are being held in conjunction with the $240,000-plus Maine Breeders Stakes 2-year-old finals on Oct. 1, and carry final purses of $10,000 and $12,000, respectively.
“First Tracks Cumberland is excited to be hosting the rich Maine Sire Stakes freshman finals, and we want the entire day to be a fun and exciting event for all the fans and horsemen,” stated racing secretary Marc Reynolds.
“In addition to the Monsters of the Midway series finals, we also have three special invites with total purses of $35,000, bringing our overnight purses well in excess of $60,000 for the day’s card.”
Two six-horse legs of the $6,000 Monsters of the Midway series #2 eliminations go postward as races three and five on opening day (Sept. 25).
The first leg features fan-favorite Led Schneppelin (post four) driven by up-and-coming reinsman Jason Bertolini, who just returned from an eye-popping performance at the Delaware County Fair on Jug week. Sure to give no quarter will be Dan Deslandes driving Native Maverick (post two), who has been installed as the 5-2 favorite.
The second $6,000 division pits Age Is A Number (post four, Walter Case Jr., 5-2) versus Ima Tragedy N (post three, Aaron Hall, 3-1). Inside those two will be Smart Move (post two) who is driven by 18-year-old Winter Asher-Stalbaum, the hard-working son of Larry “The Bomber” Stalbaum, who has amassed over 200 starts on his second season competing on the tough Maine Fair circuit.
The top four finishers from each division that enter will return for the $12,000 final on Oct. 1.
The $5,000 Monsters of the Midway series #1 drew eight, with all finishers that enter advancing to the $10,000 final Oct. 1. That group is led by Grace Of Art (post one, Walter Case Jr., 5-2). The 4-year-old Art Major mare won her last start in the slop at Farmington and looks to take advantage of pylon position to grab another one here. Adam Gray’s 14-year-old Forward Bliss (post four, Matt Athearn, 6-1) returns to his home turf and will look to garner the 37th win of his long career.
First post on Sunday (Sept. 25) is 2 p.m. Post time will be 1 p.m. each racing day thereafter.
Looking ahead, the Maine Breeders Stakes returns with the 3-year-old pacers on Wednesday (Sept. 28) and 3-year-old trotters on the following day (Sept. 29), with four $60,000-plus divisional 2-year-old finals on Saturday (Oct. 1).
First Tracks Cumberland’s winter festival reconvenes on Sunday (Nov. 6), following a Friday, Saturday, Sunday racing schedule through Christmas Eve (Dec. 24). Winter post times will be 11 a.m.
More information can be found on our website firsttrackscumberland.com and on our Facebook page: First Tracks Cumberland.