Cumberland opens with big crowd

Cumberland, ME — Saturday’s (May 8) opening day at Cumberland enjoyed a large crowd and widespread support from on-track punters, as well as simulcast outlets, for the nine-race card.

Opening Day was a hit at Cumberland on Saturday afternoon. Chris Tully Photo.

The first extended pari-mutuel meeting to open in over twenty years that was not owned by a casino enjoyed mild temperatures that brought several hundred people to the Cumberland Fairground’s apron to enjoy a full day of harness racing.

Over nine races, the swiftest of the day went to iconic driver and Maine-native Bruce Ranger who steered 12-year-old Ira Chief to victory for trainer Dennis Whittemore and owner Diane Whittemore in 1:57.2h.  Six races went faster than 2:00 and only two races were won by the betting favorites.

First Tracks Investments CEO Mike Cianchette was pleased that the Maine owners, trainers and drivers supported the inaugural event.

“I am also very grateful to the team at Black Bear Racing and the fans that turned out to enjoy the races.  None of this happens with any one person.  It’s only a success if we all work together.”

Race Secretary Marc Reynolds was equally excited about the energy in the air and enthusiasm of the horsemen.

“The turnout for the crowd was more than anyone expected.  You can feel the electricity in the air with the momentum of Maine harness racing.

Racing from Cumberland continues Tuesday and Wednesday, May 11 & 12, first post 4:15 pm.  For more information go to our website and follow us on Facebook at @FirstTracksCumberland.

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