Maine amateurs return to Cumberland

Cumberland, ME — Following a two-week hiatus, the Maine Amateur Driving Club returns to Cumberland on Saturday (April 30) for two legs of the popular season-long series.

Dubbed ‘The Greatest Side Show in Maine Harness Racing,’ the MADC enjoys robust participation and also helps convert horse owners into aspiring teamsters.

Nationally, this exciting sector of the sport has been featured ‘on the card’ at such top tracks as The Meadowlands, Yonkers Raceway, Pocono, and more. Locally, the series is well established and enjoys support from both the race office as well as the punters.

Benson Merrill leads all drivers in the Maine Amateur Driving Club standings. He is shown winning the first leg with Sarah’s Lilly on April 9 at Cumberland. Stephanie Gray photo.

Last year’s point champion Benson Merrill, also the 2021 meet’s leading conditioner, brings 5-2 morning line favorite Zampara to the seventh race on Saturday. Scoring the hot post four, he is sure to tussle with Imageofarocker (post six, Alex Richardson) for command of the tempo. Just inside is the fan-favorite Led Schneppelin (post three, Jason Bertolini), who won’t be giving anything away either. As is usually the case, these reinsmen will all be seeking to grab the lion’s share of the $4,200 purse, MADC class B event.

As always, the MADC events are sponsored by the Blue Seal Feed Stores of North Yarmouth and Windham, Maine.

The second event is a the MADC $3,800 class C and pits Joe ‘The Prez’ Burke (post four, Silver Shooter) against Todd Whitney (post one, Three Day Forecast) and Karl Butterfield (post five, Gucciriffic). Of course the series welcomes drivers of all ages as 21-year-old Zackary Gray (Bettor Reason N) lines up with the 85-years-young veteran Bob Nadeau and his trusty steed Putnams Storm.

Both Cumberland cards also have a host of top-tier events to consider, with the Open Trots going Friday (April 29) and the laterally gaited pacers racing on Saturday (April 30).

First Tracks Cumberland is also pleased to announce that racing fans and bettors will be able to watch and wager on the weekend cards from Churchill Downs. Each card starts at 10:30 a.m. and features the Kentucky Oaks on Friday (May 6) and the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday (May 7). Programs, betting windows, monitors and concessions will be available in the Fairgrounds grandstand.

Regular post time for the live Spring/Summer meet is set for 3 p.m. on both Fridays and Saturdays, with the extended pari-mutuel meeting racing each weekend through July 23.

The tenth and final race on both Friday and Saturday features our 20-cent Hi-Five (pentafecta), with a low takeout of 16 percent.

More information can be found on our website at and on our Facebook page: First Tracks Cumberland.

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