Maine trotters make triumphant return to Windsor

Windsor, ME — For the second Sunday in a row, all divisions of the Maine Sire Stakes for trotters went postward at Windsor Fair, with several fan favorites increasing their seasonal win totals and three victors taking new lifetime marks.

In Sunday’s (Sept. 3) $14,146 non-wagering opener, trainer Valerie Grondin got her 499th career driving victory aboard Chipper Dale, giving that 2-year-old son of Shake It Off Lindy his sixth consecutive victory, along with a faster lifetime mark.

Chipper Dale won in 2:04.4. Stephanie Gray photo.

With a ‘take no prisoners’ effort, Grondin pushed her charge out to the lead by open lengths, and continued to control the tempo through speedy ‘colt trotter’ fractions from her well-established position of power. Cruising home in 2:04.4, the time shaved a full four seconds off Chipper Dale’s previous lifetime best, and maintained the gelding’s perfect record with $51,516 in earnings. Pembroke Will (Heath Campbell-Grondin) finished second; Carrabassett (Mark Athearn-Gretchen Athearn) was third.

Owned and bred by Lynn-Marie Plouffe, the Maine-bred trotting star has yet to taste defeat in a purse race.

The second $14,367 non-betting event for 2-year-old trotting fillies was captured by My Saving Grace, who also took a new lifetime mark. Driven by Mark Athearn for trainer-partner Gretchen Athearn, the daughter of Shake It Off Lindy took an early seat behind pacesetter Pembroke Breeze (Campbell-Grondin).

As the race progressed through evenly-rated panels, Athearn continued to close the gap on the leader, and by the head of the stretch he and My Saving Grace were poised to pounce. Getting up in the final strides to win by three parts of a length, My Saving Grace prevailed in a new lifetime best of 2:06. Pembroke Breeze finished second; Twisted Venture (Mike Cushing-Sherry Cushing) was third.

Owned by Margaret Thyng and bred by Leighton Property, it was her fifth seasonal victory and brought her earnings to $45,035.

The Maine-bred 3-year-olds hit the track during the regular Windsor Fair card, with the $14,941 colt trot presented as race one, with odds-on favorite Wabanaki advancing his current win streak to three.

Trained and driven by Ivan Davies, the son of Boy Band left for an early lead and controlled the opening panels of :29.2 and 1:00.1 before feeling any significant pressure from the pack. However, at the 1:30.4 third panel Pembroke Traveler (Campbell-Grondin) had advanced first over and was at the throat latch of pacesetter Wabanaki. By the head of the stretch only a whisker separated the two combatants as they bore down on the swift Windsor Fair homestretch.

That’s when Davies reminded Wabanaki what was at stake and the gelding found another gear and put down a :29 final quarter to scoot away from the would-be spoilers and take a new record of 1:59.4, winning by 2-1/4 lengths. Outlawofthevalley (Kevin Switzer Jr.-Marc Tardif) surged home to be second; Pembroke Traveler finished third.

Owned by Anita ‘Bunny’ Anastosopoulos-Andrew and bred by her late husband Mike Andrew, Wabanaki’s efforts put his lifetime earnings into six-figure territory at $102,913. He now has five wins this year, and paid $2.80 to win.

The Davies-Andrew clan had another shell in the chamber as Wild Ending redeemed her defeat last week to pick up her fifth win of the season while taking the $14,952 sophomore filly trot. In a decisive wire-to-wire romp, the daughter of Boy Band was expertly piloted by Davies to a 2:05 score, drawing off by six lengths at the wire. Melania’s Best (John Nason) finished second; B R Glory (Wally Watson-Lisa Watson) was third.

Owned by Anastosopoulos-Andrew and bred by Andrew, the filly now has $47,892 in seasonal earnings. She paid $2.80 to win.

Racing concludes at Windsor with the sophomore filly pacers closing out the meet on Labor Day Monday (Sept. 4).

For more information about the Maine Sire Stakes, follow their Facebook page @MaineBreedersAssociation, or go to their website:

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