Manhattan Express cruises in Cumberland feature

Cumberand, ME – Matt Athearn guided Manhattan Express to a head victory in Friday’s (Nov. 11) $4,600 feature at First Tracks Cumberland in 1:57.3, the fastest mile of the day.

Manhattan Express won the Cumberland feature Friday night. .Stephanie Gray Photo.

Scoring from post five, Athearn got away sixth with the 7-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight, while several self-assured reinsmen fought for the lead.  The first to leave was Elrama N (Drew Campbell), followed immediately by Skyful Of Lighters (Dave Ingraham) who rallied alongside on the front end through a 28 opening panel.  As if that wasn’t enough, Mike Stevenson pulled Pacin Perfect three-wide going into a 58.2 half and the three horses tussled begrudgingly through the third turn.

With Pacin Perfect fading at a 1:26.4 third stanza, Matt Athearn was able to angle Manhattan Express up the inside to draft off the cover of Skyful Of Lighters who hung on gamely during his lengthy first over bid.  As the field turned for home Matty ‘Ice’ made it look easy as he got up to win by head over the dueling “D’s.”

It was the fifth seasonal victory and second in-a-row for Manhattan Express, who is trained and owned by Brian Lamb.   He paid $18.00 to win.  Skyful Of Lighters finished second; Elrama N was third.

The team of Athearn and Lamb also teamed up to score in the seventh race with Edelman ($7.80 to win).  Mike Stevenson enjoyed a driving triple on the card.  Walter Case Jr. had two double digit victories on the 11-race program, winning with American Rose ($16.60) and Uptown Lover ($50.20).

Looking ahead to Saturday’s (Nov. 12) card, the eighth race $6,500 Open 2 Pace recycles last week’s match up of a track record holders.  By virtue of her previous triumph Ry’s Red Rocket (Matt Athearn) has been assigned the outside post 5.  The 5-year-old daughter of Sunshine Beach looks for her 8th win of the season.  Captain Nash (PP 2, Drew Campbell) and Rocksapatriot (PP 3, Dave Ingraham) have a slight inside advantage and have been listed as 7-2 and 4-1, respectively.  Adriano Hanover (PP4, Kevis Switzer Jr.), who was a nose behind the winner in his last outing, adds depth to the fray.

In addition, there are three divisions of the $5,500 Open 4 Pace, and a lone $6,000 Open 3 Pace.  All of which should provide fans and bettors with fast miles and plenty of wagering action.  Every race has a 50-cent Trifecta, and the final (11th) race also features a 20-cent Pentafecta.

The Sunday (Nov. 13) program has twelve races, five of which are for the diagonal set, otherwise known as trotters.  The $6,500 Open 2-3 Trot features last week’s victor Favorite Uncle (Cain MacKenzie) who scores from post position four.  Outside him is the trending Broadway Giant (PP 5, Bruce Ranger) who won three-in-a-row before moving up to this class.  This race also marks the return of local fan favorite Cherry Crown Jewel (PP 3, Mark Athearn), who set a track record at Cumberland last year and is coming off a win at Bangor.

First Tracks Cumberland is proud to present the Polar Express Late Closing Series for the Winter meet.  Beginning Dec. 2-4, the three individual TrackMaster rating and conditioned events boast over $85,000 of additional earning opportunities for New England horse people, for which there is no entry fee.  For further details, visit the horsemen page on our website, or click:

First Tracks Cumberland and the Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association are collecting nonperishable food items in the race paddock during the next two weekends of racing to benefit the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program.

Racing continues at First Tracks Cumberland for our Winter Festival extended pari-mutuel meeting featuring a weekly trifecta of cards on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Nov.18, 19 & 20) which continues through December 24, 2022.

For more information go to our website:

Follow us on Facebook at @FirstTracksCumberland.

Matt Athearn guided Manhattan Express to thrilling come-from-behind victory at Cumberlands. Stephanie Gray photo.


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