Cumberland, ME — A large crowd and clear skies greeted the opening of the 150th annual Cumberland Fair on Sunday (Sept. 25) with ten exciting harness races marking the first of eight days of action.
The featured events for the opening day card were the first legs of two individual Monsters of the Midway series.
The 84-year-old Bob Nadeau guided his trusty gray steed Putnams Storm to a wire-to-wire victory in the second of two six-horse legs of the $6,000 Monsters of the Midway series #2 eliminations.
Scoring from the pylon position, the octogenarian never looked back as his 13-year-old ashen gelding rolled through opening fractions of 28.4 and 1:00 while the rest of the field battled for third place as Winter Asher-Stalbaum had Smart Move tucked in right behind Nadeau’s helmet.
At the half, Aaron Hall was first over with wagering favorite Ima Tragedy N, followed by Age Is A Number (Walter Case Jr.). Not much changed into a 1:28.3 third panel, however, those two rivals traded positions in the stretch while watching Nadeau score handily in 2:00.1.
Putnams Storm is owned, trained and was driven by Bob Nadeau, a Maine-based pre-fab concrete salesman. He paid $12.60 to win the 37th race of his career.
Smart Move (second), Age Is A Number (third) and Ima Tragedy N (fourth) advance to the $12,000 final on Saturday (Oct. 1).
The first $6,000 elimination of the Monsters of the Midway series #2 went to public choice Cash Crazy Express and driver Aaron Hall.
Leaving from post six, those two blasted out to the lead, set the tempo, and withstood mild pressure from a first-over Halliwell Hanover (John Nason) to trip the final timer in 2:01.1.
Trained by Mark Harris and owned by Gayle Harris, the 6-year-old Art Major mare paid $4.80 to pick up her 13th lifetime victory.
Halliwell Hanover (second), Dancin Hill (third) and Led Schneppelin (fourth) also advance to the $12,000 final.
The $5,000 Monsters of the Midway series #1 saw eight combatants test their mettle, with all finishers that entered advancing to the $10,000 final on Oct. 1.
As foreshadowed, that group was led, and ultimately defeated by, Grace Of Art. Driven to victory by Walter Case Jr., the 4-year-old Art Major mare overcame some traffic trouble at the half to score from off the pace in 1:59.
Owned and trained by Judson Merrill, she paid $3.00 to grab her eighth lifetime win.
Golden Tree (Andy Harrington) finished second; Belly Dancer (John Nason) was third.
Racing resumes Monday (Sept. 26). Post time is 1 p.m. for the remainder of the Fair meet, which runs through Sunday (Oct. 2).
Looking ahead, the Maine Breeders Stakes returns with the 3-year-old pacers on Wednesday (Sept. 28) and 3-year-old trotters the following day (Sept. 29), with four $60,000-plus divisional MSBS 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 at firsttrackscumberland.com and on our Facebook page: First Tracks Cumberland.