Ranger rules on Opening Day at Bangor Raceway

Bangor, ME — An enthusiastic crowd turned out to herald the return of harness racing to historic Bass Park on Sunday (May 1) and despite a chilly northern wind blowing over the infield, the action remained blazing hot throughout the afternoon.

Bet On Success scored the first win of the 2022 season at Bangor Raceway. Shelly Gilpatrick photo.

Bruce Ranger wasted little time in stating his case for top gun status as the veteran teamster scored early and often on the card. The man in red and gold proved a popular winner in the first race of the season, utilizing a perfect pocket sitting strategy to will Bet On Success ($3.40) home in the tightest of photos over his cousin Nick Graffam’s charge, Always A Gentleman.

Ranger next took advantage of a lightning fast track to test the speed of the Richard Bartlett trained Captain Nash in the $6,500 featured Winners Over class. Again sitting patient in the catbird seat, Ranger tracked the blazing fractions set by Pompano invader Rocksapatriot (David Ingraham) before speeding home through a back half of :56.1 to secure the one length margin. The final time of 1:54.2 was the fastest mile of the Opening Day program at Bangor.

Ranger’s hat trick was completed with a sterling gate-to-wire romp in the $6,000 first leg of the May Flowers Late Closing Series behind the 13-year-old veteran campaigner Ira Chief. The 1:56.2 score marked the 47th career victory for the son of Chief Silverheels, who is conditioned by another of Ranger’s cousins, Michael Graffam.

In other Opening Day news, drivers Matty Athearn and Dan Deslandes both nabbed driving doubles on the program with Deslandes leading all trainers with two tallies from his barn.

Owner Reginald Duguay’s horses were feted in the winner’s circle on three separate occasions with Captain Nash, Nagle, and Bo Master all tasting victory, while the streaking Oceanview Echo rampaged to her fourth consecutive score with Walter Case Jr. controlling the reins.

Bangor Raceway proudly features live harness racing every Wednesday at 3 p.m. (EDT) with the popular Sunday matinees getting underway at 12:15 p.m. Simulcast wagering is available Wednesday through Sunday from noon until 7 p.m.

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