So Rock N’ Roll extends win streak at Cumberland

Cumberland, ME – Open pacer So Rock N’ Roll continued his winning ways at Cumberland on Saturday (June 22), extending his current win streak to six in the process.

Maine-bred So Rock N’ Roll (Bruce Ranger) won his sixth race in a row on Saturday at Cumberland. Joe Shaw photo.

From New England to Monticello and back, the Maine-sired son of Western Maverick has not been off the board since January at the Meadowlands. Since that time, the Benson Merrill-trained 4-year-old has rattled off eight wins in nine starts. Prior to Saturday, he had won the $8,000 Open at Monticello for three straight weeks with McGuire Sowers in the bike. Subsequently, he was given his walking papers and sent back to Maine.

Bruce Ranger got the call from the assigned seven hole, where they got away fourth, allowing Rocksapatriot (Dave Ingraham, 11-1) to call the shots through a :28.3 opening panel. Instant Replay (Walter Case Jr., 6-5) sat in a loose pocket while Ranger tipped the proud son of the Pine Tree State first over going into a :58.4 modest half.

By the time the seasoned sidesteppers hit the 1:26.2 third panel, So Rock N’ Roll was neck and neck with the pacesetter Rocksapatriot. The pair battled stride for stride around the final turn and down through the length of the stretch. With a slightly faster grind, the even-money favorite was able to get up by half a length to prevail in 1:55, equaling his seasonal best.

Owned by Leighton Property and bred by Lesley Leighton it was the 19th win of his career, pushing his lifetime bankroll to $283,541. He paid $4.20 to win.

Instant Replay hung on to be third.

A lone $5,000 division of the Maine Amateur Driving Club saw leading point earner Hunter Lofthus also continue his reign of terror, winning in a wire-to-wire romp with Lisa Watson’s Jo Pa’s Sweet Lou. Scoring from post six, ‘Hot Lead’ Lofthus put the 8-year-old son of Sweet Lou right on the point and never looked back.

Several would-be challengers came and went throughout the course of the mile, but Lofthus kept all of them in his wake and strolled home to victory in 1:58.3. They paid $12 to win. Southern Winds (Todd Whitney) finished second; Furious Beach (Mike Girouard) was third. The MADC is sponsored by the Blue Seal Feed Stores of North Yarmouth and Windham, Maine.

Lofthus started a trend, which some may call a ‘punters paradise’ as the next four races all enjoyed double-digit win payouts. Then, Garret Mosher drove Gardys Legacy A (1:57.2) to a $31 upset in race nine, and Wally Watson scored with local favorite Airspinder (1:56.1) paying $44.80 in race 10.

Drivers Aaron Hall and Bruce Ranger each picked up a pair of victories on the 12-race card.

In the early Learn and Earn 2-year-old events, John Nason cruised to a 12-1/2 length victory in the opener with Marvin’s Choice in 2:06.3. The son of Jug winner Courtly Choice (NY) is owned by Carolyn Corso and Katharine Nason and was bred by Winbak Farm.

In the second non-betting race, Kim Ireland also cut the fractions with Joyous Spirit to win in 2:17.2. The daughter of sub-1:50 trotter Six Pack (NJ) is owned by Dennis and Deborah Foss and was bred by Mike Andrew.

In the third event, John Nason rolled to another front-end victory with Ridgecrest Dan in 2:04. The son of Adios winner Dude’s The Man (ME) is owned by Bill ‘Yarmouth Lumber’ Phipps and was bred by Jason Vafiades. The Tardiff Taskforce picked up many of the remaining spots with their pupils finishing second, third, fourth and sixth in that event.

The final race was captured by Katahdin Victor in 2:08.1, which was more impressive than it sounds. Following a miscue at the start, driver Wally Watson regrouped and was back more than 15 lengths at the quarter pole. First over and back 8-1/2 at the half, the trotter had assumed command by the third panel, and went on to win handily by a length. Trained by Lisa Watson for owner-breeder James and Betsey Kelley, the gelded son of Victor Blue Chip (ME) looks like he actually trotted in 2:05 and a piece to make up all that lost real estate.

Racing resumes at Cumberland on Friday (June 28) at 3:15 p.m.

The First Tracks Cumberland meet continues throughout the summer months with regular racing on Friday and Saturday each weekend during the extended pari-mutuel meeting, which runs through Aug. 3.

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