Farmington, ME — Kevin Switzer Jr. and Bruce Ranger, two of the leading teamsters along the New England harness circuit, dominated the action during the opening session of the 182nd year of racing at the Farmington Fair on Sunday (Sept. 17).
Ranger’s winning mounts included Kreacher (1:59-$6.80), who won for the third time from his last four starts; Respectable Dream (1:58.2-$5.60), who soared gate-to-wire to nab his 42nd career win; and Bush Man N (1:56.2-$6.20), who blazed to the fastest win time on the pari-mutuel program.
Switzer found success early in the card with Two Fold Cold (2:02.3-NB), who circled the field and then sprinted away to an imposing 11-length margin of victory in a $14,486 split of Maine Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts. The win was the fourth consecutive for the quickly improving son of Deuce Seelster.
Switzer’s next win may have been his least popular of the day as he wore down hometown favorite Gazitarena (Charlene Cushing) by a slight half-length margin at the wire with Jackson R Browne (1:58.3-$7.00). The Dalton Lee trainee was finally able to shake the bridesmaid blues after scoring minor on-the-board placings in each of his last five starts.
Kevin’s sister, Candace Brandstatter, provided the vehicle for him to complete his hat trick performance when she sent the classy veteran Chumlee A (2:00.1-$4.60) smartly to the post. The 12-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere promptly rollicked in gate-to-wire fashion while scoring the 55th win of his stellar career.
Switzer’s most impressive mount of the day was seen by the rail birds in the morning events though, as El Jacko N stunned the early fairground attendees with a dazzling qualifying mile timed in 1:54.4.
“That might be the fastest qualifying mile in state of Maine history,” remarked veteran race-caller Bill Ellis, who tuned in to view the simulcast from Massachusetts. “I doubt there are any records to verify this but I can’t recall anyone going faster in a prep.”
Trained by Candace Brandstatter, El Jacko N’s effort might well serve as a warmup for a possible appearance in Farmington’s closing day Invitational scheduled for Saturday (Sept. 23) but it certainly confirms the care and dedication of the Farmington Fair track crew who have created a sound and zippy strip on which to showcase state of Maine harness racing this week.
Harness racing will be featured every day except Thursday this week at Farmington Fair with post time slated daily at 2 p.m. (EDT).