Windsor, ME –– Four $14,000-plus divisions of Maine Sire Stakes for trotters will open the historic Windsor Fair on Sunday (Aug. 27), with the 2- and 3-year-old divisions being contested before the regular card at 12:15 p.m. On the opening card, the legacy of the late Mike Andrew, a breeder and leader in Maine harness racing, continues to shine in the offspring he helped develop.
A pair of sophomore trotting events are highlighted by a pair of Ivan Davies-trained, Anita Anastosopoulos-owned horses that will look to keep their winning streaks alive, while racing in the memory of their breeder Mike Andrew.
In the opener Wild Ending looks to take her fourth Maine-sired event in a row, scoring from post six in the $14,850 3-year-old filly trot. Trained and driven by Ivan Davies, she is owned by Anita ‘Bunny’ Anastosopoulos-Andrew and was bred by her late husband Mike Andrew. To date, she has earned $36,704 in six seasonal starts.
Their other horse, Wabanaki, has the same owner-breeder while looking for his second consecutive win, and fourth of the season, in the $15,166 3-year-old colt and gelding trot. Now with six wins lifetime and $87,860 in career earnings, he hasn’t been off the board all season.
A force for good in harness racing, as well as the state of Maine, Mike Andrew was admired throughout the industry for his knowledge of Standardbred bloodlines and his commitment to the Pine Tree State program.
Over the decades Andrew bred and raised over 150 trotters, including award winners and champions like Obrigado and Rebuff. He was especially fond of his stallion Boy Band, who is the sire of these two leading sophomore trotters in the Maine program this season.
A Harvard Ph.D. and a distinguished professor at the University of New Hampshire, Andrew’s devotion to the sport led him to positions as commissioner of the Maine State Harness Racing Commission, and as president of the Maine Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association.
Prior to Professor Andrew’s passing in December, he made one plea to his widow: “Bunny, race the horses this summer…promise me.”
Perhaps it is divine intervention, or maybe these are the best of the bunch, one may never know. But ‘Bunny’ has carried out her beloved late husband’s wishes, and the horses have certainly responded.
Recent success notwithstanding, their owner is somewhat assuaged by their trips to the winner’s circle while she simultaneously processes her husband’s passing and packs up their 30 years of life together.
“I feel the inescapable depth of his loss every minute of every day but especially on every racetrack in Maine. He was a force, that love of mine,” Mrs. Andrew stated.
“I feel him at every race….in every corner of this old farm house…‘The Place’…in the quiet of the barns surrounded by the animals he loved so well. No matter where (these horses finish), they are a testament to his unwavering faith in the Maine Sire Stakes program and his dedication to the people and the horses in this business.”
She concluded with, “I miss him with every breath I take.”
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Chipper Dale leads the 2-year-old colt trotters in the $14,146 event, with trainer Valerie Grondin looking for her fifth win in a row with the son of Shake It Off Lindy. In addition, Grondin sits at 497 driving wins lifetime, and could add another with this horse.
My Saving Grace has only missed the board once this year for Team Athearn, and will look to add her fifth seasonal victory to her tally in the $14,367 2-year-old filly trot.
‘A family tradition since 1888’ boasts the Windsor (Maine) fair poster, featuring 50 acres of amusement and all the sights and sounds of an agricultural extravaganza. One of Maine’s oldest and largest agricultural fairs, the official fair opening is Sunday (Aug. 27) and runs through Labor Day (Sept. 4).
Maine Sire Stakes racing resumes at Windsor with two $14,000-plus divisions of 3-year-old filly pacers on Monday (Aug. 28) at 2:30 p.m. The action continues on Tuesday (Aug. 29) when the fair showcases their ‘glamour boy’ male counterparts, a.k.a. the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers.
For more information about the Maine Sire Stakes, follow their Facebook page @MaineBreedersAssociation, or go to their website: www.mainesirestakes.com.