Home Front end Katahdin Mark returns to victory

Katahdin Mark returns to victory

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BANGOR, ME – Katahdine brand (lofty adventure) returned to form and maintained his high perch atop the Maine Breeders Stakes (MSBS) points standings with another harness racing win on Saturday (Sept. 17) at historic Bass Park in Bangor.

Katahdin Mark and driver coach Gary Hall (Shelley Gilpatrick Photo)

Scoring from the far post in the $18,489 MSBS 3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot, trainer/rider Gary Hall put Katahdin Mark where he likes to be – controlling the tempo up front. While setting aggressive opening fractions of 30, 101.1, Katahdin Mark seemed to have things his way with much of the field scattered following earlier errors in and around the first corner.

By the third stanza of 1:31.1, Katahdin Mark had two more lengths over the Chamorro (Drew Campbell/Valerie Grondin) and over 15 lengths over the rest of the field. As the pair turned home, Chamorro and Campbell started to gain on the leader and came within three quarter lengths at the wire, but the wire came too soon.

Earning his seventh seasonal start, Katahdin Mark scored in 2:01.1 for owners/breeders James and Betsey Kelley. He paid $3.00 to win. Chamorro finished second; Warriorofthevalley finished third.

The first no-bet race for the Maine-bred 3-year-old trotting fillies, vying for a purse of $18,736, had a very different complexion after four of the six entrants took breaks before the quarter pole.

When the dust settled, two of Valérie Grondin’s three trainees had their eyes on the prize with Pembroke Honcho (Aaron Hall) taking the lead from post four, followed by Pembroke Faye (Pembroke Slugger) and driver Heath Campbell who avoided traffic trouble and escaped second from post six.

Pembroke Faye (#6) and driver Heath Campbell defeat Pembroke Honcho (Shelley Gilpatrick Photo)

Honcho and Hall set a quick opening panel of 31 and were ahead by six at quarter pole. Squeezing the brakes resulted in a 1:03.1 halftime and saw stablemate Pembroke Faye close by 2-1/2 lengths. By the 1:34 third panel, Faye and Campbell were out and rolling while putting pressure on the leader.

Down the home stretch, the finishing push saw Pembroke Faye take the lead and win in 2:03.3 by three quarter lengths. It was a new lifetime mark and a first season win for the filly. Owned and bred by Bill Varney, this was only her fifth start of the year.

Pembroke Honcho finished second; Maplewood Slugger finished third.

Sunday’s (Sept. 18) Farmington program features two over $17,000 divisions of the Maine Breeders Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

The first no-bet event is a four-horse affair with Marc Tardif division leader Pickmepickme looking for his seventh win of the season. sHE was no worse than third in eight seasonal starts. It will be piloted by Andy Harrington. Post office time is 1:30 p.m.

The pari-mutuel card starts at 2 p.m., opening with a $17,989 MSBS companion event for 2-year-old frosh fillies. Katelyn’s Angel (Kevin Switzer Jr./Marc Tardif) was installed as the 2-1 favorite from post five. Having won half of her starts this year, she should manage this group quite easily at home.

South St Dottie (Dave Ingraham/Mike Graffam) won their last start at Windsor and were named the second choice 7-2. Janie (9-2, Mark Athearn/Gretchen Athearn) has finished second in half of her eight season outings and could add to the fray.

The Maine Breed Fair Race continues for three more days at the Franklin County Oval, with all dates carrying post hours to 2 p.m.

After Farmington, harness racing returns to the Cumberland Fairgrounds from September 28 to October 2 for eight days of pari-mutuel betting action. The 150e The annual Cumberland Fair and First Tracks host the Maine Breeders Stakes 2-Year-Old Finals on Saturday, October 1.

The final stop on the Pine Tree State Fairgrounds circuit is historic Fryeburg, Oct. 6-8. Maine’s sophomore finals return to Bangor for all MSBS 3-year-old division finals on October 15.

For more information on the Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes, follow our facebook page @MaineBreedersAssociation, or visit the State of Maine website at click here.

For complete results of races without wager, Click here.

For complete pari-mutuel race results, Click here.

by Chris Tully, for the Maine Breeders Stakes