by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts
Plainville, MA — Mitchell Cushing remains the hottest driver in Massachusetts, as he once again won six of the 12 races programmed at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 4).
His biggest score came in the final race of the day, when he steered Calvin B to a narrow victory in the $16,000 winners-over pacing feature. Calvin B got away seventh while Some Attitude (Nick Graffam) and Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) went toe-to-toe to the quarter in :26.1. Quick Shot took control in front of the stands, but Some Attitude came right back out, retook, and then continued to the half in :54.3. At that station, the outer flow was in motion with Kenrick N (Ron Cushing) first-up and Calvin B right behind him.
As the race rolled up the backstretch, Quick Shot called it a day and Kenrick N took a seat on the pegs behind Some Attitude. Calvin B was now second on the outside and advancing in 1:22.3. Calvin B drew even with Some Attitud,e while Major Leaguer (Jimmy Whittemore) and Major Bucks (Steve Nason) found racing room and were both making major moves. It became a mad dash down the lane, with Major Bucks and Calvin B eventually matching strides to the wire, where Calvin B got a nose in front in 1:52.
It was the ninth win of the year for Calvin B ($11.80) and it boosted his earnings to $79,020 for owner Dolores Smiel. Jimmy Nickerson trains the winner.
Cushing also won with Marc Et Master (1:55.1, $9.40), Shrinkwrap (1:53.3, $5.40), Wild West (1:52.2, $4.40), Betterlatethnnever (1:52.1, $4.20) and Lucky Sport (1:53.2, $4.40). Now boasting 95 wins for the meet, Cushing is just one win out of third place, held by Greg Merton with 96 tallies. Drew Campbell continues to lead with 132 and Shawn Gray is second with 101.
Jimmy Nickerson became Plainridge Park’s leading conditioner Thursday on the strength of four of Cushing’s wins (Wild West, Betterlatethnnever, Lucky Sport and Calvin B), moving into first place with 41 wins and ahead of Eric Beach and Elisha Lafreniere, who each have 39.
Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 8), featuring the second leg of the Massachusetts Sire Stakes for 2-year-olds of both gaits, where five divisions will vie for a total of $159,736 in purses. Post time is 2 p.m.