BANGOR, Maine —The 22nd annual Paul Bunyan Classic returns to historic Bangor Raceway on Monday.
The Bunyan is New England’s oldest continuous harness race of the year.
“This race has consistently featured the fastest horses available and has set many track and statewide speed records during its two-decade-plus history,” said Michael Hopkins, manager of racing operations at Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway. “The field is impressive and the track conditions are perfect, which will result in an amazing — and perhaps record setting — day of racing on Monday.”
This year, two elimination races were held to determine the finalists for the finals on Monday and a $25,000 purse. The elimination races were held at Bangor Raceway and at its sister track, Plainridge Park in Massachusetts.
Finalists include the winner of the Bangor prelim, A Sweet Ride, a 6-year-old owned by Philip McKenzie of Saco, and trained to six wins this year by Jamie Gerard. A Sweet Ride can boast the fastest winning time in a race of 1 minute, 49.4 seconds.
The winner of the Plainridge prelim and likely race-time favorite is Calvin B, a 5-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight, owned by John Smiel of Rutland, Vermont, and trained by Heidi Rohr. Calvin B won his prelim in 1:50.2, the fastest of his career.
Western Victory, a 7-year-old owned by Joel Wheeler and trained by Wallace Watson, will add prestige to the field as the defending Bunyan champion, winning last year’s event in 1:54.1.
Other horses in the field include: Hall Bro, a 4-year-old owned by Joseph Trice of Hampden and trained by Ron Cushing; Only the Lonely, a 5-year-old owned by David MacDonald of Halifax, Nova Scotia and trained by Bo Sowers; Twin B Spy, a 4-year-old owned by Michelle Nelson of Temple and trained by her husband Joseph; and Denver Dolly, a 7-year-old owned by Alfred Ross of South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and trained by Jim Hardy.
Post time in Bangor is 5 p.m., with the Bunyan Classic going off as the fourth race, about 6 p.m.
Tuesday will be the final day of racing in Bangor before breaking for the fair season. Racing will return for special race dates on Aug. 12-13 and Sept. 14-15 before returning with a full fall slate of racing Oct. 5 through Nov. 16.
Admission to the grandstand is free.