Young horsemen bring new life to racing

4:28 PM, Sep 12, 2011   |    comments
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SCARBOROUGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Five youngdrivers are making an impact on Maine Standbred Racing and most think the sport is better for it.

The five all come from families that drove, trained or owned race horses.  To say the least, the sport is in their blood.

"It can be tough," said 21-year-old Andy Harrington. He recommends young drivers "be polite, speak to every you can and just be a gentleman more than anything." Harrington has eight wins in 131 starts this season.

Kevin Switzer Jr. has the advantage of being the son and namesake of one of Maine's leading drivers. He had 185 wins in 800 starts this year earning more than five-hundred thousand collars in purses.  The 24-year-old considers himself the old man of the group and chuckles that he's "seen everyone of them grow up."

Stevie Nason says that along with the drivers on the track, they have to race against their ancestors.  Steve is a fourth generation sulkey driver. "You always want to outdo the Nason before you.  It's always a good competition.  We always have fun.  It's a family sport."  The 21-year-old has 91 wins in 588 starts

Dan Deslandes says, "You gotta try to prove yourself and do the best you can with what you've got."  Deslandes cautions a young driver who tries to overdrive the horse and thus leave an owner without a check. The 19-year-old has won 18 times in 223 starts.

Ryan Hall came to the sport because of the excitment.  The 21-year-old says, "When you're out there, it's heart pounding and really adrenaline really exciting.

Racing has wrapped up at Scarborough Downs for the summer.  The five will hit the fair circuit in Oxford, Farmington, Cumberland and Fryeburg before returning to the Downs in late October. 

NEWS CENTER

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