“All good things must come to an end.” English poet Geoffrey Chaucer is credited with the original use of this idiom in the 1300s, which is commonly used as a proverb to remind us that nothing great will last forever. This aptly describes the 2023 winning streak of Marc Tardif’s Luke McGook, which was snapped at seven on Tuesday’, Aug. 29 in the $14,692 Maine Sire Stakes for three-year-old colts and geldings at Windsor Fair.
Held before the regular program, the race with five pacers lined up behind the starting gate with this season’s ‘chosen one,’ Luke McGook, scoring from pylon position. When the wings folded, regular pilot Kevin Switzer Jr. scooted out for control of the tempo and enjoyed setting relatively soft opening fractions of :30.1 and 1:02.1.
But Maine County Fair racing is not for the faint of heart as the drivers are always on the move in the tight turns and rapid rhythm of half-mile track harness racing. Walter Case Jr. had started his ascent for the lead instantly, as he was first-over from the ‘get-go’ with stablemate Anithingforyoudear. Matucci (Heath Campbell) sat comfortably in the two-hole, with Colt Bennett (Dave Ingraham) moving second-over with Casey’s cover at the half.
Around the five-eighths paddock turn, Switzer felt the pressure mounting, yet kept the pack bunched up behind him. Anithingforyoudear was now within a half-length of the leader at the 1:32.3 (:30.2) third panel, where Luke McGook was finally given the cue to increase the cadence.
Around the final turn, ‘Double-Digit’ Dave Ingraham smelled blood in the water and swooped Colt Bennett three-wide around the thundering herd. Gaining ground with every stride, while unleashing an uncompromising :28.3 final quarter, the prey became the predator and got up by a nose to win in 2:01.3 Anithingforyoudear finished third.
Colt Bennett is trained by David Crochere for owner Nancy Longobardi. The son of Rock N Roll World earned his third win from 16 seasonal starts. Having finished second to Luke McGook on five previous occasions, Colt Bennett lifted his 2023 earnings to $46,483 with the win. He was bred by Stephen O’Toole.
The Leighton Property-owned, Marc Tardif-trained Luke McGook has nothing to be ashamed of in being beaten by a nose. He is still the leading money-winning horse in the Maine Sire Stakes program this season and also has the most victories. Certainly the Tardif Taskforce will have Luke McGook back in harness and ready to redeem himself when the glamour boys meet again at Bangor on Sept. 6.