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Unbeaten Seeley Man headlines Festival of Champions Day at Scarborough Downs
Thursday, October 13, 2016 - by Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

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Scarborough, ME --- The Maine Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association and Scarborough Downs will present the annual Festival of Champions Day on Saturday (Oct. 15) with first post time slated for 1:30 p.m.

For the first and only time this season, all the top-rated 3-year-old Maine-bred racehorses will be gathered in one spot, on one day, as the championships of the Maine Sire Stakes program will be decided, and with nearly $370,000 in purse money on the line, Saturday will be the richest day in state of Maine harness racing this year.

Michael Newman photo
Seeley Man won the 2-year-old Maine Sire Stakes final during Festival of Champions Day in 2015.

Seeley Man, undefeated in 23 career starts, has been cast in the leading man role, as the sophomore gelding will attempt to add the 3-year-old championship trophy to last year’s freshman crown in an almost unheard of bid to sweep the table in the ultra-tough arena of Maine Sire Stakes competition.

“This is indeed a historic bid,” said Seeley Man’s breeder, Lynn-Marie Plouffe of Saco, Maine. “A horse may well have remained undefeated at some point during the 40-plus seasons of the Maine Sires Stakes program, but none have done it in recent years. It takes a special animal to pull off such an impressive feat and we are so proud that Seeley Man has represented our breeding farm in such gallant fashion.”

Seeley Man was born on March 3, 2013 at the picturesque Dupuis Farm in southern Maine and was trained to a perfect 11-for-11 race record by Gerald Smith for owner Florence O’Keefe as a 2-year-old. Retaining a share for herself, O’Keefe sold the budding star at the conclusion of that campaign to a partnership which includes Kevin Sywyk and the Ben, Bill and Will Stable.

The gelding has been effectively driven by Ron Cushing for trainer Heidi Gibbs throughout the 2016 season and has now amassed career earnings in excess of $133,000. A win on Saturday would push his seasonal earnings total to more than $100,000 -- an eye-popping tally for a horse raced almost exclusively in Maine.

The horses competing in these finals are bred, trained and stabled here in Maine, and have been competing in stakes races at the fairs and at tracks around the state all racing season. The top eight horses in each of the four divisions will vie for purses of $85,000 each, which are the largest in Maine horse racing history.

“We’re so excited to be hosting such an important event in Maine harness racing,” said Scarborough Downs owner Sharon Terry. “Our commitment has always been to support the farms, families, and fairs of Maine, and this event is exemplary of all of those things.”

The fall/winter meet will continue at the Downs through the first weekend of December with live harness racing featured weekly on a Thursday through Sunday schedule with a 1:30 p.m. (EDT) post time.

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