SKOWHEGAN — Wholly Louy has career winnings of nearly $900,000, and in the last six weeks, driver Gary Mosher has learned a lot about the horse’s versatility.

“He likes it better on the front,” Mosher said, “but he’s just as good racing from behind.”

Wholly Louy was probably going to win no matter what at the Walter H. Hight Invitational on Saturday at the Skowhegan State Fair. Wholly Louy came in riding a three-race winning streak and scored a convincing win in 1 minute, 53.3 seconds. Dream Well and driver Shane Taggart, who went off at nearly 18-to-1 odds, were a surprise second, and Mr Nice Guy was third in the strong five-horse field.

“He’s just a good horse,” Mosher said of the winner. “Got a lot of money and a lot of class. When he hits the racetrack, he knows what he’s got to do.”

Wholly Louy, which is owned by Michele Nelson of Temple, had recently won the $25,000 Paul Bunyan Invitational in Bangor with a charge on the final stretch. Mosher said he decided to get Wholly Louy “keyed up” to start as fast as possible.

“When I got to the gate, I see the 1 horse (Mr Nice Guy) was off the gate a little bit,” Mosher said. “I figured that he was the horse to beat. If I got three-quarters of the way around the horse on the inside, I figured I could get in front.”

Mosher was at the helm for Wholly Louy in each of the horse’s previous five starts. Wholly Louy won four of those five races.

Cactus Creek, who recently set the track record at Topsham and has career winnings of nearly $600,000, finished fifth. P H Supercam, whose career earnings of $79,422 were by far the lowest in the field, took fourth.

Walter Hight, grandson of the race’s namesake, predicted the first horse would hit the quarter pole at 26 seconds. Wholly Louy actually reached the quarter at 27.4, but wasn’t far off the track record of 152.3, set by Rodeo Du Ruisseau in the 2010 Hight Invitational.

“At the three-quarter pole, I did think I had a little shot at the record,” Mosher said. “But no one came alongside him to make him go a little faster.”

Wholly Louy was a 3-to-5 favorite and paid $3.20 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.20 to show. The exacta with Wholly Louy and Dream Well paid $81.80.

Mosher had a total of two wins, three second-place finishes and one third on Saturday. In the race before the Hight Invitational, Heath Campbell and Pembroke Dewey continued their streak. Pembroke Dewey has eight starts this year — all driven by Campbell, and all first-place finishes.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]
 

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