SKOWHEGAN — Walter Hight says harness racing fans typically bet about $25,000 each year on the Walter H. Hight Invitational. This afternoon, bettors will be wagering on a total of five horses.

The field includes Mr Nice Guy, Wholly Louy, Dream Well, Cactus Creek, and P H Supercam. The purse is $12,000, with an extra $4,000 for breaking the track record of 1 minute, 52.3 seconds, set by Rodeo Du Ruisseau in winning the 2010 Hight Invitational.

Post time at Skowhegan Raceway is 1 p.m., and the Hight Invitational, which will begin at approximately 3:40 p.m., is the 11th race of a 12-race card at the Skowhegan State Fair.

“We usually try to keep it to five or six horses,” said Hight, the grandson of the race’s namesake. “If you get eight, it slows up the field. This quality of horse, it’s pretty hard to find eight around.”

Wholly Louy is the early favorite with 5-2 odds. Wholly Louy has won nine races in 24 starts so far this year, and both figures are tops among the five horses. Last month, Wholly Louy and driver Gary Mosher took first place at the Paul Bunyan Invitational in Bangor. Mosher, who has well over 5,000 wins in his career, will guide Wholly Louy again today.

Cactus Creek, who recently set the track record at Topsham, has won six races in 2012 and finished in the money a total of 11 times in 21 starts. That’s actually the lowest percentage in the field. Heath Campbell will be the driver.

Mr Nice Guy is coming off a victory at Topsham under the direction of Kevin Switzer, who earned his 3,000th career win earlier this year. Switzer will again be the driver for Mr Nice Guy.

Dream Well finished second to Mr Nice Guy in that race, and is the longshot of the field at 6-1 odds. Shane Taggart is the driver.

P H Supercam, which will be driven by Joey Mosher, has the fewest number of wins — three — in the field. But P H Supercam has finished in the money 11 times in 15 starts, which is the best percentage of the five entries.

Hight says the track will be fast, and he’s predicting the first horse will hit the quarter pole at 26 seconds.

“It’ll be a battle to the quarter,” Hight said. “Mr Nice Guy, Wholly Louy, Cactus Creek — they’re all going to want the front. The other two are capable, too. I’m just telling you the ones that are going to boil out of there.”

At the Paul Bunyan Invitational, Wholly Louy made a late move to sneak away with the win. Hight says the same strategy could work today.

“When they get in a big speed duel on the front end,” Hight said, “you can sit back and pick up all the pieces.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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