There’s a chance of rain at Saturday’s Walter H. Hight Invitational at the Skowhegan State Fair. Walter Hight, grandson of the race’s namesake, brushed off that forecast like it was a telemarketer trying to interrupt his lunch.

“That’ll go by us,” Hight said Friday afternoon. “Just showers, anyway. A little water is good for the track. It makes it faster — unless it turns to mud. This is just showers. It just rained harder than hell a minute ago. Didn’t hurt the track at all.”

The field for the Hight Invitational is set at five horses, with a total purse of $12,000. There’s also a $4,000 bonus if a horse breaks the track record of 1 minute, 52.3 seconds, set by Rodeo Du Ruisseau in 2010. Post time for the one-mile race is 3:24 p.m.

“I think we’ve got an excellent field,” Hight said. “The track’s fast, so I think there’s three or four in there could break the track record.”

Art of Illusion, with Kevin Switzer, Jr. driving, is the early favorite at 5-2. Art of Illusion has seven wins and has been in the money 10 times in 15 starts this year, including a win in the $10,000 Dirigo Pace Invitational in June. Art of Illusion also set a track record at Topsham with a time of 1:53.4 earlier this month.

Western Victory is at 7-2 odds. The horse, driven by Wallace Watson, has been in the money 11 times (five wins, three places, three shows) in 17 starts.

Achilles Blue Chip has the most starts (25) and the highest earnings ($46,301) this season of any horse in the field. He’s at 5-1 and is driven by Ron Cushing, who guided Late Nite Flight to a second-place finish at last year’s Hight Invitational.

The other horses in the field are Southern Swan (9-2 odds, six wins in 12 starts this year, Shawn Thayer driving), and Mr. Nice Guy (6-1 odds, three wins in 14 starts, Kim Ireland driving). Mr. Nice Guy previously held the Topsham record broken by Art of Illusion this year.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.