SKOWHEGAN — Saturday afternoon’s Walter H. Hight Invitational at the Skowhegan State Fair was the first time Heath Campbell ever drove Wheelaway. The only reason Campbell drove Wheelaway was because his brother, Drew, decided not to come to Skowhegan.

As it turned out, Drew’s decision worked out pretty well for both Heath and Wheelaway.

Campbell pushed Wheelaway from the back of the pack to the front over the final quarter mile, edging out a victory in the Skowhegan State Fair’s signature race. Wheelaway’s winning time in the mile long race was one minute, 53.4 seconds, two seconds off the track and state record set in last year’s Hight Invitational by Achilles Blue Chip (1:51.4).

Warrawee Nonsuch, driven by David Ingraham, was second. Pre-race favorite A Sweet Ride and driver Kevin Switzer, Jr., led for much of the race, and placed third. Wheelaway paid $18.80 for the win, while the trifecta was $307.

Wheelaway entered Saturday with seven wins in 23 starts this year, with his most victory coming Aug. 1 at Scarborough Downs. The Hight Invitational was a fast getting to know you for Campbell and Wheelaway

“I raced against (Wheelaway) a little bit in Scarborough when (Kevin Switzer) Junior was driving. The horse was real strong,” Campbell said. “I just didn’t know how good the horse was. I just figured I’d trip him out, and it worked out perfect.”

A Sweet Ride led from the start until the back stretch, when Campbell and Wheelaway made their move. After sitting in either fourth or fifth place in the five-horse field for most of the race, Campbell pushed wide to the outside, where Wheelaway made his move.

“Around the last turn, I had to fan out four wide, but after that, he did it all,” Campbell said.

Wheelaway appeared to cross the finish line ahead of Warrawee Nonsuch, but a photo finish was required to confirm the win.

Like Wheelaway, Warrawee Nonsuch fought from the back of the pack down the stretch, going from fourth at the three-quarter mark to second. Only The Lonely and Hail Bro rounded out the field.

It was Campbell’s best finish in the Hight Invitational since 2011, when he placed second with Doubleshotasccotch.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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