No horse in the Walter H. Hight Invitational came close to breaking the track record in last year’s race. This year’s race is full of contenders that could break the mark of 1;51.4, which also stands as the state record, set by Achilles Blue Chip in the 2014 Hight Invitational.

Four of the six horses in the field for this year’s race have either beaten or matched Achilles Blue Chip’s mark this year. Post time for the Hight Invitational at the Skowhegan State Fair is approximately 3:40 p.m. Saturday.

The weather forecast calls for temperatures around 80 degrees, with little to no chance of rain. The purse for the race is $10,000, with a $4,000 bonus for breaking the track record.

The favorite entering Saturday’s race is Escape The News, which will be driven by Ron Cushing. Escape The News has a top time this year of 1:49.1, two seconds better than the Skowhegan track and state record. In 25 starts, Escape The News has six wins, six places, and three shows, with earnings of $56,610. Escape The News placed second in the Paul Bunyan Invitational on July 22 at Bangor Raceway.

Last year, driver Heath Campbell took Wheelaway to the Hight Invitational win. On Saturday, Campbell is set to drive Bet You, which has run 1:51.2 this year. Bet You has seven wins in 17 starts, and was third in the Paul Bunyan Invitational.

A Sweet Ride has a best time of 1:51.1 this year, and will be driven by Jimmy Whittemore in the Hight. A Sweet Ride’s 17 starts this year include six wins. Northern Companion has run the track record, 1:51.4, this year. While that would make Northern Companion the fastest horse in many fields, in this year’s Hight, it’s fourth best. David Ingraham will be in the sulky with Northern Companion.

Rounding out the Hight Invitational field are Race Me Villa has four wins in 22 starts, and will be driven by Kevin Switzer, Jr. Race Me Villa has a top time of 1:52.0 this year. Ashton Seelster’s top time this year is 1:53.2, and have Mitchell Cushing in the sulky.

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