Day At The Track

Stars Align A gets first USA win at Pocono Downs

12:00 PM 16 Sep 2018 NZST
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Stars Align, harness racing
Stars Align in prior win in Australia
Harness Racing Victoria photo

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Stars Align A was able to steal off to a big lead by going in 26.4 down the backstretch in the $21,500 pacing feature Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, then held together to fend off the late-charging Music Is Art to win by ¾ of a length in a personal best 1:50.4

The victorious son of Art Major took advantage of post two in the field of seven and went to the front, where he was joined by his fellow 8-5 shot Bettor's Edge nearing the 26.3 quarter. Bettor's Edge went on to work up to command in front of the stands, but he took the second turn badly and slowed drastically, forcing the entire field around him just past the 55.4 half.

Driver Simon Allard got Stars Align A in high gear quickly past the trouble and to the lead, then tried to put as much distance as possible between his horse and the field, and had an advantage of four lengths at the 1:22.3 3/4s.

That lead shrunk on the far turn and through the stretch, with Music Is Art leading the charge, but Stars Align A had enough left to raise his U.S. win percentage to 50% after a pair of starts after going 15-for-29 (52%) before his recent importation. Simon's brother Rene conditions the winner of $152,313 for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, Bruce Soulsby, and Alan Weisenberg.

Rene Allard is Pocono's leading trainer; his driving counterpart, George Napolitano Jr., continued his incredible form on Saturday nights with eight victories on the card, including one with the American Ideal gelding Ideal Kiss in 1:50 to take the $20,000 claiming handicap pace co-feature. "George Nap" pointed Ideal Kiss towards the top, as he has in all of his four starts for trainer Hunter Oakes and the Northfork Racing Stable, and the pacer again showed "1"s all the way across his charted line, winning by 2¾ lengths.

Since being claimed by Oakes/Northfolk on August 11, Ideal Kiss has earned $40,000 by winning the high-level Pocono claim four starts in a row. He now has overall yearly earnings of $90,930, garnered mostly in his nine seasonal victories, and a $175,630 career bankroll.

From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

 

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