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TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - This past week, harness racing driver Louis-Philip Roy and his girlfriend were moving from Quebec to Toronto. The 27-year-old Mont-Jolie native has taken the WEG (Woodbine Entertainment Group) harness racing circuit by storm since January. As of press time he is just four wins behind leading driver Doug McNair (85-81) as the racing now switches from Woodbine to Mohawk Raceway. Roy has won over $1 million in purses in just four months and has an impressive Universal Driving Rating of .330. It was just three years ago, that Roy, at age 24, was showing great promise on the Quebec Regional Fair circuit, then the following year advanced to become one of the top drivers at the Hippodrome 3R (H3R) track. It was last year that Roy emerged as a driving force. Not only did he lead all drivers at H3R but also won the driving title at Rideau-Carlton. In his breakout season, last year, Roy ended 2016 with 237 wins and $1,119,000 in purses won. He has already surpassed his record for purses won this year and has 110 total wins after just four months of driving. Then after his impressive track record performance in winning the Gold Cup and Saucer last August, he caught the eye of top trainer Rene Allard and now Roy is on top of the world driving for the Allard Stable in Toronto and he has picked up other top horses that he is winning with. "When the season started at H3R last year," Roy explained. "It was going so well in Rideau Carleton and I was just hoping that it will be the same in H3R. I didn't really care about becoming the driving leader or not, I just wanted to keep doing well and keep getting good horses to drive. "I didn't think it could be possible to be the driving leader at both places," Roy explained, "because of the Sundays where I often had to make a choice between H3R or Rideau, as I couldn't do all the races at both places." But Roy was determined because he was driven with a dream of becoming a full-time professional harness driver and the dream came true. Yet, last year he was not ready to give up his day job for harness racing. "In my mind, becoming a full-time harness driver was a dream," Roy said. "I was working in a way to realize it, but I also knew that it might be impossible too. That's why I didn't want to leave everything behind too early, I wanted to make sure that I could really do it." Moving to Toronto has become a big event for Roy, but he still has such strong ties to his home province of Quebec and says he will try and get back home to visit friends and family and to drive at the Hippodrome 3R. "I'd like to and plan to be at H3R first race day on April 23," Roy said. "I want to see all my friends there, and maybe I will get back some other special days to drive, like for the Quebec Series if possible and, of course, the Prix D'Ete." Who does Roy feel will "fill the gap" he will be leaving at H3R this season? "There are some very good young drivers competing at H3R," Roy said, "including last year's rising stars Jonathan Lachance and Pierre-Luc Roy (Roy's older brother), and in my mind, they only need good horses to drive to show their talent. "There are some drivers that started to race in Rideau Carleton in the last few weeks that can be H3R top drivers," Roy added, "but I don't know if they plan to race more in Rideau or H3R for the summer, like Stephane Brosseau, Jonathan Lachance and Stephane Gendron. "If they compete full time at 3R for the summer," Roy said, "I think they will be in the top standings. Guy Gagnon in my mind is also one of the best half-mile drivers, but I know that he usually come to H3R only on Tuesday. And maybe the title of leading driver could go to another Mont-Joli native guy, like Pascal Berube or Pierre-Luc Roy. "I also just heard that Richard Simard is going to be at H3R this season." Roy said. "And he is most certainly a top driver that will be in demand for his services." Roy says the adjustment to living and working in Toronto has gone very well. "I made some new friends in here," Roy explained. "I play golf and hockey with Doug McNair and James MacDonald. I'm also friends with Jody Jamieson even if he hates the Habs as I don't like the Leafs as much too." Roy joked. "My plan was to go to the Meadowlands for the winter," Roy said, "because I've seen there an opportunity with most of the regular drivers not being there, but if you asked me where I wanted to be among the top drivers between there and the WEG, I would say the WEG. "I just wished I could be there once in my life," Roy said about WEG, "but I never thought I would there in 2017! "I don't really care about money or milestones," Roy add, "My dream isn't to get rich, but to be able to live doing what I love to do and I love driving horses! Like they say, life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments! Roy will be kept very busy heading towards the summer with top racing at Mohawk and then on the Ontario Sire Stakes Circuit, but his heart lies in Quebec, where his career first started in 2008 when he had just 11 drives with two wins. He says that race fans need to check the race program at H3R as he could show up just any time during the season. "I'll come back," Roy said. "Just not every race day. I love racing at H3R, it's where my career took off from and I have so many friends there that I want to see and drive for." From the Quebec Jockey Club      

WILKES-BARRE PA - The blazing-hot brother team of harness racing driver Simon Allard and trainer Rene opened the Saturday night harness racing card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono with three victories and two seconds in the first five races, including taking recent stable addition Avenue Hanover, moving him up a notch, and still winning the co-featured $18,000 claiming handicap pace.   The victorious son of Cam's Card Shark sat the pocket behind favored Muscle Beachboy, going for his eighth straight win (and ironically, claimed after his victorious Allard debut last week), paced to the lead in the stretch, then held off the horse who had been behind him much of the way, Naked City, by a neck in 1:51.3.   The win by Avenue Hanover was the final in a consecutive Allard triple, while in the two seconds, the only driver finishing ahead of them was the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Rising Star award winner, Marcus Miller, with the opening victory behind One To Draw To resulting in a $65.60 win mutuel. Marcus was the leading sulkysitter at the mountain oval last year in the category of $50+ winners with ten, and though he says, "I'd rather be known as the King Of The Favorites than the King Of The Longshots," his talent for maximizing the talent of marginally-chanced horses shone through again.   The first race in which the Allard stable finished off the board all night was a co-featured $18,000 claiming pace restricted to 4- and 5-year-olds, which saw the Veeza gelding Next Success take his fourth straight success in 1:53.3. But the path to the winners circle was one seldom taken by a victorious horse: Next Success actually was fastest out of the gate for driver Jim Morrill Jr. but made a break, settling at the back of the pack after catching quickly (but still over 14 lengths out at the ¼).   Next Success certainly had the fractions go his way (54.4 first half, 58.4 second half), but he still had to rally five-wide on the far turn and through the lane, where his desire for his next success carried him to the line first in the last few steps for trainer Les Givens and the ownership of Henry Faragalli III, Nanticoke Racing Inc., and Bay Pond Racing Stable. (Final note: If Next Success is to make it five in a row in his next trip behind the gate, he'll be doing it for the Allard barn, who claimed the winner.)   The Sir Luck gelding Casimir Jitterbug, who boosted his lifetime bankroll over $960,000 with a victory in the $15,500 top conditioned pace, gave every indication that his achieving seven figures in career earnings is imminent, with much pacing prowess shown in his 1:50.4 win. Looped out of the gate, "Casimir" and driver George Napolitano Jr. jitterbugged to the lead at the quarter, fought off the first-over foe, and then drew away in the last quarter for trainer Andrew Harris and F Bellino and Sons LLC.   In the companion $15,500 trot, the Crazed gelding Andy Ray took a new mark of 1:53.3 for trainer Jim Campbell, the Runthetable Stables, and driver Marcus Miller in the second of the early "Marcus over Simon" contests. Skates N Plates skated swiftly to a 1:23.4 ¾ with a clear lead, but in the stretch he could not maintain his lead, and Andy Ray went by to post a 1¼ length victory over ABC Muscles Boy.   Featured during the Sunday night card at Pocono, which will begin at 7:30 p.m., will be the second preliminary round of the $750,000 Bobby Weiss Series for developing 4- and 5-year-olds. The pacers will be in the Sunday spotlight as they contest $15,000 purses, with four divisions of males and three of females set to provide plenty of competitive sulky action.   PHHA / Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Allard brothers, harness racing driver Simon and trainer Rene, boosted themselves to the top of the early-season horsemen's win total competition Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, visiting Victory Lane five times on the evening, including victories in both of the top conditioned events, one at each gait, with both winners now 2-for-2 on the year at Pocono.   Crafty Master, a son of Mister Big, went the fastest mile of the early season at Pocono, tallying in the $15,500 pace in 1:50.2, a new lifetime mark. Though aided by racing behind a fast first half of 54.2, Crafty Master still had to overcome the first-over trip, but he showed his continued top form by drawing off late, winning by 1½ lengths for the ownership of Allard Racing Inc., VIP Internet Stable LLC, and Lynn Denesha.   The Kadabra mare Swishnflick kept her local record perfect after a pair of starts, rallying off a pocket trip to catch pacesetting Skates N Plates by a half-length in 1:55.4 in the companion trot. Allard Racing Stable Inc. also owns this winner of $381,000+ among its winning quartet on the night.   Swishnflick   The other stable winner is ... um, was owned outright by Rene. His name is Muscle Beach Boy, whom Rene purchased after six straight wins in upstate New York and brought to the Downs; however, if the gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere is to make it eight straight visits to Victory Lane, it won't be for the Allards, as he was claimed out of his triumphant race in 1:53.2 at the mountain oval Saturday.   The very first race to take to the red clay oval raced for the highest bounty of the night, as high-level claiming pacers contested an $18,000 purse. The curtainraiser fell to Next Success, who recorded his second straight triumph at The Downs, and his third overall, this week leading at every call and holding off potential pocket rocket Baggage Claim in 1:53.1 for driver Jim Morrill Jr., trainer Les Givens, and the ownership team of Henry Faragalli III, Nanticoke Racing Inc., and Bay Pond Racing Stable.   Incidentally, Next Success's sire, Veeza, may not be particularly well-known, but few horses are better-bred: he's by champion sire Western Hanover, and his dam is Margie's Melody, the dam of the storied Nihilator.   Simon Allard had a two-win lead atop the drivers colony after his fifth sulky success, but no lead is safe at Pocono Downs with George Napolitano Jr. around, and indeed GNap won two races near the end of the card to join Allard as co-leading driver.   Tomorrow night (Sunday), the $750,000 Bobby Weiss Series for developing three- and four-year-olds starts its 2017 program, with the first of four $15,000 preliminary legs for pacers of each sex filling three divisions. The top moneywinners in the Weiss prelims come back in early May to contest $30,000 Weiss Series Championships.   PHHA / Pocono

YONKERS, N.Y. - Last October, harness racing trainer Rene Allard closed the deal on a racehorse he had been eyeing for a long time when he bought Keystone Velocity, a then 8-year-old son of Western Hanover with $487,252 in the bank who had just set a lifetime mark of 1:48.2. While he retained an interest in the pacer, Allard sought partners and approached VIP Stable’s Ed O’Connor. Expecting a consistent older pacer and a George Morton Levy Series prospect, O’Connor was surprised when he examined Keystone Velocity’s record. The stallion had just 82 starts and missed almost two years of racing; he won his final start of 2014 at Yonkers July 5 and resumed his career May 14, 2016 at Pocono Downs. “It was not what we were expecting,” he said. “I looked him up and he had been racing a while, but he missed a lot of time and for 8, he just didn’t have a lot of starts. I was assuming injury and kind of soured on him, but (Rene) said that wasn’t the issue.” Keystone Velocity was sound and hadn’t suffered any serious injuries. Instead, an ownership dispute kept him away from the races. The circumstances were unusual, but put O’Connor’s mind at ease. VIP Stable invested in Keystone Velocity, along with Kapildeo Singh and Earl Hill, Jr. “An expensive older horse is fine, but we were a little hesitant until we found out it wasn’t an injury,” O’Connor explained. “The fact that he had much less racing on him than his age indicated made us feel pretty good. He had been racing lights out at Pocono, he was training pretty fast. Rene was pretty sure that he could get around a half no problem. All the way around we were pretty happy with getting involved.” VIP Stable, one of harness racing’s most recognizable fractional ownership groups, sold their share of Keystone Velocity to a handful of partners, helping to make the dream of owning a stakes-caliber pacer affordable. “There’s nobody who walked in and handed us their last $5 and turned it into a lotto ticket, but everybody involved is pretty happy,” O’Connor joked. Offering horses like Keystone Velocity is critical to the success of VIP Stable, whose goal is to bring new owners into the sport and allow them to experience everything racehorse ownership has to offer while receiving expert advice without breaking the bank. “It’s probably the best advertising that a group like ours can get. We can go out and buy commercials at the tracks, on social media, or where ever and it doesn’t say as much about us as seeing horses of ours win big races like the Levy,” O’Connor explained. “We’ve done pretty well in past years racing in this event and this is one we’d really like to get some more cash out of. It’s pretty prestigious.” Keystone Velocity’s first start for his new owners came in the $250,000 Invitational Pace on Yonkers International Trot Day, where he finished seventh. He finished second in his next three outings, all in Open company at Yonkers, before closing the year with a hard-charging fourth place finish in the Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway. “Clearly it would have been nice to get the first victory right out of the gate, but we understood he was racing some big horses,” O’Connor reasoned. “He was racing really well and Rene was really happy with him. He looked at it as a good opportunity to give him just a little time off. Not that he was tired or anything, but to have him 100 percent ready for the Levy. That was the goal all along even when we first bought him.” Keystone Velocity started in the first round of the Levy Series March 18. After settling into third early, driver Dan Dube guided the stallion to the outside and brushed to the lead past the three-eighths pole. On a sloppy and tiring surface, Keystone Velocity finished fifth beaten 3 1/2 lengths. Still, his connections were impressed. “Keystone Velocity had to race really hard to get to the front. It’s not like he made an easy lead and faded,” O’Connor said. “He raced his guts out on a track that was really playing against speed horses and I think finished better than a lot of the horses who did get an easy lead, so we weren’t discouraged at all. We knew he was much, much better.” The second round of the Levy Series March 25 proved O’Connor right. While rival Bettor’s Edge set a reasonable pace, posting fractions of :27.3, :56.1, and 1:24.0, Keystone Velocity faced a first-over journey. He edged out of fourth with a half-mile to race and effortlessly glided within 2 lengths of the lead. Urged on by his driver and with the plugs out, Keystone Velocity turned into the stretch on even terms with the race’s longtime leader. Dube slapped his wheeldisk once, twice, then Keystone Velocity felt the whip on his back as he and Bettor’s Edge accelerated away from the field. Inside the final sixteenth, Keystone Velocity put his neck in front determinedly to defeat Bettor’s Edge. Dr. J Hanover finished third by another 3 1/2 lengths. Keystone Velocity stopped the clock in 1:51.3 and posted a :27.1 final quarter in his first victory for his new connections. “Last week, he was super. He went first-up at them and put in a huge back-half. That was a really nice mile. He’s good on the front end, but he’s done ok for us coming from behind,” O’Connor said. This week, Keystone Velocity is the 8/5 morning line division in the third of four $50,000 Levy splits Saturday night at Yonkers. Starting from the rail, he’ll face Provocativeprincen, Caviart Luca, and four other rivals. “I think he fits really well. There isn’t an easy spot in any of these, but he drew away from a couple of the other really nice ones. We’re just going to hope he can get out there, get a good position, and with any luck, be in front at the end. That would be super,” O’Connor said. “We’re hoping for the best, especially drawing the rail this week,” he continued. “If he can get a little bit of an easier trip this week, we think we’ll be in really good shape for the next couple of weeks and the final.” First post time at Yonkers is 7:10 p.m. Click here to view entries for Saturday’s card. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

TORONTO, March 30 - Driver Louis Philippe Roy dominated Thursday evening's harness racing card at Woodbine Racetrack by winning five of his seven drives. Roy, who has been cleaning up since joining the WEG Circuit this winter, teamed up with his pal Rene Allard for four of his five wins on Thursday's 10-race card. The dynamic duo captured the evening's first-race with trotter Win The Day, the fourth-race with pacer Now What Hanover, the sixth-race with pacer Julerica and the evening's final-race with pacing mare Olivias Way. Roy's other victory on the card came with Victor McMurren trainee Calgary Seelster in a Claiming Event. Entering Thursday's card, Roy sat second in the driver's standings with 61 victories. His five-win performance boosts him to 66 wins in 313 drives at Woodbine this season. Doug McNair currently leads all WEG drivers with 75 wins this season. As for Allard, his Thursday grand-slam gives him 47 wins this season at Woodbine, which is good enough for an 11-win lead over Richard Moreau in the WEG trainer's standings. Roy and Allard will team up again four-times on Friday evening's program. Post time Friday is 7:30 p.m.   Mark McKelvie

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 27, 2017 - Wrangler Magic (George Brennan, $16.60), who twice burned money as the harness racing favorite against less-talented lasses, was upon the money Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Unhurried from post position No. 5, 'Wrangler' saw a three-wide Empress Deo (Scott Zeron) pay a :26.3 price for the early lead. After a 56-second intermission, 9-5 choice Hidden Land (Brent Holland)-looped at the outset then stuffed into a four-hole-made her second move. She engaged Empress Deo in and out of a 1:24.4 three-quarters, with the eventual winner gapping from second-over. Empress Deo owned a tenuous lead entering the lane, A slow (:29.4) final quadrant 1:54.3 helped the field close ranks, with Wrangler Magic winning the scrum by a neck in 1:54.3. Motu Moonbeam N (Mark MacDonald), who had every chance up the inside from the pocket, was second, with a course-altering Set Me up (George Brennan), Empress Deo and Delightful Dragon (Matt Kakaley) settling for the minors as the payees were separated by a length-and-three-quarters at the finish. Hidden Land wound up sixth. For fourth choice Wrangler Magic, a now-5-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Kapildeo Singh, it was her first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $99.50, with the triple returning $341. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 8, 2017- Red Hot Herbie (Jason Bartlett, $10.80) sat an antsy pocket Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing season-opening, mile-and-a-quarter, $75,000 Open Handicap Trot. The added-distance feature was the first of seven 'French' forays during the 11-race card, going with a field of nine after an early defection. Put in play from post position No. 4, Red Hot Herbie made the first lead before yielding to the lass Tweet Me (Pat Lachance). That one did her business through modest early intervals of :29.4 and :59.1. After a soft 1:29.1 three-quarters, 'Herbie' wanted out. He extricated himself from the pocket, going by the leader right around the 1:57.3 mile marker and taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Red Hot Herbie held off Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) by a length-and-three-quarters in 2:27.3. Tweet Me stayed for third, with Money Maven (Andy Miller) and Kelsey's Keepsake (Joe Bongiorno) rounding out the payees. Not Afraid (Dan Dube) was a non-factor sixth as the 2-1 choice. For third choice Red Hot Herbie, a now-7-year-old Here Comes Herbie gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby and Edward Reppucci, it was a winning 2017 debut off a $160,000 season a year ago. The exacta paid $24.80, with the triple returning $129.50. Note that the return of the "New York, New York Double' was a scratch after Aqueduct cancelled its card. The wager is scheduled to make a '17 debut next Sunday (Jan. 15th). Also be advised Yonkers' early-season schedule is comprised of five nights (Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri/Sat) with a first post of 7:10 PM. The remaining January Sunday matinees (15th and 29th) are TBA as of this writing. Frank Drucker

Jason Bartlett and Rene Allard were once again Westchester's big cheeses, winning Yonkers Raceway's 2016 harness racing driver and trainer titles, respectively. The 235-program season (three postponements), which concluded this past Sunday (Dec. 18), saw Bartlett roll along to a sixth Yonkers title. The 35-year-old, originally from Augusta, ME, more than doubled Dan Dube, 576 wins to 287. Bartlett was also the busiest of the colony, leading with 2,336 drives (24.7 percent winning percentage) and more than $8.4 million in purses. George Brennan and Brian Sears wound up in a dead-heat for third with 284 wins each, though Sears did it with 583 fewer drivers. Jordan Stratton (247) rounded out the top five. Allard, a 29-year-old native of Quebec, sent out 233 winners, a dozen more than Tom Milici. Allard also led with 1,008 starters (23.1 percent winning percentage) and purses ($3.4 million). Richard Banca (180 wins), Jeffrey Bamond Jr. (98) and Ron Burke (90) completed the first quintet. The Raceway's 2017 season is set to begin with a Sunday (Jan. 8) matinee (post time TBA), pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. Frank Drucker

Tornado Tim trotted to a harness racing victory in Saratoga's feature open trot Sunday in a time of 1:56. The 9 year-old gelding is trained by Rene Allard and was driven to the win by Billy Dobson. Live racing resumes Friday with a post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella      

Québécois harness racing driver Louis-Philippe Roy has announced that he will be leaving the province of Quebec within a month to take on the best drivers in the world at the Meadowlands and Yonkers Racing. Roy hopes to follow in the footsteps of world-renowned drivers Yannick Gingras and Daniel Dube and make the big move from Quebec to the New York-New Jersey area. Roy, 28, hails from Mont-Joli, Quebec and is having a breakout career season. He is the current leading driver at two tracks in Canada, Rideau Carlton Raceway with 117 wins and also at the Hippodrome 3R with 57 wins. "Drivers Simon Allard and Yannick Gingras made me a pressing invitation in recent weeks to come and drive in the USA," Roy said. "So I will try my luck. I will try at the Meadowlands, specifically where there will be races on Fridays and Saturdays in the coming months and hopefully at Yonkers Raceway too. There are a lot of tracks in the area. "Yannick assured me that I would have horses to drive," Roy said, "and there is no one more connected that Yannick, that's for sure. It is not a blind leap of faith I am taking. "I do not know when I can start," Roy explained. "It will depend on the ease more or less of when I can get a temporary work permit. It is not so simple. It could come soon, maybe within a month or so, I am not sure, but I know it will come. I even told my current employer that this week would be my last, so you know I am taking this move seriously." Roy started driving harness horses professionally in 2008 on the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit. After seven years of learning the ropes he had a good season in 2015, winning 58 races and $166,000(US) in purses with the horses he drove. Many local owners, trainers and fans saw that Roy had exceptional talent driving and that has continued in 2016. Roy currently has 191 wins in 2016 and purses won at $656,000 (US), but most impressive is his Universal Driving Rating or batting average, which is at .424. Talented young harness racing drivers from the province of Quebec that have gone on to become world renowned drivers in the sport has been taking place for many years. The great driver Herve Filion, his brothers Yves and Henri Filion, Yves's son, Sylvain Filion, Michel Lachance, Yannick Gingras, Daniel Dube, Luc Ouellette, Gilles Gendron, Lucien Fontaine, Jimmy Larente, Gilles Lachance, Stephane Brouchard, Simon Allard and many more from Quebec have made their mark in harness racing in the USA. According to the world's top harness driver, Yannick Gingras, "I got to meet him (LPR) a little at 3R." Gingras said. "And he seems like a very nice guy with great hands. He sits "right" in the bike and he seems to have all the tools including a good head on his shoulders. "I talked to a few friends of mine at home about him," Gringras explained, "and everyone had nothing but good things to say about him. We have been in communication since the summer and I'm very happy he's making the move now. There's definitely a need for a new driver around here and I will do my best to help him achieve his goals the same way I was helped when I moved here." Roy was also influenced in his decision when he traveled to Prince Edward Island in August and won the prestigious Gold Cup and Saucer Final at Charlottetown Driving Park and recently was second with Yagonnakissmeornot in the $311,000 (CA) final of the Milton Stake for older pacing mares at Mohawk Raceway in Ontario. "Winning for Rene Allard in the Gold Cup and Saucer and being second for him in the Milton Stake helped me to get great visibility," Roy said, "and from there I told myself that it might be the right time to try it, but I thought about it before as how I want to spend my life in the future. "If I want to be a harness racing driver full time," Roy explained, "I got to go somewhere else because racing in Quebec and Ottawa makes it hard to earn a living without having another job then just driving. With Simon Allard and Yannick Gingras telling me that I should try it in the USA this winter, it convinced me to go for it." Daniel Delisle has been the track handicapper at the Hippodrome 3R for many years and had this to say about Louis-Philippe Roy. "I have had the privilege of witnessing the ascent in the world of harness racing of both Daniel Dube and Yannick Gingras," Delisle said, "who as Louis-Philippe Roy, made their professional debut at 3R and I must say that the progress of Louis-Philippe is equally phenomenal. It can only be successful in the USA and that's what all the world wants for him in Quebec. "One advantage is that he has is that he is a young man, simple and articulate," Delisle said. "and he has such natural ability which to succeed in this industry is a necessary asset. He will be missed by many in Quebec, but his future looks very bright in harness racing." By Steven Wolf, for the Hippodrome 3R

Classy harness racing veteran mare Yagonnakissmeornot (The Panderosa) made her return to Saratoga Casino Hotel on Friday night to compete in the $16,000 Fillies and Mares Open. The Rene Allard-trained distaffer romped in the local feature when she last came to town in August but the seven year old had a little bit more difficulty on Friday night. The race's 3-5 betting favorite, Yagonnakissmeornot made a methodical march to the early lead while pocketing So Nice (Mark Beckwith) before posting a first half of 56 seconds. The classy mare then paced through a final lap of matching 28.3 quarters en route to her win in 1:53.1. Facing a two-pronged challenge in the stretch from So Nice and last week's Open winner Truth And Liberty (Bruce Aldrich Jr), Yagonnakissmeornot held on to win by a nose to record her sixth victory of the year. So Nice was the runner up for the fifth consecutive time in the local Open while Truth And Liberty earned the show spot. With the win, Yagonnakissmeornot moved ever closer to the $1.5 million mark in career earnings. She was driven to the Open score by Billy Dobson who piloted four consecutive winners on the Friday card. Live racing continues on Saturday night with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Tornado Tim (Revenue S) made his local harness racing debut a winning one in Sunday's $16,000 Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Rene Allard-trained nine year old came from well off the pace in the feature after the favored Stirling Cadet (Frank Coppola Jr) posted sizzling early fractions on the front end. Sitting patiently towards the back of the pack during a first quarter of 26.4 and a half in 56.3, Tornado Tim and driver Billy Dobson swung three wide around the final turn before charging past their rivals to win in 1:54.4 on a chilly fall afternoon in the Spa City. Tornado Tim paid $9.40 while recording the mild upset in the Sunday Open and moved his career earnings to over the quarter million dollar mark with the victory. Just Make Believe (Jay Randall) finished second while Flyhawk Thriller (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot. The exacta and triple paid well with the odds-on favorite out of the number returning $134 and $594, respectively. Live racing continues on Monday afternoon at Saratoga with a Columbus Day matinee that begins at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Allard brothers - driver Simon and trainer Rene - had the spotlight for most Monday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but then hot-driving George Napolitano Jr. won three consecutive late races to get a share of the harness racing accolades.   Trainer Rene Allard plays the claiming game as well as anybody around, and indeed the trio of winners he conditioned, all driven by Simon, were in for a tag - Star Photo (who was claimed for $10,000), Kayla's Dream, and Yolo Hanover. Simon earned a fourth win in a catch-driving capacity for trainer Tom Wine II, defeating bottom-level conditioned pacers with B Well, posting the fastest clocking of the night at 1:52.2.   George Napolitano Jr., who has boosted himself back up to a familiar position - second to Aaron Merriman in the North American dashwinning derby, though some 125 wins behind - had been held in check during the first 11 races, but he then took the next three races with Divination (trainer Joe Pavia Jr.), Happy Andyversary (Peter Pellegrino), and Eye Ofa Tiger AS (Anette Lorentzon). The Monday triple gives "George Nap" twelve wins at The Downs on Saturday-Sunday-Monday, and 17 dating back to Friday afternoon at Harrah's, when he won his 8000th career race (he also raced Sunday there).   Seven of those 17 Napolitano wins came for trainer Chris Oakes; they did not team for a success tonight, but Oakes did add to his outstanding recent scorecard by winning with Love That Badlands, driven by Eric Goodell. Oakes is in the Top Ten in three categories among North American trainers - wins (sixth), money (eighth), and UTR with 500+ starts (second).   Both Oakes and Napolitano lead Pocono in their respective percentage categories; Napolitano has almost double the wins of his brother Anthony, who is second in the dash chase, while Oakes's recent hot streak has given him a separation of ten winners from Rene Allard, with Ron Burke also in the thick of the hunt.   PHHA / Pocono  

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - YS Lotus overtook his stablemate and fellow trial winner Go Daddy Go down the backstretch and paced away to a 1:50.1 record victory in the 57th edition of the $60,000 Sobey's Gold Cup & Saucer to close out the Saturday, August 20 card just after midnight at Red Shores at Charlottetown Driving Park. Driver Louis-Philippe Roy and YS Lotus gave trainer Rene Allard his second victory in P.E.I.'s signature race while Go Daddy Go and Brad Forward completed a sweep of the top-two spots for owner Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation, Que. YS Lotus lowered the 1:50.3 all-age track record set by the Allard-trained Crombie A during last year's Gold Cup & Saucer trials. The time of the mile also equalled the Canadian record for older pacers on a half-mile track, which was established by Rockin Ron in this year's Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs. To read the rest of story click here.  

Idealbeach Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere) prevailed in the local harness racing Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel for the first time on Saturday night as the Rene Allard-trained pacer toughed out a first over journey. Hall of Fame reinsman Wally Hennessey piloted the five year old in the $15,000 Open Pace and after leaving for position moved Idealbeach Hanover first over on longshot leader Spinarama (Austin Siegelman). Idealbeach Hanover wore that one down but the backfield was in motion late as the race's favorite Givenupdreaming (Stephane Bouchard) and longshot Mc Rusty (Mark Beckwith) came charging at him in the final strides. Idealbeach Hanover held on to win in 1:52.4 while Givenupdreaming came up second best and Mc Rusty earned the show spot. Idealbeach Hanover, whose victory was his seventh of the season, paid $8.20 to win in the Saturday feature. The exacta returned $19 while the triple came back $132.50. Live racing resumes on Tuesday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella

Charlottetown, PE - Ys Lotus, under the command of Marc Campbell, won the Saturday night harness racing feature in a dazzling 1:52.4 at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Campbell hustled the Governor's Plate champion to the front touching down past the opening quarter in 27.2 and continued to his torrid pace past the half in 56.1 with the third station clocked at 1:24.2. The Rene Allard trainee won by seven lengths over Forever Paradise (Michael McGuigan) while Machinthesand (Ken Murphy) completed the triactor. Ys Lotus is owned by Yves Sarrazin, La Presentation, QC. Jackie Matheson had a big night at the track. The Charlottetown trainer sent out four winners on the program. Team Matheson, Jackie, Jody Lynn and Ron, began the win parade with Hornswoggle in 1:59.1 while Van Zant captured the Eleanor Roberts memorial in 1:59.2. Matheson teamed up with owner Bradford Duplisea with Santiago Style, co-owned by Chad Taylor, in an impressive 1:55.4 with Mozartsplace notching the quadruple for the stable for Duplisea and co-owner Shawn McAdam, Charlottetown, PE. Oh To Be Me (Gary Chappell) closed hard to catch Doing Some Damage in deep stretch to win the Drive for Charity pace. Businesses and their charities were in attendance at the historic judge's stand for the presentation to the winner. Campbell, Ron Matheson, Gilles Barrieau and Kenny Arsenault had driving doubles on the night. The wager was $46,383. For complete results go to www.redshores.ca By Lee Drake

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