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WILKES-BARRE PA - Not too many horses come from seventh heading into the final turn to win at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono (most horses don't win from further back than third at the ¾ here), but the Real Desire mare Eclipse Me N turned the last-to-first trick on Tuesday night, taking the $14,000 feature for fast-class distaff pacers. Driver Simon Allard didn't hurry the winner until the far turn, when he swung her out and kept angling until four-wide headstretch. Still sixth, some four lengths back, in midstretch, Eclipse Me N kicked with an explosive last 1/16 to deny the Pocono Pike-shooting Albany Girl by a neck while lowering her mark to 1:51.2, coming her own last quarter in 27.1, with pacesetting Filly Forty Seven another half-length back. Rene Allard, at the top rung among winners in the Downs' conditioning community, trains the fleet mare for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae. There were a quartet of $15,000 contests of the "nw 4 races" variety, two on each gait. On the pace, Happy Trio, a son of Mach Three, rallied from second-over in 54.3 - 27.1 to hold off the horse on his back, Street Boy, by a nose in 1:53.2 or driver Marcus Miller, trainer Tony OSullivan, and Osullivan Racing Inc., while the Rock N Roll Hanover gelding Rock N Blue made a second move to the lead down the back, then turned back off Scholz by a half-length in a 1:52.1 mile for driver Austin Siegelman, trainer Travis Alexander, and owner John Cummins. On the trotting side, Lucky Matter, a son of Explosive Matter, set the pace and lowered his mark to 1:54.2 for driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Beaver, the latter co-owner with Synerco Ventures Inc. and David Lang, and then the Deweycheatumnhowe mare Northern Courtney, luckless at The Downs so far this year, put it all together Tuesday, leading most of the way n a 1:55.2 triumph for driver Simon Allard, trainer/brother Rene, and the ownership of Allard Racing Inc. and Lawrence Dumain. PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - Driver Mike Simons, known as the "Pocono Trot Man" because of his success rate with horses of the diamondgaited variety, guided two of the three divisional winners in the $15,000 first prelim of the Bobby Weiss Series for trotting distaffs Tuesday night over a sloppy surface at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Myrna Myrna, who had found her form at The Meadows for trainer Scott Betts as 2017 changed to 2018, made her first start in 2½ months a successful one, winning her division in a career best 1:57.4 with Simons sulkysitting. Despite having to go first-over into a 57.3 back half, Myrna Myrna was able to draw away by 2¼ lengths over Girl Crush, who raced well in her career debut. The victorious four-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven looms a major factor in the series for owner Timothy Betts. "The Trot Man" also had to go the uncovered route with the Donato Hanover filly Ms American Muscle, making her 2018 bow, in the second cut, but the raw challenger was able to outmuscle pacesetting Baby Wants home by ¾ of a length while lowering her mark 2 3/5 seconds to 1:59.2 for Simons, trainer Jenny Melander, and owner John Devito. The third section proved a tough stretch battle between a pair of 7-5 shots, pacesetting Miss Ruby and pocket-to-Pocono Pike challenger Via Lattea IT - who not only was making her stateside debut, but also doubled trainer Ã…ke Svanstedt's collection of white horses to two (White Bliss). Via Lattea IT had had five months away from the races before Tuesday's outing, and she just failed to overhaul the Cantab Hall four-year-old mare Miss Ruby by a head at the end of a 1:59.2 mile. Simon Allard was in the sulky behind the winner for trainer Kelvin Harrison and the Spaaaartners (four a's - we double-checked) ownership. In the $14,000 co-feature for distaff pacers, trainer Brianne Good scored her first-ever Pocono victory, and the third of her four-month conditioning career, when driver Jim Taggart Jr. was able to rally the Well Said mare Shutthefrontdoor from last at the half to win in 1:54 and light up the tote board at $51.80. The victorious mare, owned by Guy Beaulieu and Richard Villenueve, came her last half in just a shade over 55 and won going away by two lengths. Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Team Allard continued its torrid form on Wednesday in the third and final "winter training" session before Saturday's 2018 opening night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with harness racing trainer Rene, winner of four of the last five conditioning crowns here, sending out six winners to run his three-card count to 14, with brother/driver Simon behind all six of his brother's winners and also crossing the wire first twice for trainer Pierre Paradis for an 8-bagger and 16 wins (in the overall 33 pre-season qualies). Fastest of thirteen winners Wednesday, conducted in temperatures that crept up to freezing by midcard, was the intriguing Art Dancer, home first in 1:54.1 for driver Marcus Miller and trainer Mark Harder. The three-year-old altered son of A Rocknroll Dance won his only start at age two, a 1:53.4 victory in July, but he showed no signs of the big layoff as Miller pulled him out past the half, and the pair came home in 56.2 to be clear of the competition. Tomorrow (Thursday) The Downs will hold a press conference at noon, spotlighting the highlights of the 2018 season, the biggest of which will be October 27's $6M Breeders Crown Championship night, which will find the top horses advancing from the previous week's eliminations aiming for the big money and year-end honors in their various divisions. Then on Saturday comes the opening card of the 2018 season at the mountain oval, with the first of 14 races slotted for 7 p.m. The Napolitano brothers, Anthony and George, are each favored to guide home a winner in four of the contests, with Simon Allard tabbed the likely chalk twice. PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - The evergreen pacer Keystone Velocity, recently the recipient of the Older Pacing Horse of the Year award at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch banquet, gave no indication of slowing down Tuesday morning as his age moves into double digits. The 10-year-old son of Western Hanover was the fastest winner in a dozen qualifying races during the season's first a.m. session at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, posting a snappy 1:52.1 victory. Driver Simon Allard, sulkysitting for brother/trainer Rene, was out past the 28.1 quarter to get the lead, then went on to the half in 57.1. A 27 sprint down the back saw Allard and "Velocity" open up an eight-length lead, and the pair were unchallenged to the wire. The 2017 champion in Yonkers' Levy Pacing Series, Keystone Velocity looks ready to mount a vigorous defense of the title when the Levy action starts on Saturday, March 17 (ironically, the same night as Pocono starts its 2018 pari-mutuel campaign). Les freres Allard combined for three victories over the dozen qualifiers, topped only in the horsemen's ranks by driver Matt Kakaley, who crossed the wire first four times. Kalaley handled the day's other sub-1:55 winner in the day's first race, with I Said Diamonds showing no apparent rust after a layoff of nearly seven months with a 1:54.4 triumph (in 32o temperatures; the mercury had warmed to 40o when Keystone Velocity won), and he also guided the fastest trotting winner, Ontheroad De Vie, who posted his fastest winning time ever of 1:56.3. There will be another session of qualifying at Pocono on Thursday, and then the track will revert to its usual "qualie" schedule of weekly Wednesday sessions. As noted, Opening Night for the 2018 pari-mutuel season at the mountain oval is Saturday the 17th, with the first draw to be held on Monday the 12th (despite what you may have read elsewhere). The Downs will gradually add cards per week as the horse population increases, and plans to have its first "regular" racing week of Saturday-Sunday-Monday-Tuesday in early April. Post time for all non-special event cards at Pocono this year will be at 7 p.m. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Harness racing drivers Simon Allard and Brett Miller had the hot hands on a cold night at the Meadowlands Friday, ringing up three winners each on the 11-race card. Allard struck in the third race with Show Me Up ($6.20 to win) in 1:53.2 and Cousin Mary ($4.40) in the seventh in 1:53.1. Allard then put big smiles on his fans' faces as 23-1 chance Spilling The Beans ($48.40) made a big move down the backstretch and won the ninth for fun in 1:52.2. Miller got his three-bagger started with a pair of trotters - Watkins ($10.60) in the sixth in 1:54.3 and Lauderdale ($15.80) in the eighth in 1:54.4 - before capping his night with Youda Shark ($4.20) in the 11th in 1:54. Jim Marohn Jr. and Corey Callahan each recorded driving doubles, meaning that the foursome accounted for 10 of the 11 winners on the program. A LITTLE MORE: There were three winning tickets in the 20 Cent Survivor Pick 10, with those going eight-for-10 cashing in for $5,135.66. ... The Late 20 Cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unhit, increasing the carryover to $39,701.14. ... All-source wagering on the program totaled $1,793,170. ... Racing resumes at the Meadowlands Saturday night with a first race post time of 7:15 p.m. ... Through the end of December, the Big M will conduct live racing on a Thursday through Saturday basis. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

WILKES-BARRE PA--The brothers Allard, driver Simon and trainer Rene, kept their harness racing hot streak at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono going on Sunday, with both picking up his fourth victory of the night when Smalltownthrowdown reduced his mark to 1:53 while defeated favored Centurion ATM in the $20,500 trotting feature. The gelded son of Cash Hall is now four-for-four since coming to Pocono, here performing pocket rocket heroics while lowering his mark, taken last week, by 4/5 of a second for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, VIP Internet Stables LLC, and Bruce Soulsby. An hour earlier, the Rene-trained Keystone Velocity, whom Simon had driven to victory in the Ben Franklin Championship here in early summer, lowered the all-time track record at Rosecroft to 1:47.3 in winning the $100,000 Potomac Pace. Dan Dube handled sulky honors at the D.C.-area track behind Keystone Velocity, who also set a new lifetime mark. As to the team behind the longest-priced winner of the night at press time - c'mon, do you have to even ask at this point? Uknow What To Do knew what to do to overcome post nine in the card's opener, returning $52.80 for a $2 win bet for the Allard faithful. PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Rocknroll Hanover mare Tipitina found just the right level of competition on Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as she triumphed in a lifetime best of 1:51.3 over "sloppy" going in the $14,000 harness racing featured distaff pace. Tipitina had faced better in her last four starts, finishing second twice, but the last time she was below the level of her recent outings, she had gone wire-to-wire at Saratoga in her previous best of 1:51.4. And with tonight's class relief, Tipitina again showed frontstepping winning ways, putting up numbers of 27.3, 55, and 1:22.3, then gamely holding off the late charge of 26-1 shot Bettorhaveanother by a head, while reducing that Saratoga clocking by a tick. Simon Allard guided the winner of $385,959 for trainer/brother Rene Allard and the ownership of Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and VIP Internet Stable LLC. Tipitina returned $5.60 as the public's choice. PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - Characteristic driving tactics by the two leading harness racing drivers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono - George Napolitano Jr. and Simon Allard - were directly responsible for the success of their charges in the features at the mountain track Sunday night. Racing secretary Rick Kane carded a 5/8-mile dash, and in it the two inside horses left on the boil, forcing Napolitano and his charge, favored UF Larry Alltheway, to tuck third. "George Nap" is noted for making "quarter-moves" en route to Pocono victories, and here again he pulled out after a quarter of a mile - only in this sprint the "quarter pole" was in the middle of the backstretch. The pair went up to challenge to 48-1 pacesetter Happy New Year (Tom Jackson), who had used track geometry to the max to leave from the rail and set fractions of 27.3 and 55.1, but the Dragon Again gelding UF Larry Alltheway, trained by Mark Ford for Up Front Racing LLC, gradually wore Happy Andyversary down under Napolitano rocking and urging to win by a length. The timer rested at 1:09.3 for the sprint, playing "Taps" to the oldest track record on the Pocono books, the 1:14.3 posted by the well-remembered Lieut Harkie back in 1979. Ironically, at the microphone for the Lieutenant's record effort way back when was Saul Needle - whom Kane succeeded as Pocono race secretary upon Needle's retirement after the 2010 racing season. This year Simon Allard's driving has been notable for his "pulling out" with horses early, with his ability to produce and carry speed yielding better results than one might expect for a horse two-wide or more for so long. This style was exemplified in the $20,000 featured trot, when Allard got away seventh with 22-1 Tirade Hanover, then pulled him at the quarter and revved him up to go frontward -- even with a dislodged left headpole! On the lead after a 27 quarter was 2-5 shot Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller), fresh from a 1:51.4 divisional track record mile at Philly, but Allard got Tirade Hanover right by the chalk and to the front before the 55.4 half, probably coming his own second quarter in the mid-27s. From there the victorious Crazed gelding was in charge, reaching the ¾ pole in 1:24, and then resisting a Pocono Pike charge by Opulent Yankee to win by 1¾ lengths in 1:52.4. The winner of $809,956 is owned by Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and VIP Internet Stable LLC, and while it certainly is not our place to give any advice to Rene Allard, Tirade Hanover's trainer and second-leading trainer in North America - based on the evidence of this race, he might want to experiment with leaving that left headpole off. PHHA / Pocono

TROS-RIVIERES, Quebec - In a dramatic head and head battle from after the half mile until the finish, Wildriverbumblebee was able to be parked out the last half mile and still collar and defeat a determined C L Sportaction to highlight the Breeders Cup Series at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday. It was the third race on the program, the first of four divisions of the second round of the C$220,000 Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies. It was C L Sportaction and driver Jonathan Lachance who controlled the pace from the start in trying for their third straight win and sixth triumph in just eight starts this year. He cut the mile to the opening quarter in :27.1 with Western Phil (Pascal Berube) sitting on their backs while Wildriverbumblebee and driver Stephane Brosseau sat patiently in third place. Then to the half mile, Lachance was able to back it down to a :30 quarter in :57.1 and that forced Brosseau to come first-over with Wildriverbumblebee. By the backstretch these two horses were neck and neck to the three-quarters in 1:26.2. Around the final turn, Wildriverbumblebee was not to be denied and coming down the stretch they caught C L Sportaction and won by three-quarters of a length in 1:56.1. Noplay (Stephane Poulout) was able to close well to be third. Now undefeated in two starts this year, Wildriverbumblebee is trained by Francis Richard for breeder and owner, Dr. John Bradbury of Cookshire-Eaton. The son of Sportswriter paid $4.30 to win as the second choice in the race. He was the Futures Stars Series champion last year. Then another classic race took place in the fifth, the first division of the series for three-year-old pacing fillies. YS Tallia and driver Simon Allard were the overwhelming 1/5 wagering favorite, coming into the race off a lifetime best 1:51.4 victory in the $50,000 consolation race of the James M Lynch Memorial at Pocono Downs. They were facing the 8/5 second choice, Yaris Bayama and trainer/driver Yves Filion. She won $231,000 last year but was winless in four starts this year but showed good lines in finishing second twice in stakes events. It was Canadian Hall of Famer, Yves Filion, who went right to the early lead with Yaris Bayama as Simon Allard settled into the two-hole with YS Tallia to the opening quarter mile in :28. Then to the half mile in :58 with no one attempting to come first-over. In the backstretch it looked as if Allard would challenge Yaris Bayama with YS Tallia, but they elected to stay in the pocket past the three-quarters in 1:27.3. Then on the final turn, Allard came after Filion, but YS Tallia started to bear to the outside and could not catch Yaris Bayama and Filion, who won by one-quarter of a length in 1:57. First Kiss (Stephane Gendron) was third. Bred and owned by Filion's Bayama Farms of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, it was the first win on the year for the daughter of Sportswriter, who paid $5.40 to win. The second colt division was the seventh race that saw Rebel Voyager and driver Stephane Gendron cut the mile with Doc Semalu (Yves Filion) sitting the two-hole trip and Majo Lou Beka (Jonathan Lachance) sitting in third. They went to the quarter in :27.2, the half in :58.1 and then as they reached the backstretch, Lachance made a bold rush with Majo Lou Beka, who cleared to the lead at the three-quarters in 1:28.4 and never looked back as they won with ease by two and one-half lengths in 1:57.2. Rebel Voyager was second with Doc Semalu third. For Majo Lou Beka, a gelded son of Badlands Hanover, it was his third win on the year for trainer Mario Lachance, who bred the horse, and owner Lynda Fortin of Mirabel. He paid $7.40 to win. The last division saw race favorite D Gs Elsa a late scratch and the race favorite then became Herspeedfromheaven and driver Simon Allard in the eighth race division for fillies. Sired by Rock N Roll Heaven, Herspeedfromheaven shot to the lead with Queen Elsa (Steeven Genois), last year's champion, taking the two-hole spot. They raced Indian-style to the quarter in :28, backdown the half in :59 and then before the three-quarters, as Chaleurs Melodie and Carl Duguay came first-over, so did Genois with Queen Elsa. Queen Elsa was able to get a half-length lead over Herspeedfromheaven and those two ended up battling head and head down the stretch with Herspeedfromheaven holding on to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:59.1. Chaleurs Melodie was third. Trained by Michel Allard, it was a lifetime mark and the third win this year for Herspeedfromheaven. She is bred and co-owned by Rene Allard with Gilles Fleury, and paid $3.30 to win. Track Notes: Sports Authority ($6.40), who is eligible to the C$200,000 Prix D'Ete in August, was the fastest winner on the program, capturing the Invitational Pace in 1:54.4 for driver Pierre-Luc Roy. Team Allard, trainer/father Michel with trainer/son Rene and driver/son Simon, lead all stables at H3R Sunday with three victories on the day from their barn. On Tuesday, the three-year-old trotting colts and fillies are showcased in the second round of the Breeders Cup Series. Post time is 7:00 pm. For more information, visit From the Quebec Jockey Club      

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - The Allard brothers, trainer Rene and driver Simon, are invading the Hippodrome 3R this Sunday with five of their horses entered on the program. It has been another great year for Rene and Simon. Rene is the second leading trainer in the USA, behind the top Ron Burke Stable. Just last week their top Invitational horse, Keystone Velocity, won the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace at Pocono Downs with Simon driving. Simon has been racing very well at both Pocono Downs and Harrah's Philadelphia and sports 151 wins this year and $1.8 million in earnings while competing against top drivers George Napolitano, Jr., David Miller and Tim Tetrick. With their father Michel the trainer of record in Quebec, the Allard's have five horses racing on Sunday and Simon has eight drives on the program. Sunday's program has four divisions of the second round of the C$220,000 Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old colt and filly pacers. After the third preliminary round, the top eight point earners in the series return on Sunday, September 3 for their respective C$65,000 finals. "With my dad having five racing Sunday," Rene Allard said. "Both my brother and I are coming to H3R because we love to go home when we can and see our friends, family and race fans." The series kicks off in the third race for the colts, where a classic matchup will take place between Wildriverbumblebee takes on C L Sportaction. Last week in the opening round, Dr. John Bradbury's Wildriverbumblebee starts from post two for driver Stephane Brosseau. In his first start of the season, the sophomore colt by Sportswriter, who is now trained by Francis Richard, was in peak form, leading from start to finish in 1:56. Dr. Bradbury bred and owns Wildriverbumblebee, who was last year's Future Stars Champion at age 2. Wildriverbumblebee is the 3-1 second choice in the race as the morning line favorite is C L Sportsaction from post six for driver Jonathan Lachance. Also sired by Sportswriter, C L Sportsaction has been razor sharp this season for trainer Mario Lachance and the C Leblanc Stable. He has won five of his seven starts and is one a two-race win streak. In his last start, he struck gold in the Ontario Sire Stakes at Mohawk, winning in a lifetime best 1:52.4. His prior start was at H3R where he won by seven and one-quarter lengths in 1:55.4. Also in the race is Western Phil (post 3), who was second to Wildriverbumblebee last week and Histoire Enchantee (post 4), who has been second in his last two starts. The seven race is the second division for the colts and featured is another great battle between Rebel Voyager and Doc Semalu. Rebel Voyager starts from post five for driver Stephane Gendron and last week in the opening round he exploded with an impressive wire-to-wire triumph in 1:57.4 for trainer Francis Richard. It was the son of Shanghai Phil's ninth win this year for the ICR Racing Group, who and bred the horse. Doc Semalu goes from post two for trainer/driver and Hall of Famer, Yves Filion. Last week the son of Mach Three was able to get a third-place check against Wildriverbumblebee. The three-year-old fillies get started in the fifth race where YS Tallia takes on Yaris Bayama. YS Tallia is a daughter of Western Hanover, bred and owned by Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation. Unraced at two, she is coming off her best mile ever last week when she won the $50,000 consolation race of the James M Lynch Memorial in a lifetime best 1:51.4 mile for driver Simon Allard. She starts from post five. "YS Tailia won in 1:51.4 last Saturday against some of best three-year-old fillies in North America," Rene Allard said. "And this week we had the option of going in the PA All-Stars or the Quebec Series and we went for the Quebec Stake since the owner and breeder, Yves Sarazin, is from Quebec. It's also with great pride that we race her at home for both the race fans and as Yves will be there and he is one of my biggest owners." We will have to wait and see if YS Tailia wins and if Simon Allard will do his tribute to Herve Filion and stand in the sulky and and flash his Superman shirt. It will not be a "walk in the park" for YS Talilia, as Yaris Bayama will be tough to beat. She starts from post four for trainer, driver and breeder, Yves Filion, of Bayama Farms. Another one sired by Sportswriter, Yaris Bayama won $231,000 last year at age two. Last week she was parked out the entire mile but still held on to finish second to Future Headlines in 1:57.3. The second division for fillies is the eighth race where last year's champion, Queen Elsa, starts from post one for driver Steeven Genois against last week's winner D Gs Elsa, who goes from post three for driver Jonathan Lachance. Last week D Gs Elsa notched her third straight win in just five starts for trainer Guylaine Fortin, who co-own and bred the daughter of Shanghai Phil with Daniel Surprenant. In all of her three straight wins, D Gs Elsa led from start to finish, the fastest a lifetime best 1:57.2 mile at H3R. Queen Elsa has yet to regain her winning form from last year and is winless in eight starts this season, racing mainly in New York. Also in contention will be Sophies Cam (post four). Post time Sunday is 12:30 pm. For more information, visit From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Wilkes-Barre, PA --- French-Canadian harness racing driver Simon Allard, who knew the late Herve Filion well, paid tribute to his early idol after winning the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pacing Championship with Keystone Velocity in 1:49.1. He stood in the sulky a la Herve and Hot Hitter, then unzipped his colors to show a Superman T-shirt underneath on Saturday (July 1) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   Keystone Velocity, the 2016 Pocono Horse of the Year, certainly raced like a Superhorse in the Franklin, quarter-moving in front of favorite Mel Mara then letting one go to sit on his back. Through the stretch, Keystone Velocity went to the Pocono Pike and inch by inch gained on the chalk. He went past in the last few yards and won by a head.   Keystone Velocity is himself a remarkable story. Purchased as part of the last crop of supersire Western Hanover - for $3,000, the lowest-priced of the publicly-sold crop - he raced only sporadically through most of his career; this being only the 99th lifetime start for the 9-year-old.   He was purchased by the Allard connections last year, and this year he has already earned $618,000 - more than he did in his career prior to this year - and is second in 2017 money-winnings only to the horse winning the previous race, Fear The Dragon.   Keystone Velocity now has a career bankroll of $1,158,971, with Rene Allard handling the training for Allard Racing Inc., Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr., and VIP Internet Stables LLC.   "He can race either way, up close or from behind, but I can remember talking to Herve and him telling me, 'Just do it!', so I raced him up close," Simon recalled after the race. "I wasn't sure if I could catch (Mel Mara), but the horse reacted like the other horse had a target on his back, and he just did it, went by."   Keystone Velocity     Ben Franklin Consolation   Scott Zeron, behind Lyons Snyder, alertly defended the pocket leaving and sat the trip behind the noted Pocono lover Luck Be Withyou, the winner of the 2015 Franklin and its 2016 consolation. The duo pulled out nearing head-stretch and overwhelmed the front-runner, stepping off to a 1-1/4 length triumph in 1:49.2 to a $63.40 win mutuel. The son of Well Said, trained by Jimmy Takter, boosted his earnings to $362,758 for owners Jeffrey Snyder and Geoffrey Lyons Mound. Freaky Feet Pete, in his second start of the year, tucked midpack then moved second-over, but was devoid of pace in the last quarter and finished ninth.   Lyons Snyder     Ken Weingartner

WILKES-BARRE PA – Harness racing driver Simon Allard, coming to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Sunday night one sulky success short of 3000 for his career, wasted little time getting the milestone triumph, taking the second race at the mountain oval with San Jose Hanover, rallying the pacer from the pocket and giving him a new mark of 1:54.3.   Simon, 35 years old and a native of Quebec now living in nearby Pittston PA, started the weekend with 2993 wins, but a four-bagger at The Downs last night and a double this afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia put him on the verge of the notable victory, and fittingly he won with a horse owned and trained by his brother Rene. Simon is currently second in the Downs standard behind perennial leader George Napolitano Jr., while Rene is atop the trainer colony.   Later in the card Simon started on the road to 4000 when he won with the trotter Love To Glide.   Two $18,000 “non-winners of 7 races” events, one at each gait, were the feature races Sunday at Pocono.  Jim Marohn Jr., who had five driving victories on the night at press time, teamed with trainer Paul Kelley, he of Obrigado fame, for a double on the card, in the featured trot with Just For Today, with the son of Credit Winner using looping tactics to open a big lead on the far turn and go on to an easy 1:55.2 score for the Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco, and the Hatfield Stables.   The featured pace went to odds-on  Ideal Rocky, a Rocknroll Hanover gelding who was sent straight to the front by driver Anthony Napolitano and then came home in 55.2 to complete a 1:52.1 triumph. Steve Salerno handles the local training of the winner for owners Randy Bendis and Thomas Pollack.   Jim Marohn Jr. wound up with six victories on the card, and Simon Allard wound up the night at 3002 wins lifetime after a late victory.   PHHA / Pocono

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

LEBANON, OH. - Latest Desire made it three-in-a-row in O-hi-o on Saturday night (Feb. 18) at Miami Valley Raceway, capturing the $22,000 Open I Pace again despite being assigned the outermost post position in the harness racing field of nine. Knowing that his horse is in exceptionally good form driver Simon Allard set sail from the get-go, managing to clear to the front as the first quarter beam was reached in :27. The winner was afforded a :29 second breather in the second quarter, reaching the midway point of the race in :56. With Lucky Lime (Kyle Ater) moving up to second on the outside and My Buddy Ninkster (Tyler Smith) enjoying a tight pocket ride, Latest Desire had to step it up in the third panel, stopping that teletimer in 1:23.4. With Lucky Lime still pressing on the outside and runnerup My Buddy Ninkster finding racing room along the stretch pylons, Allard and Latest Desire paced a confident :28.1 closing quarter to win by a measured 'neck' margin. A recent purchase by the partnership of AWS Stables, Fairway Stables and Milton Leeman, Latest Desire eclipsed the $400,000 earnings plateau with his third straight win, including a 20% bonus as Ohio owners winning from a nine-hole start. Virgil Morgan Jr. trains the 7-year-old Real Desire gelding. Latest Desire (S.Allard/V.Morgan Jr.) Miami Valley Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - A "neck" separated the top four finishers in Saturday's featured $22,000 Open Pace at Miami Valley Raceway, with Latest Desire pushing a "nose" in front at the wire. As the 3-5 favorite off an impressive 1:50 triumph a week ago, driver Simon Allard was able to coax a 1:51 mile from Latest Desire this week to down nine rivals in 1:51. Fancy Creek Elusiv (Mike Oosting) got the first quarter mile marker call in :27.3 with Latest Desire right behind and Sparky Mark (Dan Noble) and Lucky Lime (Kyle Ater) in hot pursuit. Sparky Mark was able to clear to the front and trip the halfway beam in :55.1. Noble was able to keep his charge in front at the 1:22.2 three-quarters, but Latest Desire had pulled the pocket and was lapped on and gaining on the leader. At the head of the stretch Meadowbrookthunder (Trace Tetrick) found a seam and the four horse stampede to the wire was underway. The quartet raced on even terms in a thrilling stretch duel that wasn't decided until Latest Desire stuck his nose in front in the final stride. Lucky Lime, Meadowbrookthunder and Sparky Mark-who all raced very gamely--followed him through the wire. Virgil Morgan Jr. trains Latest Desire for the AWS Stable, the Fairway Stable and Milton Leeman, all of Ohio. It was the 31st lifetime win in 93 starts for the 7-year-old Real Desire gelding, who now has $390,936 in earnings. Miami Valley Raceway, in conjunction with the U.S.T.A. Strategic Wagering platform, announces an instant $7500 total pool guarantee in Sunday’s Lucky Pick 5 wager, covering races 10 through 14.  The matinee program begins at 2:05 p.m. with estimated post time for the 10th race at 5:00 p.m.  When the Lucky Pick 5 went unsolved for the fourth consecutive program on Saturday night, it resulted in a carryover of $2,883.57 into Sunday afternoon’s wager, prompting the $7500 guaranteed total pool. Gregg Keidel      

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