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LEBANON, OH. - Latest Desire, a recent private purchase addition to the Virgil Morgan Jr. Stable, paid early dividends with an eye-popping 1:50 score in Miami Valley's Saturday (Feb. 4) $22,000 featured Open Pace. Harness racing driver Simon Allard worked out a second-over trip for the 7-year-old Real Desire gelding before breezing by pacesetter Angelo J Fra (Chris Page), who finished third, and nailing first-up Lucky Lime (Kyle Ater), who raced gamely to finish second, in the final strides. While Latest Desire's stretch brush was quickest of all, it also covered a little more ground as he was drifting dramatically during the final furlong of the race. The partnership of AWS Stables, Fairway Stables and Milton Leeman-all of Ohio-purchased the winner of $368,936 in early January and were making their second start with Latest Desire since he joined the Morgan Stable. In his initial start at Miami Valley a week ago, he was desperate for racing room in the stretch, but found none while pacing a 1:51.4 mile including a :27.2 final panel. Five other races were timed quicker than 1:52 on the powerful Saturday night program. Smoke Up Johnny (Tyler Smith) captured the $16,500 Open II in 1:51.4, Sir Mammo (John DeLong) won a non-winners of 10 races condition/claimer in 1:51.4, Return To Sender N (Tyler Smith) was a come-from-behind 1:51.3 winner in a $20,000 claimer, Rock Out (Jason Brewer) copped the $30,000 claimer in 1:50.3, and Hickory Icon (Trace Tetrick) the non-winners $8000 last four top condition pace in 1:50.4. There will be no racing at Miami Valley on Super Bowl Sunday, but racing will resume Monday afternoon with a 2:05 p.m. post time. Featured on that card will be four divisions of a Survivor Series for $5000 claiming mares. The 40 entrants will be reduced to 20 for a pair of $7500 second round eliminations and then culminate in a $15,000 championship on February 27. On Tuesday afternoon, 78 $5000 horse and gelding pacers will begin their Survivor Series which will feature a $20,000 final on February 28. Gregg Keidel    

WILKES-BARRE PA - Simon Allard was the sulky star of the Tuesday night card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, capturing six races on the 14-event harness racing card to raise his total for the Saturday through Tuesday Downs racing week to 14.   Victory Lane visitors Tuesday night for the 34-year-old native of Quebec included Show Biz Hall (race 1) and Whata Peach (race 5), then a consecutive triple in races 7 through 9 of ABC Muscles Boy (trained by Simon's brother Rene), TSM Leonidas T, and Yozhik, and finally One Too Many (also a Rene trainee) in race 11. TSM Leonidas T ($29.60) and Yozhik ($36.80), in consecutive races, showed that all of Simon's victories weren't "gimmies" or big favorites, either.   Of the 14 horses winning for Simon during his hot streak this past week, seven were trained by brother Rene. Simon is currently fourth in the Pocono drivers standings, behind the Napolitano brothers and Matt Kakaley; Rene is literally and figuratively in the middle of a three-way dogfight for top rung in the conditioners battle, between leader Chris Oakes and Ron Burke.   The If I Can Dream mare Yes You Can made a big sweeping move in the latter part of the backstretch to go to the lead on the far turn in the $14,000 conditioned distaff pacing feature, saw Pasultimatedelight N, right on her back, make a break upon ducking to the Pocono Pike for a final challenge, and then was left all alone, scoring by 7¼ lengths in a personal best of 1:50.4. Yes You Can came her own last quarter in 27.3 as she invaded The Downs and kept up her good Upstate New York form for trainer Tony Dinges and the Holland Racing Stable, with Jim Marohn Jr. handling sulky responsibilities behind the winner of $146,223.   PHHA / Pocono

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  

The American Ideal gelding Bigtown Hero, still having the 1:48.1 fastest clocking in 2016 North American harness racing (though it had been tied six minutes earlier by Artistic Major at The Meadowlands), was extended to hold off potential Pocono Pike pocket rocket Bettors' Edge in the $20,000 feature Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but "Bigtown," the even-money favorite, proved the bettors' hero as he held off his inside foe to win by a head in 1:49.2.   Driver Simon Allard sent the victorious veteran, who took his record of 1:47.3 here at Pocono two years ago, to the lead past a 26.1 quarter cut by $1.8M-winner Bettor's Edge, and took the field through middle splits of 54.1 and 1:21.4. Bigtown Hero looked strong, and driver Allard looked confident, into the stretch, but Bettor's Edge showed his class as he dug in late to try to rally past the favorite, with his gallant effort coming up just a bit shy. Simon's brother Rene, the meet's leading driver, conditions the winner of over $440,000 for Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin. A race after the feature, George Napolitano Jr. guided his fourth winner of the Pocono card, and his eighth of the day, with a frontstepping victory with Utah Beach, putting a new 1:52.4 mark on the horse. George posted four wins on the special Preakness afternoon card at Harrah's Philadelphia, leaving after the tenth race to make the trek to Pocono - which proved to be a good decision, as "GNap" swept the Pocono early double. After the eleventh at Pocono, Napolitano's scorecard for the day stood at 20-8-5-4, good for a UDR of .606 on the day. George Napolitano Jr. wound up with five wins on the Pocono card Saturday, and thus added with his four at Philly in the afternoon, he had a 9-winner day. George Nap's final victory, in race 13 of the 14-race card, was by a nose with the trotter Mandela Blue Chip, who earned a new mark of 1:53.4 in edging Upfront Billy -- driven by George's brother Anthony.   For the day for George:   PHL    10-4-3-2-.633 (he left Phl early, and won the DD at PcD for his trouble) PCD    14-5-2-4-.532 OVERALL    24-9-5-6-.574   ...   The Ron Burke Stable's 1-2-3 finishes in the recent $561,500 Pennsylvania Classic Final all return to Pocono tomorrow night (Sunday) for Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action, and the three will all be going in separate divisions. Check Six, the 1:50.4 Classic Final winner, starts from post two in the 10th race; second-place JK Will Power has post six in the fifth race split; and third finisher Big Top Hanover drew post five for Sunday's fourth race.   ... Finally ... There were 13 claims on the Saturday card at Pocono ... and the 13th one came in a conditioned race! Lucky Mass had been entered in a claimer and was subsequently scratched, and according to the rules the trotter was thus eligible to be haltered out of tonight's race for the previous race's $12,500 tag. Owner Ken Tisa put up the check, and Lucky Mass will be racing out of a new barn in his next start after finishing fifth Saturday.   PHHA / Pocono    

The Catamount Kid and Another Daily Copy tied for speed honors in capturing their respective $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars event for state-sired harness racing three-year-old pacing colts Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with both tripping the timer in 1:51.2, while in the third division Voltaire scored a 14-1 upset and like the other two victors took a personal mark with his 1:52.2 clocking.   The Catamount Kid was second in his elimination for the Pennsylvania Classic and then fourth in the Classic Final the last two weeks at Pocono, finishing behind only Ron Burke trainees, but Sunday nothing got in the way of the Well Said colt en route to the winners circle. The Catamount Kid sat a pocket trip until the ¾, moved out to challenge and grab the lead into the stretch, then held off Bully Pulpit from off his back for a neck decision. Simon Allard handled sulky duties for the winner, whom trainer Carl Jamieson co-owns with Thomas Kyron, George Harrison, and Brian Paquet.   Driver Jim Morrill Jr., who held the hot hand at Pocono on Sunday, posted his fourth victory of the night when he guided Another Daily Copy home first. Morrill rated a 29.2 second quarter, getting to the half in 56, then sprinted off to a big lead on the far turn, with the final 1¼ length margin of victory over pocketsitting Fernando Hanover a bit deceptive. Nicholas Devita trains the son of Somebeachsomewhere, who doubled his lifetime victory total with the All-Stars triumph, for owner Carl Sackheim.   It's usually not a benefit to gap two-wide cover, but driver Tim Tetrick made it work for him and Voltaire in the other division. The Western Terror gelding was originally second-over but couldn't stay with his cover, letting More Dragon out - whom Voltaire and Tetrick prompted followed three-wide on the far turn, then swung wider in the stretch. Settlemoir was closing in the Pocono Pike, pacesetter JJ Flynn was trying to maintain his advantage, and More Dragon continued his wide gain - but in the last 50 yards Voltaire found his best strides and was along to win by a head over Settlemoir, who was a neck ahead of More Dragon, with JJ Flynn settling for fourth. Brian Malone conditions the winner for owners Peter Paul Venturini and Peter Venturini III.   Pennsylvania All-Stars action continues in the second half of the Pocono race week, Monday and Tuesday, with three $30,000 divisions for distaffs each night: the pacers in the spotlight Monday, and then the trotters headlining on Tuesday.   PHHA / Pocono

STICKNEY, IL - Leg 2 of the Ohyouprettything and Pretty Direct pacing series for harness racing fillies and mares took place on Friday evening at Hawthorne. The Ohyouprettything went in three divisions while the Pretty Direct was a full field of ten. In the first division of the Ohyouprettything, longshot JD's First Lady left and tried to steal things through a quick opening half. She led the field into the stretch but then things bunched up as heavy favorite Mystical Nectar took over with a quick three wide move. She continued her bid for driver Simon Allard as Mystical Nectar rolled to a four length victory in 1:55.2. Tamarac Smoochie finished second while Savoya Cruiser was third. The second division of the Ohyouprettything saw Lollipop carving out the early fractions while Gossip Model tracked her into the turn. Into the lane, Lucky Dali ranged up to challenge while Fox Valley Bailey tipped three wide to contend. It was Fox Valley Bailey who sustained her move and held off the late bid of Gossip Model, winning in 1:56.4. Lucky Dali finished third. The third division of the Ohyouprettything saw Backwoods Barbie sent off as the favorite. She moved early to challenge leader I Y Q Too on the backstretch but was unable to clear and eventually broke stride. In the end it was bombs away as 75-1 shot Don't Dali Around got up in the shadow of the wire for driver Brian Carpenter. Girls Girls Girls finished second while Sandy Win was third. Final time for the mile was 1:56.2. A full field of ten lined up for the second leg of the Pretty Direct pacing Series. Fox Valley Brooke set the early pace, tracked by favored Lovethewayoulook. In the stretch Lovethewayoulook grabbed the lead but couldn't hold off the late charge of Whiskersonkittens and driver Robert Smolin. Whiskersonkittens stopped the clock for the mile in 1:54. Lovethewayoulook was second, If I Didn't Dream finished third. Jim Miller

STICKNEY, IL - The harness racing ladies were the focus on Friday evening at Hawthorne as divisions of the Ohyouprettything and Pretty Direct Pacing Series took place. The Ohyouprettything went in four divisions and was for fillies and mares that had not won two pari-mutuel races or $10,000 lifetime as of December 1, 2015. The Pretty Direct was also for the females, non-winners of five pari-mutuel races or $25,000 lifetime as of December 1, 2015. The opener on Friday was the first division of the Ohyouprettything series as Flight on Time was sent off as the choice. Much like Thursday's card, speed did not hold though as Tamarac Smoochie settled behind the early pace and found room in the stretch to win going away. Driven by Casey Leonard, The Ft Apache Hanover mare was 5-1 and covered the mile in 1:58.3. A Very Nice Dragon was second and Going Shooten finished third. The second division of the Ohyouprettything was a very tight finish and proved to be some tense moments for those playing the favorite. A big late wager pushed Mystical Nectar down to 1-5 favoritism. She tipped out late in the lane and moved late, but just held on to win by a head over Backwoods Barbie. Simon Allard drove the Charley Barley mare for trainer Tyler Nostadt as they covered the mile in 1:56.4. Nashville Nasty rallied late to finish third. The Pretty Direct Pacing Series kicked off in race 3 on the Friday Hawthorne card as a field of seven lined up. Colorful Sky left and set the early fractions as she tried to back down the pace. The field bunched at the top of the stretch as Casey Leonard and favorite Fox Valley Gypsy angled out from sixth and began to rally. The Yankee Skyscraper filly got up in time to win in 1:55.3. Fox Valley Brooke was second while Addie Rose finished third. The third division of the Ohyouprettything Pacing Series proved to be another race where the winner closed from well back. Savoya Cruiser carved out the early fractions but in the lane LK's Nancy Lee angled out and closed strongly to win with Dale Hiteman in the sulky. Burry Me Inthesand rallied late for place as Our Miss Leah finished third. Final time for the mile was 1:58.1 as the Yankee Skyscraper filly was bet down to 2-1 favoritism. The second division of the Pretty Direct followed on the Friday card and featured a heavy favorite in Lovethewayoulook. She was in a tough spot early as she settled at the back of the pack from the start. She was first to move and swept up to the lead into the far turn. She wasn't able to sustain her rally though as Whiskersonkittens and driver Robert Smolin closed for the victory. Pacifire gained late for place while Lovethewayoulook was outfinished for third. The Party At Artsplace filly paced the mile in 1:55.4. The final division of the Ohyouprettything looked to be a wide open race going in and ended up being more than that way in the end. While favorites Gossip Model and Lollipop were contesting things into the lane, 99-1 Luvly Lil Terror found room late and squeezed through for the victory. Driver Pat Curtin won for trainer Loralee Johnson as the Western Terror filly paid $266 for the victory. The final time for the race was 1:55.2. Jim Miller    

STICKNEY, IL - Wednesday night kicked off the first legs of the Whizzer R. White and Suburban Downs Pacing Series at Hawthorne. The Whizzer R. White had an overflow amount of harness racing entries and was split into five divisions while the Suburban Downs went with two divisions. Conditions for the Whizzer R. White were for colts, horses, and geldings that had not won two pari-mutuel races or $10,000 lifetime as of December 1, 2015. The Suburban Downs series was for colts, horses, and geldings that had not won five pari-mutuel races for $25,000 lifetime as of December 1, 2015. In leg one of the Whizzer R. White pacing series, the first division kicked off the evening as a three way battle ensued in the stretch. In the end it was the first over move by Pillage and Burn with Casey Leonard driving to defeat Party Falls. Trixsen Gram finished third in 1:57 for the mile over the fast track. Pillage and Burn won as the even money choice. The second division came down to a photo finish as Todd Warren and Always Kenzer just got up in time to best Ridge Warren and One to Draw To, who had set the early fractions throughout. The pacers closed quickly once again as the final time in the father/son battle was 1:56.1. Duneside Sport finished third in the second division. Always Kenzer won at 9-2. Division three became a one horse affair as Trace Tetrick was in to drive for brother, Tom. Settling early, Tetrick and Over Friskie moved early to the lead and opened up their advantage into the far turn. The margin only widened into the stretch as Over Friskie was well clear, stopping the clock in 1:54.4. Lyons Jimmydean came back for second after breaking stride prior to the start and Mr Mark Patrick was third. Over Friskie was the 4-5 favorite. The fourth division was another quick move on the turn by driver Trace Tetrick with Ocaptain Mycaptain as he tried to steal the race but it wasn't to be this time as Travis Seekman confidently handled Prince Bayard to the victory at 7-2. Mr Pickpocket rallied late for place while Ocaptain Mycaptain was third. The final time was 1:56.0. The fifth and final division of the Whizzer R. White series had a pace battle early as three contended for the early lead. In the end it was the closers once again as 8-1 shot Lil Orphan Elmer rallied for the score with Kyle Wilfong in the sulky. 43-1 longshot Gunny Wilson closed late for place over favorite Red Red Redneck. Final time was 2:00.1 The Suburban Downs pacing series went later in the evening with two divisions facing off. In the first division Why Ask Why continued his winning ways as he way able to overcome the outside post and rally for the victory with Ridge Warren driving. Sir Mammo battled on to finish second while Kolt Power rallied late for third. Why Ask Why was sent off at 5-1 and stopped the clock in 1:54.3. The second division of the Suburban Downs pacing series was a battle to the wire as Freedomformysoul just held off The Optimist. Freedomformysoul was driven by Simon Allard and moved to the lead early. After being headed in the lane he fought back gamely for the victory in 1:56.3. The Optimist finished second, Officially Yours was third. Jim Miller

Although they may be newcomers to Chicago harness racing fans driver Simon Allard and brother-trainer Rene Allard are clearly in the hearts and minds of the local brethren after joining forces with Hawthorne Race Course to spearhead a fundraising drive to help those whose lives were devastated by the tragic barn fire at Classy Lane Farm in Canada on January 4th. Simon, who had a driving double along with several other in the money finishes donated his driving earnings from Saturday's Hawthorne card to the fund which has been set up by Central Ontario Standardbred Association. Rene, who sent out six starters at Hawthorne on Saturday night as well as several others at Yonkers also pitched in by donating his training percentage to help his fellow horsemen. With a great deal of help from horsemen Nicole Agosti and Angie Coleman along with a group of "high energy" youngsters donations were also collected from fans and horsemen throughout the track during the night. Hawthorne President & General Manager Tim Carey also stepped up in a big way to help the fund, promising to match the donations while setting up an account with the horsemen's bookkeeper at Hawthorne for those who still wish to donate to the fund. The account will remain open until Friday, January 22. On-line donations can also be made by using the official Go Fund Me page set up by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association or by calling (905) 854-2672. Checks can also be made payable to "Classy Lane Barn Fire", Central Ontario Standardbred Association, PO Box 297, Campbellville, ON LOP 180, Canada. Tom Kelley

WILKES-BARRE PA -- At post time for the $30,000 Open pace Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, it was one degree above freezing -- and the veteran American Ideal gelding Bigtown Hero was one degree better than his opposition, winning by a neck over favored Dynamic Youth in 1:50.2.   You can say that Bigtown Hero "won out of the pocket," but that statement would not fairly convey the work that the winner did. Driver Simon Allard hustled him away from the gate from post seven in the 8-horse field, and the pacer was three-wide past the 1/8 and two-wide until just past the 26.3 opener, when he made the lead, yielding an 1/8 of a mile later to Dynamic Youth for the two-hole journey.   Dynamic Youth took the field to middle splits of 54.4 and 1:22.3, and for a good portion of the stretch it looked like the millionaire pacesetter might prevail. But Allard took his pacer outside, and despite a 10mph stretch headwind (the wind chill at post time was 23 degrees), Bigtown Hero was able to gain into the 27.4 kicker, with his late surge putting him a head to the good of Dynamic Youth on the money. Trainer/brother Rene Allard conditions the world champion (1:47.3f here last year at age five) for the ownership combine of Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin.   "The Trot Man" of Pocono Downs, diamondgaited driving specialist Mike Simons, posted a 21-1 upset in the $24,000 trotting feature with the mare Tweet Me, rallying strongly in the lane after sitting third most of the way to take a new mark of 1:53 despite the chilly conditions. The Andover Hall mare is trained by Nicholas DeVita for owner Bridget McNeese.   Pocono now enters the final week of racing for its 2015 racing season, with the trotters and pacers on the track this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday nights starting at 6:30 p.m.   From the PHHA/Pocono Downs      

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec – After having a chance to view the entries and race program for Sunday’s 4th annual Drivers Tournament at the Hippodrome 3R, we asked the drivers how they felt their odds might be to win the tournament. And we got some very interesting responses. Sunday’s tournament will be a great display of horsemanship from nine of the best drivers this season. The nine drivers will compete in eight races (2nd through 9th) with $3,000 in cash prizes for the top three finishers. And the race fans can get in the action too! There will be a meet and greet starting at 12:15 pm for the fans plus a contest to predict the top three finishers with more than $500 in cash prizes to the winners. Joining special guest drivers Simon Allard and Robert Shepherd will be 3R’s top reinsman, Pascal Berube, Stephane Brosseau, Mario Charron, Jocelyn Gendron, Stephane Gendron, Denis St. Pierre, and Louis-Philippe Roy. “It will be a very good tournament,” said 3R’s leading driver, Denis St. Pierre. “I don’t think I have a chance to be in the top three, but I would have to say my odds of winning are at 6-1. Louis-Philippe Roy, Robert Shepherd and Stephane Gendron will be the tough ones.” “I have been in three tournaments before,” said Robert Shepherd, “And they can be very exciting and super competitive. I won a father-son tournament on PEI and it was great. For this tournament I think my odds of winning are 5-1.” “It will be tough,” said Stephane Gendron, “We will need to have some racing luck. I see my odds at 5-1.” “You can’t win it unless you are in it,” said Simon Allard, quoting the great Herve Filion. “It is great to be invited to compete and my first glance at the race entries I would say I am 9/5 odds to win it. You have to think positive. Then I looked at the actual race program and now I think I would have a better chance to win at bingo!” “I am very honored to be in the tournament,” said Jocelyn Gendron, “You have to think you can be the winner because you never know how the racing will go. I am confident so let’s say odds of 3-1.” “I think I drew very well for the tournament,” said Louis-Phillipe Roy. “I have good positions with the right horses so if I have some racing luck I could have a good chance to win. I say my odds are 7/2.” “My odds should be around 6-1,” said Pascal Berube. “I have two strong drives but the rest are so so. You never know how things will turn out so I hope I can make it to the top three.” “I have two or three horses that I may be able to do well with.” Said Mario Charron. “It is great to be in the tournament. It is a nice reward for the top drivers and it is always a good competition. I would have to say my odds are around 10-1. Of course I will need some luck to do well. In tournaments like this you never know how things will go. Sometimes the favorites get into a fight and you can pick up some good points. I know for sure it will be great racing action for the fans.” “I’m not too excited about tomorrow’s tournament,” said Stephane Brosseau. “It is great to be part of it but I fear my odds of winning are very high. I don’t think I have a shot. I am in it but I could be 99-1 odds. I’m gonna need some luck for sure and I will give it by best! According to the morning line odds, the tournament favorites would be Louis-Phillipe Roy, Robert Shepherd and Stephane Gendron. Either way Sunday’s tournament promises to be full of exciting racing action in every race. Post time Sunday is 1:30 pm. For more information visit  by Steven Wolf, for the Quebec Jockey Club

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono harness racing week in review  -  September 18-24, 2015 Lest anyone think that the racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono has slowed up a bit as summer makes its transition into fall, this past week's excitement should definitively put that theory to rest. Four nights of action produced times as quick as any we witnessed in the heart of summer. We even had a world record performance to really push this week over the edge. That performance, needless to say, kicks off our Weekly Awards.   TROTTER OF THE WEEK: DAYLON MIRACLE In the $30,000 Open Handicap trot on Saturday night, Wind Of The North was assigned the outside post in the nine-horse field, meaning that he conceivably should have been the one that stood a notch above the rest of the field. But it was the mare Daylon Miracle who went off as the even-money favorite from post position #7. Maybe the betting faithful saw a horse on top of her game after a close 3rd in a $100,000 race at Pocono and a sharp condition win at Yonkers in her previous two starts. Or maybe they realized that her human companions, trainer Rene Allard and driver Simon Allard, were in the midst of a monster night. In any case, Daylon Miracle rewarded the bettor's faith, taking the lead on the front stretch and trotting away to hide. She kicked away from her pursuit to cross the line 7½ lengths in front of the best trotters on the grounds. The winning time of 1:50:3 revealed just why Daylon Miracle was so far out in front, as it broke the world record for aged trotting mares on a 5/8-mile oval. Only Sebastian K and Father Patrick, two all-time greats, have ever trotted faster at Pocono than what Daylon Miracle achieved on Saturday night. Other top trotters this week include: * Extracurricular (Simon Allard, Rene Allard) whose victory in Tuesday night's featured condition trot was his second straight and came in a career-best 1:53 * Racer X (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who now has three straight wins, two of which were at Pocono, following a victory Friday night in a career best 1:53:3 * Cantabs Fortune (George Napolitano Jr., Kevin Carr), a mare who moved up in class on Tuesday night to score her second straight condition win, this one coming in 1:55.   PACER OF THE WEEK: BUGGER BRUISER This four-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer of Carmen Auciello has spent his time in 2015 bouncing back and forth amidst Pennsylvania, New York and Canada. In his previous start before going toe-to-toe with a $13,000 condition group at Pocono on Saturday night, he overcame an outside post to win at Tioga by a neck in 1:52:1. Although that winning time might have seemed modest next to some of the speedsters in Saturday night's race, Bugger Bruiser also had a 1:49:1 win at Mohawk to his credit in 2015. He needed that speed early to find the pocket seat behind Mustang Art, a classy Pocono veteran who made the front end and tried to scare off the rest of the field by setting intimidating fractions. Those fractions didn't frighten Bugger Bruiser, who stayed close behind Mustang Art as the leader dealt with pressure on the outside. At the top of the stretch, driver Simon Allard tipped Bugger Bruiser to the outside and the gelding pounced, blowing by the pacesetter to win by two lengths in a sizzling 1:50. With two straight wins, this precocious pacer appears ready to step up and take on even tougher foes, no matter where he races next. Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: * Dynamic Youth (Joe Bongiorno, Ron Burke), who battled to a win in Saturday night's $30,000 Open Handicap pace in 1:49, the fastest pacing time of the week * Artistic Major (Eric Goodell, Steve Elliott), a 3-year-old colt who beat some tough older horses in a condition on Saturday night in a career-best 1:49:4 * Frost Damage Blues (Mike Simons, Tom Fanning), a three-year-old filly who, after winning five straight races in New York to start her career, handled a condition field at Pocono on Wednesday night in a career-best 1:51:1 to stay perfect.   LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CULINARY DELIGHT At 36-1, this filly wasn't given much of a chance on Tuesday night, but she upset a condition trotting field with Marcus Miller in the bike to pay out $74.80 on a $2 win ticket.   DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SIMON ALLARD As if five wins on Friday night weren't enough, he came right back to dominate the proceedings with eight wins on Saturday night, a personal best for him here at Pocono.   TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RENE ALLARD After notching four training wins on both Friday and Saturday night, the meet's leading trainer now has twice as many wins in 2015 as his nearest competitor in the Pocono training standings. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at Jim Beviglia                  

WILKES-BARRE PA -- Harness racing driver Simon Allard, coming off a five-win night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Friday, did even better on Saturday evening, with eight visits to Victory Lane, including one after guiding trotting mare Daylon Miracle to victory in the $30,000 Open handicap trot in 1:50.3 -- the fastest time ever by a female trotter on a 5/8-mile track in North America.   Allard, behind the daughter of Pegasus Spur, tucked Daylon Miracle in fourth early, but straightened out in front of the stands he sent the mare to the top, hitting the lead nearing the second turn and just extending her margin from there, winning by 7 1/2 lengths over international star Wind Of The North. No female of any age has ever trotted faster on the size of Pocono's oval, 5/8 of a mile, and up until five weeks the effort could truly have been called a world record, since the mare Delicious trotted in 1:50.2f in Sweden in mid-August. The clocking was a personal best for Daylon Miracle, and the time obviously broke the former track record for her division, which had been co-held at 1:51.4 by Beatgoeson Hanover, In Your Room, and Frau Blucher.   Simon guided the new champion for trainer/brother Rene, the track's leading conditioner, and the ownership of Allard Racing Inc. and Earl Hill Jr. Team Allard purchased the mare at the end of May, after she beaten the likes of Shake It Cerry and Classic Martine in the Meadows Maturity Mare Trot for former owner Bill Bercury, and she has five wins and over $95,000 to her credit since that transaction.   The four winners conditioned by Rene on Saturday, all piloted by Simon, matched his Friday output, of which Simon piloted three. But it was grand frère Simon who outshined his little brother this weekend, with the amazing "lucky 13" scorecard of driving wins. Simon, second in the Pocono sulkysitter standings, saw his successes came in streaky sections -- he won four of the first five on Friday (missing by a head in race 2), and then on Saturday he won races 2 through 5 and posted another 4-for-5 streak in races 9, 11, 12, and 13.   Pocono also carded another $30,000 handicap event on Saturday, for pacers, and the horses "from the rails" were a nose apart at the finish, as Dynamic Youth (PP1, Joe Bongiorno) photoed out JK Endofanera (handicapped to PP9, Andrew McCarthy) in 1:49, with Captive Audience just a neck off in third. Dynamic Youth parked JK Endofanera past a 26.3 quarter, and after that horse had made the lead, Captive Audience rushed for command by a 53.3 half, continuing to a 1:20.4 3/4s, with Dynamic Youth moving out for the stretch drive and JK Endofanera waiting for the Pocono Pike passing lane. They were three abreast most of the length of the stretch, with Dynamic Youth, an altered son of Bettor's Delight, getting his nose ahead in the last couple strides to push his bankroll over $1.08M lifetime for trainer Ron Burke and J&T Silva Stables LLC, Ken Tucci, and C&G Racing Stable.   Finally, Luck Be Withyou made his first Pocono start since capturing the $500,000 Ben Franklin Final in June, using his preferred speedy tactics to wire a $20,000 field of pacers in 1:49.1 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Chris Oakes, and owner John Craig. The son of Western Ideal continues to not let his horrible luck at the Pocono post draw in 2015 (he had eight and nine in the two Franklin races, and the outside post eight tonight) take away from his love of the local red racetrack, where he also won the 2013 Breeders Crown 2PC event.   PHHA / Pocono          

WILKES-BARRE PA -- Harness racing drivers Simon Allard and Anthony Napolitano pretty much had a "wire-to-wire" domination of the Friday night card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with the second- and third-leading driver at The Downs, respectively, each guiding five winners -- Allard four of the card's first five and Napolitano four of the last five.   Allard almost opened the card with a natural five-bagger, taking races 1, 3, 4, and 5, and losing the second by only a head. He also just missed by a nose in the seventh, which may have been the tipping of the night's power, because Anthony Napolitano's horse was just barely more photogenic for his first of his evening's quintet. He then beat Allard -- by a length, a big margin this night -- in the tenth to start his 4 for 5 finish.   Both Simon Allard and Anthony Napolitano have brothers who also campaign at Pocono -- in fact, they are respectively the leading trainer and driver at the mountain oval, Rene Allard and George Napolitano Jr., and both of them also had productive days. Rene Allard had four wins on the card, including sending out three of Simon's five (and the photoed-out streak interrupter in the second), with his fourth winner guided for Rene by -- um, Anthony Napolitano (and yes, that was the 10th race, where Simon was second as mentioned above).   George Napolitano Jr. visited Victory Lane twice Friday at Pocono and hit the board in nine of ten drives, following a 9-4-2-0 afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia -- the third straight day he's had at least four wins at Philly. Today's six wins gives him a staggering 20 in the last three days (including his ten-bagger on Wednesday between the two plants), and he has 54 winners through the 18th day of the month in a (very outside) pursuit of a third straight month with 100 or more sulky triumphs.   PHHA / Pocono      

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, September 4, 2015 - The richest day of harness racing in the province of Quebec for 2015 takes place Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R with the $500,000 finals of the Quebec-Bred Series for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. There are eight finals on the 13-race program that gets underway at 1:30 pm. The four two-year-old finals each go for a purse of $55,000 and the four three-year-old finals each go for $65,000. The finals culminate three weeks of preliminary races with the top eight pointer earners returning for the finales. Trainer Dany Fontaine leads the way with seven horses from his stable in the finals, four of them look to be the race favorites in their respective divisions. Fontaine's race favorites include Mr Mach Jimmy, Mach On The Beach, Miss Babe Delight and National Trace. Owner Gaetan Bono of Montreal owns six of the seven horses trained by Fontaine and a close second is the Hudson Standardbred Stable of Hudson, QC, who has five entered in the finals. Two full brothers, Seeyou Men (age 3) and Wildwild Men (age 2), both sired by Muscle Mass from the Angus Hall mare, Seeyouinthecircle, head their respective trot finals for trainer Isabelle Darveau. The $55,000 two-year-old trotting filly final is the only race that is not open for betting. It will be held between the 5th and 6th races on Sunday as a non-wagering event. Ontario's top drivers, Sylvain Filion, Mario Ballargeon and Simon Allard are coming to compete in the finals and will go against 3R's best reinsmen, Denis St. Pierre, Pascal Berube, Mario Charron and Stephane Brosseau. "This will be a great day of racing," said Vincent Trudel, the general manager of the Hippodrome 3R. "It shows that our Quebec-bred program is very viable with nearly $750,000 in total purses this year for two and three year-olds in the series." The Hippodrome 3R offers a free race program and live video of the race card at From the Quebec Jockey Club

WILKES-BARRE PA -- Bigtown Hero, who already has two appearances on the harness racing sport's all-time list of "horse who have hit the 3/4s in 1:20 or better," missed by a tick becoming the only horse ever with three such appearances, winning the $24,000 featured pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night.   Bigtown Hero, an altered son of American Ideal, certainly didn't have it easy, either -- he was outside with cover until favored Bandolito cleared Bushwacker past a 26 opener, then rolled up raw to grab the top early on the second turn, en route to hitting the half in 53.1.   Driver Simon Allard, sulkysitting for trainer/brother/Pocono leader Rene, opened up lengths on Bandolito down the backstretch, with Bushwacker taking other crack outside, but both were well-behind when the timer tripped at 1:20.1 with a quarter to ago. Bandolito ate fractionally into the winner's lead late, but was still shy of him by 3/4 of a length at the finish, with Quick Jolt coming from the clouds for third, a half length behind Bandolito and a length ahead of Bushwacker.   Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin own the speed merchant, who hit the 3/4 in 1:19.4 last September 20 here en route to taking his mark of 1:47.3, and then on November 8 posted the fastest half (52.2) and 3/4s (1:19.1) in 5/8-mile track history before tiring in a race where Mach It So beat State Treasurer in 1:48. Both of these miles were also at Pocono.   Also at Pocono Saturday were a pair of $24,000 trots. Wind Of The North, an altered son of Cantab Hall who equaled a division world record of 1:51 here last year, needed only 1:53.3 Saturday to report home first for trainer Daryl Bier, co-owner with Joann Dombeck; in the other division the Andover Hall filly Sistas, 3-for-3 in Stallion Series competition, handled a big class rise, a predominantly male field, and a predominantly older field in 1:55 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Chris Oakes, and owners Albert and Michelle Crawford. (Napolitano, who had 100 wins in July, won three times here Saturday to put him at 98 for August, with sessions at both Philly and Pocono tomorrow possibly letting him achieve a rare "consecutive double century" of winners; the win with Sistas was also his 500th in 2015.)   FINISHING LINES -- The Sunday August 30 card of tomorrow/today is the last Sunday action for the year at The Downs ... Next Saturday night Pocono will be hosting the $1.7M Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship Night, with $350,000 Championship races for the four classes of sophomores, plus consolations and other features.   Pocono / PHHA  

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