At post time for the $30,000 Open Pace on 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 favoured 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 eight-horse field, and the pacer was three-wide past the one-eighth and two-wide until just past the :26.3 opener, when he made the lead, yielding an eighth 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 10 mph 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, diamond-gaited 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.
(PHHA / Pocono)