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Allard Trainees Finish 1-2 In WEGZ Stakes

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Published: February 19, 2011 9:18 pm ET

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Rene Allard pupils Royal Becquet and Strand Hanover swept the top two spots in the $60,000 WEGZ Stakes on Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack.

The WEGZ Stakes, formerly called the Ontario Boys Pacing Series, is for older pacing horses that are non-winners of $50,000 in 2010 as of October 31.

With elimination winner Vertical Horizon scratched, the field for the final was narrowed down to nine. Leaving from the two outside post positions were Royal Becquet and driver Simon Allard and Strand Hanover with Luc Ouellette aboard. As Royal Becquet blasted off the wings and crossed over to the pylons in the top spot, he was followed by his stablemate Strand Hanover, who took over during a :27.1 first quarter.

As Strand Hanover raced to the half in :55.2, Jody Jamieson sent 4-5 favourite Aled Hanover first over from fifth and was up to look the leader in the eye past three-quarters in 1:23.2. As they entered the stretch, Strand Hanover began to pull away but was beat by a head at the wire by the pocket-pulling Royal Becquet, who stopped the clock in 1:51.2, equaling the stakes record. The other elimination winners Aled Hanover and Mcapulco, driven by Mario Baillargeon, finished third and fourth.

“I knew he would be much better tonight,” Rene Allard told WEG's Media Department following the win. “He has feet issues and given the mild weather I had recently decided to take the caulks off him tonight and it really paid off.

“I was worried coming into tonight with Post 9 and 10 but I know they have terrific gate speed and I was happy to see both on top before the quarter.”

Royal Becquet paid $71.50 for the 34-1 upset. The eight-year-old Yankee Cam-Steady Pebble gelding, a runner-up in his elimination to Vertical Horizon, picked up his first win of the year in six starts for owners Michel Allard of Saint-Esprit and Nancy Lajeunesse of Quebec. With the win, the 27-time career winner pushed his bankroll to over $450,000.

The victory was one of four on the card for each of the Allard brothers. Rene, currently the leading trainer in Canada this year, teamed with his brother to win the opener with Golden Time ($8.40) and the 12th race with Firethorn ($4.00). Rene also won with Dinner Guest ($21.40), driven by Luc Ouellette, in the 11th race while Simon's other win came in the fifth race with the Pierre Touchette-trained Faucon Stena ($8.80).

For a recap of tonight's Preferred events featured on the undercard, click here.

For results from Saturday's card of harness racing, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack.


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