With youth and success on his side, trainer Rene Allard has set a goal of concentrating more on quality than quantity in his stable in 2013, as well as placing an emphasis on racing the bulk of horses in the US.
The tireless 26-year-old from Saint-Esprit, Quebec, the youngest trainer to hit 1,500 wins in 2012, amassed career best numbers last year winning 453 races [second in North America] and $3.8 million. He won the Rideau Carlton training title and was Canada's leading percentage stable with a .465 in the money figure.
In 2012, Farm Allard staged their second annual day of racing and family fun at their Quebec base with proceeds going to Centraid of Greater Montreal.
Since venturing south of the border, Allard has become a force at the Meadowlands, Yonkers, Pocono Downs, Harrah's Philadelphia and Saratoga, often using his older brother, Simon Allard in the sulky.
While Allard's power has come in sheer numbers, his uncanny ability to instantly deliver a spot on synopsis of each individual helps him manage his massive operation and produce positive results.
"I know every horse in my barn, what they wear and what their problems are,” said Allard "I love the racing part. I never miss a race, especially with modern technology. Right now, I have about 90 horses and about 60 currently racing. I have 30 racing in the US, and I'm stabled on a farm in Middletown, NY down here. I've still got 15 racing at Flamboro Downs, and the rest are at our farm in Quebec. When other tracks open in March like Harrah's Philadelphia and Pocono Downs, I'm going to race less in Ontario and planning on racing more on the south side of the border. I entered a dozen in a sale in Ohio in February. I want to concentrate on racing better horses, mainly at the Meadowlands, Yonkers and Pocono Downs.”
While chiefly a trainer of raceway stock, Allard dreams of more lucrative paydays and winner's circle celebrations for classics like the Meadowlands Pace.
"My ultimate goal is to race in those big money stakes,” noted Allard. "I've always been a guy who just wants to win as many races as I could. I was the leader in wins in Canada for three straight years before finishing second in 2012, and I was second in North America. But, again, now I want to have more quality than quantity. When you have around 100 horses or more, you tend to spread yourself too thin. I thought about getting some yearlings this year, and I'm going to do that this fall. With fewer cheaper horses, I'll have room to upgrade to some stakes colts. I have a couple right now, but eventually I hope to get more between this year and the next. When I do it, I want to do it right and to the best of my ability.”
Allard sends out half a dozen pacers on Saturday's program at the Meadowlands and offered his assessment of each entrant:
"Simon said Odin Blue Chip [post seven, race one] was very grabby behind the gate, so he took him back and he thinks he may have choked him. We're going to add some ear plugs and make some other changes, so he should be alright this week. They also went a cheap half (:56) and it was hard to catch anybody. This is the first horse Wheelhouse Racing Stable claimed with me.
"A J Corbelli [post seven, race five] qualified good, and I thought he was in tough last time, but he came up sick. We've given him some time and he seems healthy. I don't know if he'll be in top, top shape, but he trained good.
"When we bought Musselsfrmbrussels [post five, race six] we thought he'd be okay. We raced him at Yonkers and he was a little steppy in the turns there. He was obviously real good when he won here, but we were a little disappointed last week. He's a small horse and Simon thinks he likes to chase horses. So, racing him on the front isn't his thing. He's in a tough field.
"We thought No BU [post two, race seven] might win after he came charging home from post ten in his first start at the Meadowlands, but he seems to hang between the quarter and three quarter pole. We might make a bridle change and close him up, make him more aggressive, and if everything works out he could probably handle that field.
"Yves Sarrazin sent DGs Woodstock [post three, race nine] to me to try him here. He trained and qualified good. That's a race where horses are shipping in from everywhere, so it's a question mark.
"Da Vision Of Art [post one, race 11] will be in the Survivor Series coming up. He didn't qualify the way I wanted him to. He was just okay and we're hoping he'll get better.” (Meadowlands)