Keystone Velocity captures Ben Franklin by a head
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French-Canadian 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 ofsupersire 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."
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. (PHHA/Pocono)