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Royal Becquet upsets in WEGZ at 34-1

February 19, 2011
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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 Oct. 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 favorite 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.
 
Royal Becquet paid $71.50 for the 34-1 upset. The 8-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. (SC)
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