CAMPBELLVILLE, August 26 – The field is set for the Canadian Pacing Derby, Canada’s oldest harness race, following a pair of $40,000 eliminations on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.
Keystone Velocity and Rockin Ron captured their respective eliminations to head into next Saturday’s $615,000 final with full momentum. Each $40,000 elimination featured a field of eight with the top-five finishers advancing.
A $40,000 supplement entry, Keystone Velocity backed up his connections by unleashing a wild :25.1 final-quarter to win the first ‘Pacing Derby’ elimination in 1:48.2.
As expected, Nirvana Seelster shot out from the rail to grab the early lead, but had no challengers going with him. The field of eight lined up in post position order, allowing Nirvana Seelster to call the shots through an opening-half of :55.1.
With outside challengers beginning to move up around the far turn, Yannick Gingras angled All Bets Off out of the two-hole to pull up beside ‘Nirvana’ at three-quarters in 1:22.2. Keystone Velocity, who got away sixth with driver Simon Allard, was into the outer-flow to sit third-over and four and quarter lengths from the lead turning for home.
In the stretch, the gritty All Bets Off took the lead, but couldn’t fight off a storming Keystone Velocity on the far outside. The Rene Allard trainee fired home in :25.1 to win by a length.
All Bets Off held second, while the top-five finishers were rounded out by Dealt A Winner, Nirvana Seelster and Easy Lover Hanover.
A nine-year-old son of Western Hanover, Keystone Velocity has been having a tremendous season with six wins in 13 starts entering Saturday’s contest. Despite having only one start in the last month heading into the ‘Pacing Derby’, the Rene Allard trainee was ready to roll.
“I was just going to race him to get into the final, but the horse is so sharp,” said Simon Allard post-race. “He’s (had) a lot of vacation, but we’ve been training him and keeping him in and keeping him real brave and he was very ready for this race.”
Keystone Velocity, who won the $500,000 Ben Franklin on July 1, now has $644,250 earned this season to bring his career totals to 26 wins and over $1.1 million earned.
The veteran pacer was supplemented to the ‘Pacing Derby’ last Monday by his owners Allard Racing Inc, Kapildeo Singh and VIP Internet Stable LLC.
Although he currently resides and races south of the border, Simon Allard was thrilled to have the opportunity to come back to Canada and compete in Canada’s oldest harness race.
“I’m glad my brother put him in the Canadian Pacing Derby, it’s like a dream come true for me to get to race him,” Allard shared. “I used to be in the dorm back in the day as a groom and saw Real Desire and Four Starzzz Shark race in that race and now I’m in it.
“It’s really a cool time right now and I’m really enjoying it.”
Keystone Velocity equaled his career-mark with his 1:48.2 mile on Saturday. The Allard trainee paid $6.90 to win.
The second elimination was the opposite of the first, as Ron Burke trainee Rockin Ron blew the doors off his rivals by going coast to coast in a career-best 1:47.2.
Driven by Louis Philippe Roy for the first time, Rockin Ron shot out from post-four to grab the early lead and posted opening-fractions of :26.3 and :54.3. Stablemate Check Six committed first-up on the far turn from fourth, but couldn’t make up much ground, as Roy let Rockin Ron blaze a :26.4 third-quarter.
There was no stepping off the gas pedal in the stretch, as Rockin Ron pulled away from two-hole resident Sintra to win by 3 ½ lengths. McWicked finished third, while Check Six and Rockeyed Optimist rounded out the top-five.
“The only word I had before the race was Yannick (Gingras) told me he was a nice horse and you can do anything you want with (him),” said Roy post-race. “I just sat behind him and was a passenger and he was strong in the last-quarter.”
Rockin Ron was coming into Saturday’s contest off a solid second-place finish in the Roll With Joe last Sunday at Tioga.
The ‘Pacing Derby’ elimination score gives the Burke trainee six wins in 20 starts this season, 26 victories overall and pushes him passed the $800,000 mark in career earnings. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and RTC Stables Inc.
Rockin Ron paid $12.40 to win.
The post positions for next Saturday’s $615,000 final were drawn immediately following the eliminations. Keystone Velocity and Rockin Ron earned the right to select their posts.
The Canadian Pacing Derby will highlight a stakes packed card next Saturday (September 2) at Mohawk. Post time is 7:30 p.m.
Here is the field for the $615,000 Canadian Pacing Derby.
2. Keystone Velocity
3. Easy Lover Hanover
4. Rockin Ron
5. Rockeyed Optimist
6. All Bets Off
7. Nirvana Seelster
8. Dealt A Winner
10. Check Six
AE: Lyons Snyder