12/16/2017 1:24AM

Bergman: Winter at The Meadowlands likely not in the cards for Allard

Lisa Photo
Driver Simon Allard said the only definite is a trip to Miami Valley for the Driver Challenge in January.

Simon Allard has been having success at The Meadowlands this fall but the driver didn’t seem to have himself positioned to hang around East Rutherford through this winter. “I really haven’t made up my mind yet,” said Allard.

Allard got some notice this year and has caused some social media tidal waves with his Superman outfit riding Herve Filion-style after his Ben Franklin win in July. More recently he set off a Facebook frenzy when he apparently seemed to take a shot at Meadowlands management when Springsteen captured a Governors Cup elimination.

“I think racing can get kind of boring,” Allard said while contemplating his next steps. “I just like to have fun out there. When I’m down at Chester (Harrah’s Philadelphia) and I walk in and see Tim (Tetrick) and David (Miller), I always pass them and tell them that I’m better than they are. It may not be true but I have the confidence to believe in myself.”

Allard’s confidence and mounts have led him to over $4.3 million in purse earnings this year, the best of his career. “I’ve raced primarily at Pocono and Chester and I’ll be back next year,” said Allard. In the interim the driver expects to perhaps take a little time off to rest and relax around family either in Quebec or Florida, or perhaps both.

“I’ll definitely be in the Miami Valley Driving Challenge,” Allard said about the January 7 to 9 event. “Maybe if I win the $10,000 first prize I’ll be able to pay some bills and take more time off.”

Realistically, Allard is looking for a place to land that offers a steady racing schedule and that may in fact wind up being Miami Valley. “My daughter lives in Delaware (Ohio) and I would like to be close to her,” Allard said.

As for racing at The Meadowlands, Allard’s antics have raised the eyebrows of more than just the social media crowd. He was recently asked to play down his in-race behavior following his most recent exhibition this past Saturday.

“It was a boring race,” said Allard of the first race on the snow-filled card that scratched down to just four horses. Allard’s horse, the 4-5 favorite Show Me Up, drew off from the competition and Allard felt the need to add some color to the line-up race. “I leaned back with my arm behind my neck like I was getting a tan,” said Allard, who admitted that he’s been working on some other impromptu performances.

While the Meadowlands may not be his winter calling, Allard does like racing on the big track. “I’d prefer to race on the big track. If you have a horse with speed you can get in position to win. When you race on the five-eighths and someone gets to the three quarters in 1:21, there’s no way to catch them,” Allard said.

Allard’s colorful personality goes well back to when he was in Toronto as a groom and was very close to Anthony MacDonald’s family. “I was just a groom back then and it wasn’t until I was 23 (years old) that I got my license, but I always talked that I was going to be a great driver with my buddies. They called me the French Phenom before I ever started driving,” said Allard, with an obvious sense of humor and self.

From 2017 Allard will always recall his biggest racetrack moment when he guided Keystone Velocity to victory in the Ben Franklin. “It was a big thing to have Herve Filion’s family there that night. He had just died and I wanted to do something to honor his memory,” said Allard of his post-race stand-in-the-sulky performance. “Brandon (Filion) is one of my closest friends and it was very special celebrating that weekend.”

While many have questioned the lackluster performance of Springsteen in the Governor’s Cup final, Allard, his driver, was more critical of his drive.

“Looking back, I drove him like it didn’t matter where we were positioned and that he could just go by everyone after coming home in 25 and change,” Allard said. “I probably should have been more aggressive with him and come up first over.”

Allard is hoping that Springsteen returns next year and according to the driver the soon-to-be sophomore had a chip taken out of an ankle following the Governor’s Cup. “I think he was raced smart as a 2-year-old and should come back even better next year,” said Allard, who figures to be a driving force again on the national scene in 2018.