Poof Recovers To Prevail In Balanced Image

Published: August 26, 2023 06:55 pm EDT

After seemingly spoiling his chance to break his maiden over his home track, Poof put forth a miraculous effort to capture the 2023 Balanced Image Trot on Saturday, Aug. 26 at Hanover Raceway.

Dismissed by the betting public at odds of 11-1, Poof wasn't given much support from the Hanover horseplayers. Many of those supporters likely gave up hope when driver Tom Smith lost the rookie trotter to a miscue behind the gate. When the horses reached the first turn, seven of them were in the frame of the video camera. Poof was not.

His chances improved, however, when three others rolled offstride in that first bend — including public choice Looks Like Amuscle (J. R. Plante), elim winner LMC Mr Squishy (Pat Hudon) and North Of Nine (Tyler Borth).

Smith settled Poof and the trotter quickly regained his composure to catch the field at the first quarter, albeit more than 10 lengths off tempo-setting Coppereagle (Trevor Henry). The 3-1 second choice carved out the early fractions of :29.4 and 1:01.1. At that point, sensing an outer flow from Eiffel Power (Bob McClure), James MacDonald vacated the pocket with Alexander to start the first-over attack on the leader.

Coppereagle didn't let Alexander go, maintaining rail control while Alexander tripped the third quarter marker in 1:31.2 while still in the two path. Eiffel Power was positioned second over, Stonebridge Glee (Travis Cullen) was losing momentum in the pocket, and Poof was positioned on McClure's helmet third over.

When Eiffel Power flipped three-wide, Smith angled Poof into the four path around the far turn. In the stretch, Alexander finally got the best of Coppereagle but he could not hold off the late charge of Poof. Under a hand drive from Smith, Poof powered past Alexander in the final strides to complete the amazing recovery and win by a length in 2:03.2. Eiffel Power completed the triactor ticket.

Smith told COSA TV's Robert Reid Jr. that he thought Poof was coming into the Balanced Image Trot in peak form, and the colt's performance showed that was clearly the case as notched his first ever win in the process.

"He worked really good this week. This is kind of his home track, so we worked him here three of four times. We worked him really good over here once, too," said Smith with a smile.

"He's not used to running," said Smith about the early bobble, "so he came right back. It was kind of my fault, I shouldn't have tried to start him up as early as I did.

"Coming off the turn, it looked like the first ones in front were kind of lagging a little bit. I pulled the plugs and he usually knows how to go when I pull them."

Poof (Lookslikeachpndale - Mirado) is owned by the husband and wife team of trainer Jayne Walker and driver Smith of Holland Centre, Ont. With his first win, Poof now sports a 1-1-1 summary from six starts with earnings of $20,390.

It was a near sweep of the Saturday stakes events for female trainers with women winning three of the four Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events for three-year-old filly pacers on the Balanced Image undercard.

Susie Kerwood doubled up in OSS action, winning the single $21,400 division with Uncontrolled. The daughter of Control The Moment - Scarlett O Terror demolished her rivals, winning by more than eight lengths in a time of 1:55.3 — the fastest of the four divisions. Doug McNair engineered the winning trip, her second win of the season in career-best time, for owners Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, Pa. and Tom Fanning of Jackson, N.J. She paid $6 to win.

McNair and Kerwood also teamed up with Sweetest Belle ($2.20) in the final $21,800 division. Her win margin was almost as impressive — 6-1/2 lengths — and her win time just just a few ticks slower at 1:56.1. Surely owners Frank Brundle of East Garafraxa, Ont. and Gordon Lyons of Georgetown, Ont. are just as pleased that their filly by Sportswriter out of My Secret Belle garnered the lion's share of the purse for the fifth time in 17 seasonal starts.

The first Grassroots division of the card went to Mending Fences, a wire-to-wire winner in 1:56.2. Mending Fences (Artspeak - Bridge To Tomorrow) is co-owned by her driver Anthony Haughan of Cambridge, Ont. and her trainer, Meg Crone of Cambridge. The win was her sixth of the season in nine starts, and she paid $8.90 to win on this occasion.

Twin Delight was also a wire-to-wire winner in her Grassroots division, delivering as the 4-5 choice with a facile 1:56.3 score for driver Bob McClure, trainer Shawn Steacy and owner Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, Pa. Twin Delight (Bettors Delight - Twin B Cheeks) paid $3.70 to win on Saturday afternoon, collecting her fifth win of the season and third in the last four starts.

To view the full results from Saturday's card of harness racing at Hanover, click the following link: Saturday Results - Hanover Raceway.

COSA TV's coverage of the Balanced Image card appears below.

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