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Record Setting Finish In Balanced Image

BalancedImage2011DeadHeatIr.jpg

Published: August 28, 2011 1:21 am ET

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Just like the race’s namesake, the $56,000 Balanced Image Trot Saturday night at Hanover Raceway was a record setter.

This year's edition not only produced a new stakes record and a new two-year-old trotting track record, but it was the first time in the seven-year history of the race that it finished in a dead-heat.

Fillies Dayplanner (Paul Walker), undefeated in her first four starts, and Victoriacrest (Tom Smith) were first to the quarter pole in :30 seconds flat, but the boys proved to be too much for the girls.

Strike The Cheque and Ross Battin advanced to the top from third before the half in 1:00.1 and continued to lead the field past three-quarters in 1:30.2 and into the stretch. Following Southwind Nazareth (Scott Coulter) three-wide from fifth, Keystone Orion and driver Dave Boughton, the fastest elimination winners, rallied home and hit the wire with Strike The Cheque in 2:00.1.

The time of the mile bested the stakes and track record by four-fifths of a second, which was established by Im Classy and Gord Rayner back in the inaugural Balanced Image Trot in 2005.

Dayplanner finished third with Southwind Nazareth fourth and the other elimination winner, Gus Is All Lane (George Zirnis), finishing 14 lengths in arrears and earning the final paycheque.

Strike The Cheque, a runner-up in his elimination to Keystone Orion, is trained by Mike Keeling, who shares ownership with Ronald Keeling of Owen Sound, Ont., and Paula Wellwood of Cambridge, Ont. The win was the Striking Sahbra-Cheque Lavec colt's fourth in seven starts and lifted his bankroll to $65,775.

Keystone Orion, a gelded son of Angus Hall-Ozone Hanover with a matching 4-2-0 record in seven starts, is trained and owned by Donald Lindsey of Fergus, Ont. His earnings climbed to $62,100.

Balanced Image caretaker Doug Nash was in the winner's circle to help hand out the trophy and said hopefully this finish will encourage even more entries in the future.

Hanover Raceway General Manager Gord Dougan said he was happy with the large crowd that came out to watch the final.

122 horses made the nomination payment to this year’s event back in April, but only 19 horses paid the starting fee.

Dougan said he hopes the purse and the excitement of racing in front of a large crowd will also encourage more owners to enter their horses into the Balanced Image Trot in the future. The track is considering splitting the Balanced Image Trot into separate colt and filly championships in 2012, he added.

For results from Saturday's harness racing card, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Hanover Raceway.

(With files from Hanover Raceway)


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