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Henry Sweeps Balanced Image Colt Elims

Published: September 2, 2012 2:20 am ET

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Elimination for the eighth annual Balanced Image Trot were contested at Hanover Raceway Saturday night and for the first time in the stakes’ history, the event was split by sex into three colt eliminations and two for the fillies.

Trevor Henry stole the show in the colt division, as he swept all three eliminations. Henry’s first trip to the winner’s circle on the night was in race two when Ken Warkentin son Eat Pray Trot managed to upset the post-time favourite North York.

Eat Pray Trot is trained by Henry’s wife Shannon and won in wire-to-wire fashion over splits of :28.4, 1:00.1, 1:30.1 and 2:00.1, equalling the Hanover track record for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings, held by Strike The Cheque and Keystone Orion.

After the race, the trainer said she knew her colt was capable of big speed.

“He raced pretty good in Woodstock, but the race at Georgian didn’t go his way, but I knew we could trot pretty good."

Henry went on to credit Eat Pray Trot’s connections, Robert Rooney and Donna Weaver (1035840 Ontario Inc.) of Arthur, Ont.

“These owners have been really good to the Henry family for 40 years and we’ve had a lot of good horses with them,” he said.

The colts were back on track in race eight and Henry managed to capture that division while employing different tactics aboard Ballykeel Pegasus. With a backstretch move before the three-quarter mile station sweeping from sixth to just edge out You Rock My World and Bruce Richardson in 2:03.3. Richard Moreau trains the Pegasus Spur son for Ballykeel Racing of Tillsonburg, Ont.

Henry stuck around in the winner’s circle to comment on the race and gave a critique of his own decisions.

“I likely should’ve pulled sooner and come first over, but in the end he just got there in time," he said. "It’s always nice to win, but it’s good to get these colts into the final.”

Henry went on to say his driving assignment in next week’s final was set in stone.

“I think I have to drive the other one because my wife trains him,” joked Henry, a seven-time winner of the leading dash title at Hanover Raceway.

Had that decision not been so clear, the 10th race would have only made things trickier as Henry completed the elimination triple with Bambino Babe. Henry stick-handled the Muscle Mass rookie in the backstretch before emerging as a late stretch winner in 2:02 for trainer-owner Norm Dunstan of Caledon Village, Ont.

Things were a little more hectic in the filly division. In the first elimination, the overwhelming public choice Legzy never got into the race despite leaving from the rail. Random Majority benefitted from that filly’s poor showing by making the front and staying there to win in 2:01.2 with Steve Byron driving for trainer John Bax. The Duke Of York filly is owned by Parkhill Stud Farm and Matthew Bax of Peterborough, Ont.

“I knew she has pretty good gate speed so I wanted to try to get to the front," said Byron after the race. "I didn’t think I’d get there quite as easy as we did, but the race worked out.”

The Byron-Bax duo have already teamed up to win Hanover Raceway’s three-year-old trotting stake this year, as Summer Indian took lion’s share of the $100,000 Dream Of Glory, and they will now look to get the stakes double in the $36,000 Balanced Image final on September 8.

On their chances of achieving that feat, Byron could only muster a modest reply, admitting “it would be nice.”

The other filly elimination was somewhat controversial as Princess Lilly, driven by Mario Baillargeon, made a wild break in stride heading into the first turn. The scattered field allowed Bruce Richardson and Pointe De Vue to set the pace over fractions of :30.2, 1:01.3 and 1:31.3 to the three-quarter marker. However, Princess Lilly showed huge ability to recover and took a late stretch lead to win in 2:01.2. Despite two separate driver’s objections, Princess Lilly remained the official winner and heads into next week’s $38,000 final as a wild card of sorts.

The Muscle Mass filly is trained by Ben Baillargeon for owner Les Ecuries Piramidan of Gatineau, Que.

The Balanced Image finals headline a huge day of racing at Hanover Raceway on September 8, all part of the 10th annual All Trot Night. The event is North American harness racing’s only full card of trotting races and will also feature divisions of Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots three-year-old fillies, and the Walker Memorial Invitation. The I Love Canadian Horse Racing Fan Club will be in attendance, along with a host of promotions including Celebrity Horse pictures with former OSS star and Hanover Raceway trotting track record holder Abbey Road C, as well as draws for the Red Carpet Round Trip to either the Grassroots or Gold OSS Super Finals. Post time Saturday night is 7:15 p.m.

Here is a look at the field for the Balanced Image Trot finals in post position order:

$38,000 Colt Final

1. Change The Future
2. Ballykeel Pegasus
3. Massive Hit
4. P C Dream Ticket
5. You Rock My World
6. Eat Pray Trot
7. Home Brew
8. Bambino Babe

$36,000 Filly Final

1. Pointe De Vue
2. Torches Angel
3. Muscle Magic
4. Princess Lilly
5. Random Majority
6. P C Momma Mia
7. Legzy
8. Abs Muscle Hall

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Hanover Raceway.

(With files from Hanover Raceway)

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