Hanover Raceway hosted its 10th annual All-Trot Card on Saturday and the night belonged to Mario Baillargeon.
The WEG circuit driver stopped by the Hanover, Ont. oval and clicked for four wins in a row on the 12-race card, including a track record victory in the $36,000 Balanced Image Trot for two-year-old fillies.
Princess Lilly behaved well behind the gate this week after some troubles in her elimination victory seven nights prior, and looked incredible in the win. The Muscle Mass miss shattered Blossom Seelster's track record of 2:00.1 for rookie trotting fillies by way of a 1:59.4 romp, winning by five lengths over Pointe De Vue and Muscle Magic.
The 2012 champion’s connections, trained Ben Baillargeon and owner Les Ecuries Piramidan of Gatineau, Que., praised their star for minding her manners and getting the job done in the final. The win pushed Princess Lilly to $41,000 in earnings, as she has carved out an impressive rookie campaign despite getting off to a late start.
Baillargeon capped off a four-win streak with the Balanced Image win, after he guided Kilted Pride and Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots sophomore fillies Dee Dee Pucker (2:01.1) and Elin (2:00.2) to wins in races two, three and four.
In the $38,000 Balanced Image Trot for the colts, local hopeful P C Dream Ticket notched his first career win at just the right time for trainer, owner and breeder Peter Clements of Dobbinton, Ont.
“With the purse like this tonight, it was the perfect time to get the win,” noted Clements post-victory.
Clements has waited a long time to win one of Hanover Raceway’s signature series and was thrilled to earn his first Balanced Image trophy.
Ross Battin was in the race bike for the Cornaro Dasolo colt’s historic win and was most opportunistic when the leader and post-time favourite Eat Pray Trot, driven by Trevor Henry, made a miscue in the stretch.
Eat Pray Trot led for most of the race after firing off from post six, and set fractions of :28.3, :59.1 and 1:30. Just as Henry looked to be en route to improving his colt’s track record time, Eat Pray Trot made a break in stride, leaving Battin and P C Dream Ticket there to pick up the pieces. P C Dream Ticket stopped the clock in 2:02.2. Massive Hit was a closing second and You Rock My World grabbed the show dough.
The 10th race on the night’s card went off as the 38th annual Walker Memorial Trot in memory of Allan and Viola Walker, and Long Ago grabbed winner’s share of the $15,000 purse. Bruce Richardson steered the seven-year-old Duke Of York gelding that used his blasting gate speed to make the front. He won by two lengths in 1:58.3.
After the race, Richardson commented on what winning the invitation race meant to him as a local driver.
“It’s always a special race at this track, and it’s a good one to win. I know the Walker family well and I drive a bit for some of them. It’s a race that means a lot to the people around this track so it’s definitely a good feeling to win it,” noted Richardson, who sits second in the Hanover Raceway driving ranks with 34 wins.
To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Hanover Raceway.
(With files from Hanover Raceway)