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MacIntosh On His 'Balanced' Attack

Published: August 20, 2021 4:21 pm ET

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Blake MacIntosh is the only trainer to have three entries in the Balanced Image Trot eliminations and he is set up to have a good chance at having at least one of them earning a spot into the finals. His two-year-old trotters have been training well so far this week and he sees no reason they can’t all make it into the finals. “They seem good this week. Hopefully, we can get them all into the final.”

The eliminations for the 2021 Balanced Image Trot are slated for Saturday (Aug. 21) at Hanover Raceway. The top four finishers from each of the two $5,000 eliminations, carded as Saturday's fifth and eighth races, will advance to the $40,000A final on August 28.

MacIntosh’s only entry in the first elimination is Stonebridge Zeus, a colt that hasn't quite had the start to his season that his trainer and co-owner had envisioned. “He’s been okay. He’s not as good as we would have liked. He got sick in the spring and that held him back. He's just catching up.”

In four starts this year for MacIntosh and co-owners Van Camp Trotting Corp. of Port Perry, Ont. and Mortgage Boys Stable of Fayetteville, N.Y., Stonebridge Zeus (Resolve - Stonebridge Epic) has only won once, a 2:02 win at Hiawatha Horse Park. After a delayed start to his year, MacIntosh thinks he will be able to bounce back as time goes on. The colt most recently finished a deceptively good fourth in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots action at Kawartha Downs on August 7, and has post three on Saturday.

“He would have been better last week [at Kawartha] but blew a tire that cost him being closer. He’s the most talented of the three and should be good on Saturday.”

Feel The Force is MacIntosh’s other colt that is entered in the Balanced Image eliminations and has drawn post six in the second elimination. He has only finished outside the top-three once in his four starts, sporting a 1-1-1 summary for MacIntosh and co-owners Steve Heimbecker of Waterloo and Van Camp Trotting Corp.

A son of Resolve - Serenas Genie, Feel The Force’s only win came in an OSS Grassroots race at Woodbine Mohawk Park in a time of 2:00.2. MacIntosh has high hopes that his colt can get the job done. “He’s a fast little guy although he gets rowdy at times. He’s got speed and a good gait. He should be really good on Saturday.” He goes into the race as the morning line 2-1 favourite.

The dark horse of the Balanced Image Trot elims is Global News, a perfect one-for-one in her career and in action at Hanover Raceway. In her career debut on August 14, she won her OSS Grassroots assignment in 2:04.1.

MacIntosh co-owns Global News (Archangel - Going Global) with Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, Penn. and Stuart McIntosh of Essex, Ont. She's 4-1 on the morning line in the second elim, and would be just the second filly to beat the boys should she advance to next week's final and emerge victorious. The only other filly to win the Balanced Image Trot Final was Aphrodite Duke in 2019.

According to MacIntosh, Global News had some issues coming into her stakes season but the trainer feels confident in her ability and sees no reason why she can’t compete against the boys. “She’s entering against the boys, so she’ll have to go faster but she does have the speed. She’s had a problem with her feet, but we have been working on that. I think she can leave and get a good spot.”

While the MacIntosh trio has all found the winner's circle coming into Saturday and many of the young horses that comprise the competition have not, MacIntosh doesn't necessary see that winning experience as that much of an advantage. “I don’t think gives us an edge. They have been racing good but there is some tough competition in there,” said the trainer, noting his horses have enough half-mile track education to be comfortable with it. “They should be okay on the half-mile. They train on a tight track, and they get around it fine.”

Trevor Henry will be in the bike for both of MacIntosh’s colts, and there is some familiarity there to give the veteran reinsman an idea of what's between the shafts come Saturday afternoon. “Trevor drove my two colts last week and he liked them both, so he decided to stick with them.” Jody Jamieson will pilot the filly, and he too has some familiarity with her. Jamieson had a stakes engagement with older pacer Sintra in the 2021 Dan Patch Stakes last Friday, necessitating a driver change last Saturday. “Jody drove Global News in her qualifier and since he’s back from Indiana he wanted to drive her again for me.”

Stakes races such as the Balanced Image Trot give not only young horses but lower-tiered horses a chance to compete for bigger purses. After winning a Balanced Image elimination in 2020 with Arch Hall, who was then scratched sick from the final, MacIntosh is excited about the chance to compete in this event in 2021 and he feels it's a great addition to the Ontario stakes schedule.

“It’s a great program. It’s a great race for two-year-old trotters. It gives the second-tier trotters a chance at some money. We hope everything goes right and they always do a good job of promoting them. Always a good crowd at Hanover Raceway on Saturdays.”

First post time for Hanover Raceway's Saturday card is 1:30 p.m. (EDT). To view the entries for Saturday's card, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Hanover Raceway

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Trey Colbeck)

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