The 8th edition of the Balanced Image stakes for harness racing two-year old trotters is set to kick off on Saturday night, and in the first year of the event being split by sex, there are some impressive entries into the 2012 running of the Balanced Image.
The fillies division is headlined by Legzy. The talentedfilly is trained by Rob Fellows and has drawn the coveted rail position in race three on Saturday's 12 race card with Trevor Henry slated to drive. Legzy has had a lot of early success in her career while competing in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold series.
Fellows knows he has a good filly, but somewhat credits the early success to good racing luck. "She's been the luckiest horse this year in my opinion. At the start of the year we didn't know if she would be a Grassroots or Gold horse but because the first Gold was at the owners' hometown track, we took her to Kawartha Downs. We were lucky enough to get good posts and win so that was perfect."
With $193,500 in seasonal earning, Legzy leads all Ontario Sires Stakes two-year old trotting fillies. She won the first Gold Final at Kawartha Downs on July 5th with a 1:59.0 lifetime best, capturing the $65,000 top prize.
Fellows says thefits into Legzy's schedule nicely and will be good to keep her ready and maintain her fitness. "There's no other race for her until October and then the Superfinal in November at Woodbine. It's a tough schedule so sometimes it's easier to keep them racing."
Fellows and the rest of Legzy's connections will be hoping not just to stay fit, but also to make some pretty decent cash in the added money event. "They don't just give the money out. Hopefully we can earn a spot in the final. It would be nice to be in it."
She'll have to watch for Random Majority who will be looking to spoil the party while extending the good times for trainer John Bax and driver Steve Byron who captured Hanover Raceway's biggest stakes event, the $100,000 Dream of Glory for three-year old trotters. Random Majority is a multiple winner with victories in the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots series, including a score at Hanover Raceway in June.
In the other division, top Grassroots filly Pointe De Vue will be looking to secure her spot in the final for trainer Christopher Beaver. She's coming off an August 15th Grassroots win at Grand River Raceway in 2:03.1. Beaver credits her success to some of the intangibles, noting she wasn't one of his best to train in the early going.
"She's very smart. She's honest and she does everything right in the race. She just knows how to win and that's how she's done well in the Grassroots. She's more of a half-mile track kind of horse, and the way she is on a smaller track, I think she's got a good shot," explained Beaver who will also send Hula Magic to the gate in the first fillies division.
Bruce Richardson will do the driving duties and will hope to steer Pointe De Vue past $40,000 in seasonal earnings and into the main event on September 8th.
2011 co-winning driver Dave Boughton will also pilot a contender in the second division of rookie fillies with Abs Muscle Hall looking to overcome the outside post for trainer Nelson White. Boughton has steered themiss to both her Grassroots wins, including a 2:01.1 trip in the most recent Grassroots stop at Grand River Raceway. White will be hoping his charge can handle the Hanover oval better this time around after a disappointing 7th place finish in her July 21st Grassroots start.
Trainer Nelson White explained Boughton earned the drive on Abs Muscle Hall after qualifying the filly at Grand River. "Dave got her qualified for me so I left him down to drive the next start. He gets along good with her and it's been a good fit."
White also gave a little insight on how this filly has gotten where she is. "She came up from Indiana and went unsold at the Flamboro Yearling sale, but the owners left her up here to be trained after the sale."
The results have been pretty good recently, but White still has some concerns. "With two-year old trotting fillies there's always a bit of worry. The half-mile track shouldn't be a problem. She's won at both Dresden and Grand River. She's only raced once under the lights though, and that was in Hanover when she made a break. There's so much to think about with a two-year old, so hopefully she can handle racing at night."
White hopes his filly can overcome not only the nighttime atmosphere, but the seven hole as well en route to a berth in the final.
eliminations will take place on Saturday night with the fillies going postward in races 3 and 5. Then, the finals will take place Saturday, September 8th as part of the tenth annual All-Trot Night. The event is the only full card of trotting races in North America, and will also feature Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots three-year old trotting fillies, and the Walker Memorial Invitation.
Legzy winning her Gold Final at Kawartha Downs
by Andrew Hughes