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McIntosh’s tailor-made trotters set for Semi-Finals
Bob McIntosh will start a quartet of custom-made trotters in Thursday’s two-year-old Grassroots Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park, qualifying A Royal Line and Judge Ken in the trotting colt division and Splurge On Me and Nifty Trick in the trotting filly category.
A Royal Line finished the regular season with a record of three wins in four Grassroots starts, good enough for second in the point standings, with Judge Ken not far behind in fourth. Splurge On Me leads the trotting fillies into the Semi-Final with a record of two wins in five starts for 133 points, and Nifty Trick comes in tied for fourteenth. In addition to being trained by the Hall of Fame horseman, all four youngsters were also bred by McIntosh and his partners.
“I don’t know, it’s just, it happened,” said McIntosh of this year’s success in the freshman trotting ranks. “When I breed them all and they come out of the field, that’s what you get, you’ve got to deal with them. I don’t get to go to the sale and pick out the best ones. Whatever comes out of the field is it.
“But I’m still open for business if somebody wants to send me some store-bought ones,” he added with a laugh.
In rein to Guelph resident Paul MacDonell, A Royal Line will kick off Thursday’s Semi-Final action in the second race, lining up at Post 2, alongside division point leader Royale Elite who will start from Post 1.
“I like my colt,” said McIntosh, who shares ownership of A Royal Line with Dave Boyle of Bowmanville and Mardon Stables of Loretto, Ontario. “He’s got a great personality and a great attitude and a great gait. I’m not saying we can beat the other horse, but he’ll make a good account of himself. I think it will be a good match up.”
Both sons of Royalty For Life, A Royal Line and Royale Elite head into Thursday’s test from the Sept. 12 Grassroots event at Grand River Raceway. Royale Elite was an easy 2:02.4 winner in his division, while A Royal Line finished third to LA Magic in a 2:01.2 mile. Ninth-ranked LA Magic will challenge the point leaders from Post 4 in the first $20,000 trotting colt Semi-Final.
Judge Ken will start from Post 7 in the second trotting colt Semi-Final, slated as Race 7, and McIntosh is hoping the son of Justice Hall and Barbie And Ken can mind his manners and advance to the Sept. 29 Championship. The youngster made an early break in the Grand River event and finished third behind Royale Elite.
“A couple of starts ago (July 31) they left with him out of the 10-hole and after that he got a little bit wound-up, so it’s just a matter of getting him relaxed again. As far as his gait and his soundness it’s good, so I wouldn’t rule him out,” noted the trainer. “He’s his own worst enemy, he gets a little bit hyper, but there’s nothing wrong with his ability.”
McIntosh, Boyle and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio bred and own Judge Ken, who will be driven by Elora resident Bob McClure.
Trotting filly Splurge On Me will be hampered by the outside Post 10 in the third race, but McIntosh is optimistic that the division leader can still advance to the $50,000 final.
“I think the 10-hole is a big handicap,” admitted McIntosh. “But she’s good; she trained good the other day. So I don’t know if we can win it, but hopefully we will make it into the final and draw a little better, because she’s a sweetheart of a filly.”
Louis Philippe Roy will steer Splurge On Me, who heads into the Semi-Final off an effortless three and one-half length victory in the Sept. 11 regular season finale at Woodbine Mohawk Park, clocked in a personal best 1:58.4. McIntosh and C S X Stables bred and own the daughter of Kadabra and Urge To Splurge.
Nifty Trick finished up the regular season with four thirds in five Grassroots appearances and will start from Post 7 in the second trotting filly Semi-Final with Louis Philippe Roy in the race bike.
“You know what, she’s kind of coming around,” says the trainer. “She was a little wound up training too, but she seems to have settled down, so she could be anything.”
McIntosh and Boyle bred and own the daughter of Kadabra and Cash Is Best.
Whether his full trotting contingent advances to the Sept. 29 Grassroots Championship or not, McIntosh expects all four to continue their development through the winter and return to Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) action as three-year-olds.
“There’s no doubt about it, when you’ve got good two-year-olds you look for good three-year-olds. The last couple years I haven’t had those, but this is a good bunch of two-year-olds,” said the eight-time winner of the Johnston Cup as the top trainer in the OSS program. “I’ve got 27 yearlings coming in this year, homebreds, so if they show some promise it’s going to make it good for the next couple years.”
The two-year-old Grassroots Semi-Finals, worth a total of $160,000, will take place in Races 2, 3 and 7 through 12 on Woodbine Mohawk Park’s Thursday, Sept. 20 program, which gets under way at 7:10 pm. The top five finishers from each Semi-Final will advance to next week’s Grassroots Championships at the Campbellville oval.
For complete entries visit Woodbine Mohawk Park Entries — Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018