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McIntosh and McElroy take Georgian Downs by storm
October 20, 2002
By Sandra Snyder

INNISFIL, OCT. 20, 2002 — Fans found an easy recipe for doubling their money during the two-year-old pacing colt Grassroots events on Saturday night at Georgian Downs — take one colt trained by Bob McIntosh, put driver Don McElroy in the race bike, add $2, wait two minutes and collect $4.

McIntosh and McElroy captured four of five Grassroots divisions at the Innisfil oval, making a clear statement of their intention to win consecutive Johnston and Lampman Cup titles as the top trainer and driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program.

With just four weeks remaining on the provincial stakes schedule, McIntosh sits atop the Johnston Cup standings with 487 points, more than 100 points more than his nearest competitor. From 165 OSS starts the Windsor resident’s horses have logged 31 wins, 28 seconds, 26 thirds, 30 fourths and 13 fifths for earnings of $1,112,921. On the driver’s side McElroy’s lead is virtually insurmountable. From 144 starts the Ingersoll resident has driven horses to 31 wins, 21 seconds, 24 thirds, 26 fourths and five fifths for total earnings of $513,784, and has accumulated 379 Lampman Cup points.

The duo kicked off their two-man show in the first race when Tommys Luck easily disposed of pacesetter Pinstripe Poker to score the 1:57.1 victory. BJs Boomerang survived a trip around the outside to be second and Pinstripe Poker held on for third.

Bob Waxman of Ancaster owns Tommys Luck, who was a $72,00 yearling purchase at last fall’s Harrisburg, PA sale. The Camluck son made his racing debut in the Grassroots season opener at Quinte Raceway on July 1, posting an impressive 2:01.4 victory, took an unsuccessful run at the Gold Series colts on July 11 and then did not set foot on a racetrack again until a Sept. 18 qualifier. Since then he has a pair of wins and one third-place finish to his credit in three outings and looks to be a credible threat in the Grassroots Semifinal at Georgian Downs on Nov. 2.

Waxman also joined McIntosh and McElroy in the celebrations after Race 2 when Daylon Alert held off a hard charging Kuche to score his third Grassroots victory and move to the top of the division standings with 175 points. Leaving from Post 7 McElroy fired the Camluck colt off the gate and led the field through fractions of :27.4, :57.1 and 1:26.3 en route to the 1:58 victory over a track rated one second slower than normal. Fort Rustler challenged through the final turn but could only manage a third in the exciting finish that saw the top five horses finish within one and a half lengths of each other.

McElroy teamed Dream Rocket to the fastest win of the five Grassroots divisions in Race 6, hitting the wire four and a half lengths ahead of Video Express and Lexus Bandito in 1:56. McIntosh shares ownership on Dream Rocket with Dwight Stacey of Mitchell and former NHL defenseman Paul Ysebaert of Mooretown. The Pacific Rocket son was a Grassroots stalwart this season, competing in all six events and finishing up just five points behind his stablemate Daylon Alert in the point standings, with 170 points earned from three wins and one fourth-place finish.

Race 7 was the only division McIntosh and McElroy did not capture and fans wisely chose winner Lucky Jo as their top choice. The Camluck colt and driver Randy Fritz delivered a stand out performance from Post 7, leading wire-to-wire through fractions of :28.1, :59 and 1:28.1 and then sprinting home to the 1:56.3 victory. Apaches Champ finished six lengths back in second and Can You Tieitinabo was another length back in third spot.

Ed Howard trains Lucky Jo for Patricia Stable of Massapequa, NY and did not send the colt to the races until September. In five starts, including a shot at the Gold Series at Mohawk Racetrack where he finished eighth in the elimination and fourth in the $130,000 Final, the colt has accumulated three wins and $38,052.

Fittingly, McElroy and Jimmy Crack Cohen captured the final division with an impressive gate-to-wire effort in 1:58.1, crossing the wire six lengths up on runner-up Oil Patch and nine ahead of third-place finisher Run With Heart. McIntosh trains the Pacific Rocket son for owner-breeder Chester Waxman of Hamilton and has raced the youngster just seven times this season. The win bumped Jimmy Crack Cohen into fourth spot in the division standings with 132 points and gives McIntosh three of the top four point earners heading into the Nov. 2 Grassroots Final. The veteran conditioner has five colts qualified for the Semifinal and one sitting in the queue just below the top 16 waiting to see if any of the leaders fail to enter.

The top colts return to Georgian Downs on Nov. 2 for a pair of $30,000 Semifinals with the top four from each Semifinal earning a return trip to the Innisfil oval for the $100,000 Grassroots Championship on Nov. 9. Georgian Downs will play host to all four two-year-old divisions on Nov. 2 and 9. The pacing colts and fillies and trotting colts and fillies have all wrapped up their regular season and begin final preparations for the lucrative post season this week.