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Sports Chic Propels Career Year

Published: October 10, 2014 9:35 am ET

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"She looked the most like Rainbow Blue out of any horse that's come out of that mare. That's why I fell in love with her; she was a twin to her."

Trainer Blake MacIntosh is en route for a career-best year in purses earned. Part of the reason for that has to be the impeccable record he had with his 2013 yearling selections. He went into 2014 with 17 yearlings; he qualified and raced all 17.

Leading the way for the Waterdown, Ont. resident is pacing filly Sports Chic, the 7-2 favourite in Saturday night's Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack. A closer look at the Sportswriter filly shows that he wasn't the listed buyer at the 2013 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale -- that was Joe and Joann Thomson's Bay Pond Racing Stable -- but he was on the ownership papers during the sale.

"I was the underbidder on her," MacIntosh told Trot Insider. "I looked at her before the sale and I loved her. I don't usually pay that much for horses. I went to $33,000 and thought I had the bid at $35,000 but when they dropped the hammer it was out back and I was lucky enough it was Mr. Thomson.

"I've had horses with Mr. Thomson in the past, and I had talked with Garrett Bell (Winbak Farm's General Manager) and said I'd be really interested in taking a part of her and train her. We came to an agreement at Lexington; I took a quarter of her and they kept three-quarters of her because they want her for breeding purposes later on."

With this pedigree, it should come as no surprise that both Winbak and MacIntosh were keen on Sports Chic. A sister to the incomparable race mare Rainbow Blue and, according to MacIntosh, she was "a beautiful filly" and the yearling closest to Rainbow Blue from that family in quite some time.

"I look at a lot of yearlings -- at Lexington I looked at over half the sale -- so I knew what the last ones [out of Vesta Blue Chip] had looked like and they were all small and didn't look like Rainbow Blue at all. "

That beauty wasn't without talent. Training down, Sports Chic showed the trainer that she might be more than just a beautiful filly.

"I'd say in February, early March I told my Assistant Trainer Mike Pennington that this was the best horse I've ever had. We have two other nice fillies, Doctor Terror and Macarena Mama, and [Sports Chic] could sit last and just circle them," noted MacIntosh. "The other two are nice but there's just something about could do whatever you wanted with her and she always had her nose in the front at the end."

That will to win has translated into a fabulous freshman campaign with a 5-3-0 summary in nine starts including a lifetime best 1:54.2 mile at Georgian Downs.

Sports Chic's last start on September 29 is the only blemish on her otherwise spotless OSS resume, a seventh place finish. It's the only time she's finished worse than second. What happened there?

"I don't know; I was sitting at dinner with Garrett Bell in Lexington and we were watching it, and I just about threw up," confessed MacIntosh. "I couldn't believe that she stopped like that. We pulled her blood; she tied up a little and she was a little sick...nothing major, though. Jody [Jamieson] thought maybe he shut her air off in the first turn when they all jammed up.

"She trained [Wednesday] morning and you couldn't have asked her to train any better. She seems to be the way she should be for the final. We drew the 10 hole, it's going to be tough but hopefully we can overcome it."

On Saturday, MacIntosh and Jamieson have the outside spot on the gate in the seventh race. Macintosh is seeking his first Super Final win; he was second to Love Canal with Kims Royal Day in 2012 and is keen to add some Super Final hardware to his mantle.

"We won the Standardbred and a couple of other stakes this year but winning the Super Final would be a highlight, for sure."

In the event of a solid performance in Saturday's Super Final, MacIntosh has one more start in mind for Sports Chic.

"If she wins and is in good shape we'll take her to the Breeders Crown, and that will be my first Breeders Crown starter."

Quickly recognizing the amount of time between those possible starts, MacIntosh doesn't think the break will hurt his filly.

"I think she can go with them. In her only start against the Open company she finished second, and she sort of got locked in there. She deserves a shot, she's been a good filly and as long as she races good on Saturday night we'll go from there."

While MacIntosh has branched out with more U.S.-bred stock in recent years, he's concentrating more on just stakes horses both North and South of the border.

"When things started to look better up here, I really honed in on just racing stakes horses down there -- I don't have a stable down there anymore. I just race out of Ontario and ship from here."

MacIntosh will likely have a few more yearlings than the 17 we went into this season with, estimating that after Forest City and Harrisburg he'll have around 20, putting his total stable around 33 horses. The majority of those horses will be Ontario-breds.

"Ontario's got the best program, by far. Pennsylvania is good, New York is OK but Ontario's the best. The next couple of years, I'm just going to try to keep Ontario-breds because there's no program like ours."

The OSS Super Final races have been carded as Race 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10. To view the entries, click here. For a free, printable program page, courtesy of TrackIT, click here.

In addition to all of the exciting races on track, there will be a multitude of activities to enjoy off track, including EquiMania, a youth education program presented by the University of Guelph. Designed to delight horse enthusiasts of all ages, EquiMania features games, workbooks, fun materials and true to life displays and offers a unique hands-on adventure into the wonderful world of horses.

It will be a jam-packed evening at the Campbellville racetrack on October 11, with lots of entertainment for the family, live music, contests, exhibits, great food and of course, some outstanding racing by the very best colts and fillies in the province.

The fun will begin at 5:30 p.m. with racing starting at 7:25. Admission and parking are free.

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