Returning to the racetrack after his 2013 season was cut short due to an injury, millionaire pacer Thinking Out Loud won his 2014 qualifying debut on Friday for Hall of Fame horseman Bob McIntosh.
Driven by Randy Waples, Thinking Out Loud sat fifth through early fractions of :28 and :58.4 before moving up alongside the pacesetting Blissfull Years at the 1:28.2 third quarter station. The McIntosh homebred then kicked home in :28.3 to win in 1:57 flat at Woodbine Racetrack. Solar Surprise came on to finish a half-length behind in second while pocket-sitter Summons edged by Blissfull Years for third.
After pulling off a 23-1 upset in the 2013 U.S. Pacing Championship in a career-best 1:47.2 mile, Thinking Out Loud was headed for the Canadian Pacing Derby. However, McIntosh discovered the son of Ponder had sustained a bone bruise and was scratched from the eliminations.
After sitting out the stakes season, McIntosh resumed training Thinking Out Loud in November in preparation for his Spring debut.
Thinking Out Loud has won 11 of his 33 lifetime starts, including the 2012 Pepsi North America Cup, and has banked over $1.4 million in purses. He is owned by McIntosh, C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc.
Nine-year-old millionaire pacer Dali earned his second qualifying win during Woodbine's Friday session in 1:53.4 with Luc Ouellette aboard for trainer Isaac Waxman and Equus Standardbreds Inc. The stallion won his first qualifier in over three years last Friday in 1:55.3.
Stateside, world champion Sevruga was making his third qualifying start of his six-year-old campaign and front-stepped his way to a 1:53.1 three length victory over Modest Prince at Meadowlands Racetrack for Andy and Julie Miller. The 2013 Arthur J. Cutler and John Cashman Jr. Memorial champion had bone chip surgery that forced him to miss the end of last year. He is owned by Kdm Stables Corp.