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Sights Set On Maple Leaf Repeat

Published: March 6, 2015 2:02 pm ET

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With two O’Brien Award titles and three nominations in three years, millionaire trotter Intimidate doesn’t have a lot to prove anymore. But he won’t be resting on his laurels in 2015.

Trainer Luc Blais had him back jogging in mid-January and is preparing the six-year-old gelding for a campaign likely to begin in May, a little later than last year. It’s by choice, not because of the difficult winter.

“His year ended quite late, in November (with his win in the TVG at the Meadowlands), so at this point I’m thinking to have him qualified by mid-May,” Blais said. “I don’t see us in the early stake (the Cutler at The Meadowlands in early May) this time.”

The main objective again this year will be Mohawk’s Maple Leaf Trot, the race where he knocked off Sebastian K last year at huge odds.

“That was special, a victory in a prestigious race, at home. You always want to win at home. He wasn’t 100 per cent going into the eliminations but he responded so well in the final.”

The Breeders Crown and TVG also are on the radar again for 2015.

Blais said Intimidate’s best weapon was and remains his quick acceleration. “He can change tempo from a quarter in :29 to :26 or :27 very quickly, and he’s competitive."

Receiving the 2014 O’Brien award for champion older trotter wasn’t quite as emotional as the first one for champion three-year-old trotter in 2012, Blais said, “but it was gratifying and motivating all the same. It reminds you how exceptional the year had been. I was happy for the owners, Mr. (Serge) Godin and Mrs. (Judy) Farrow, and for the whole team. Getting an award energizes you, gives you a buzz for the new season. You want to relive it."

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)

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