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MacIntosh Trainees Impress At Qualifiers

Published: May 28, 2020 8:30 am ET

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After a two-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, qualifying action returned to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday, May 28. An 11-race morning session welcomed Ontario horsepeople, who were more than pleased to be back on the Campbellville track.

The majority of the horses that participated in the session were three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The track was rated 'good' and a one-second variant was applied.

Trainer Blake MacIntosh's barn thrived over the course during the morning session, as four of his pupils put forth impressive winning performances.

The MacIntosh-trained and James MacDonald-driven Groovy Joe took the spotlight in Race 7, as the Roll With Joe colt put forth multiple moves before powering home to a sharp win. The bay left from Post 6, yielded the lead at the :28.4 quarter pole, but retook the point at the :58.1 half-mile indicator. Groovy Joe passed the three-quarters pole in 1:26.3 before cranking things up in the stretch. He dug in through the lane with a :26.2 final quarter en route to a solid 1:53 win for his connections.

"Groovy Joe, typical Groovy Joe. He only goes what he has to go," MacIntosh told Trot Insider after the session. "James asked for a bit in the last quarter and he marched on. Such a nice little horse, you can do whatever you want with him. James said he's just like driving a Cadillac, he does nothing wrong. I was super happy with him."

Groovy Joe compiled a solid 7-3-0 record from 10 starts last year and banked more than $230,000 in earnings for Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, Pennsylvania and trainer/co-owner Blake MacIntosh of St. George, Ontario. MacIntosh has more Grand Circuit aspirations for Groovy Joe in 2020.

“He’s matured a lot,” MacIntosh stated in an interview with Trot Insider earlier this month. “I think that’s a big reason why I’m so high on him. Last year he was a little small and a little frail, but this year he’s filled out a lot to a nice size. He’s the same size as 'Courtly' (Courtly Choice) now. He’s just got a little ‘go’ to him and a little fight. I like him, he’s just a really nice horse who just does everything right.”

After having watched Groovy Joe step to an impressive win, his stablemate, Beach Blanket Book, followed suit in Race 8. The Sportswriter colt also showed multiple moves in the tilt. Beach Blanket Book left, yielded the lead through the middle half, and came back on when it mattered. After fractions of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:26.1, Beach Blanket Book utilized a :26.3 final panel to hit the wire first in 1:52.4 for driver Doug McNair.

"Beach Blanket Book, Doug said he was good," noted his conditioner. "Steering good, he came home good. He had a good qualifier. Nice colt and I just hope everything keep going right."

Although Groovy Joe and Beach Blanket Book surely attracted much of the attention during the session, it was another MacIntosh trainee, A Positive Hanover, that recorded the fastest win time by a three-year-old on Thursday morning. The Captaintreacherous colt left with driver James MacDonald in Race 6, and the duo cut all the fractions (:29, :57.1, 1:24.3) before hitting the wire first in a sharp 1:51.4.

"A Positive was really good, I was really happy with him. James said he was wrapped up and he never really asked him. He's probably our third or fourth best, we thought, going in and he stepped up today so we're really happy with him."

In general, MacIntosh was pleased with the performance of his pupils on Thursday morning despite a lackluster effort from the highly-regarded Team Best.

"Team Best, he didn't fire today so we'll take a look and see what happened there. But the rest of them we were happy with...I think we won four qualifiers today so we were pretty happy with that. Great to be back on the track and hopefully it turns into some successful racing, that's all we can hope for."

While the trainer had good things to say about his stable's results on Thursday, he couldn't speak highly enough about just how good it felt to be back at the track with actual harness racing on the horizon.

"It felt really good. I'm very appreciative for everything that WEG and COSA and OR have done to get us back racing. Just to know that there's some light at the end of the tunnel. It felt so good to be there this morning."

To view the harness racing results for Mohawk's Thursday qualifying session, click the following link: Thursday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park (Qualifiers).

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