Sintra Seeks Another Canadian Classic

Published: August 11, 2022 11:59 am EDT

The Gold Cup & Saucer has welcomed a number of star performers over its illustrious history, but few have the accomplished resume in Canadian harness racing of pacing powerhouse Sintra.

The fields are set for the 2022 Gold Cup & Saucer trials. The three trials will take place over the weekend with two going Saturday and the final trial being held on Monday all at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park.

One horse that bettors and fans should keep an eye out for is Sintra, making his Maritime debut.  This nine-year-old gelding has had a long and profitable racing career.  He started racing in 2015 and, over the next several years, the son of Mach Three - Dancin Barefoot participated in some of North America’s most coveted stakes events and faced off against world class competition. In 2017, Sintra captured the richest pacing event in Canada for older horses, the Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk Racetrack, defeating an accomplished group of rivals that included recent Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee McWicked as well as triple millionaire All Bets Off, Rockin Ron, Nirvana Seelster, Keystone Velocity, Easy Lover Hanover, Check Six and Dealt A Winner. That victory helped Sintra garner national honours as Canada’s Older Pacing Horse of the Year in 2017.


One year later, he prevailed in the 2018 Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational where he won in 1:48, again beating McWicked as well as Jimmy Freight.

Now, Sintra, a winner of 39 career races with a mark of 1:47.2 and more than $1.5 million in earnings, finds himself in a new stable with new ownership as he was bought earlier this summer by Trot Insider caught up with co-founder Anthony MacDonald to discuss Sintra and what went behind purchasing the veteran warhorse. 

“We mostly have yearlings, but we have started buying more racehorses,” said MacDonald. “I’ve watched Sintra race for a really long time. He might be in the twilight of his career, but he still has a lot of good racing left. Since we bought him, he hasn’t finished outside the top three.”

After his great performances at Mohawk over his last few starts — including a win, a second and two thirds while pacing in the 1:50 range each time — it became apparent that Sintra could fit in well with the Gold Cup and Saucer crowd. 

“We were toying with the idea [of bringing] him home to P.E.I. We didn’t buy him for the Gold Cup and Saucer. We already had a horse to go into the Gold Cup and Saucer in Patrikthepiranha A but Sintra has been racing so good we thought it would be nice to give him the chance to race in it as well.”

Patrikthepiranha A will race in Monday night's trial. The Australian-bred son of Four Starzzz Shark – Thats The Spirit has been racing in North America for the last two years and has put up some impressive numbers himself. He has made 19 starts in 2022 and found himself in the winner’s circle on six occasions. He has a lifetime mark of 1:48.4 taken as a six-year-old at The Meadowlands and looks to take a bite out of his rivals this weekend leaving from post five with Mark Beckwith in the sulky for trainer Melissa Beckwith and Thestable Patrikthepirana of Guelph, Ont.

MacDonald feels Sintra should fit into the field Saturday night well even though he is unsure about the competition. 

“I’m not really familiar with all the other horses racing on Saturday but he’s coming into it sharp and should be fine.” 

The oddsmaker at CDP agrees and has listed Sintra as the 5-2 morning line choice, leaving from post four in Trial #2 for trainer Jamie Smith.

Perhaps not a household name in Canadian harness racing, Smith is a known quantity for MacDonald and when it came to choosing an East coast conditioner, he didn’t have anyone else in mind. 

“Jamie is a good friend of mine. I worked with him over 20 years ago. He worked for me 10 years ago. We’ve been friends for a very long time. There was never any doubt who [Sintra] would go to if he went out east to P.E.I.” 

Sintra will team up with Canada’s leading driver James MacDonald and that gives the ownership group even more confidence that they will have some success this weekend. 

“He’s got James driving him. He’s coming into the race sharp and we have one of the best drivers in Canada…we should be in good shape.”

MacDonald is unable to attend the eliminations in person due to a heavy racing schedule with his other horses. 

“We have horses racing in stakes in Ontario, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky,” he noted.

But MacDonald does not count out the possibility of making it to the finals if one or both of his horses can find a way to qualify. 

“If I can make it to P.E.I. then great. I know James can’t drive him in the finals regardless of how he does on Saturday night. So, there’s always a possibility for that but it’s not first and foremost for me right now.” 

All the action of Old Home Week racing can be seen at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park, with stakes action starting on Friday, Aug. 12. First post time for the  Saturday night card of harness racing will be at 7 p.m. Atlantic time. 

To view Saturday’s harness racing entries, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Charlottetown Driving Park.

(A Trot Insider exclusive by Trey Colbeck)

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