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McIntosh Seeks Super Final Sweeps

Published: October 15, 2016 10:39 am ET

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Bob McIntosh sends out Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) champions L A Delight and Tony Soprano to defend their titles on Saturday, October 15 as they compete in the $250,000 OSS Super Finals for three-year-old pacing fillies and the $250,000 OSS Super Final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

L A Delight is undefeated in the OSS heading into the Super Final. Winning nine preliminaries over her last two seasons, she draws post four off a 1:50.3 effort as the 1-5 favourite in an OSS Gold Division.

“She seems very sharp and sound,” McIntosh said. “She seems ready for the race, so barring any really bad luck, she has a good shot.”

A winner of 19 in 26 races, L A Delight (Bettors Delight - West Of L A), has earned more than $1.2 million in her career. Aside from several divisions of the OSS Gold, she also won the $140,000 Nadia Lobell at The Meadows in 1:49.1 and the $143,640 Jugette Final in 1:51.3.

“She came out of the Jugette, which was the first time she had raced two heats, really fresh and raced good her next start,” McIntosh said, with her next start being her most recent victory. “I was pretty pleased with the way she bounced in the Jugette and she hasn’t seemed distressed at all. She hasn’t lost a pound during the season, and she acts really fresh and ready to go.

“In the Jugette, she finished second in the first heat and I was down in the barn with her. She was just relaxed; wouldn’t blow out a match. She was ready for the second heat, and after she won, she came back and looked like she hadn’t done anything.”

In the first heat of the Jugette, L A Delight galloped hitting the wire for driver John Campbell. The last time she lost stride was in the $157,400 Mistletoe Shalee, where she finished sixth.

“I took her hopples up an inch between heats,” McIntosh said on fixing L A Delight’s gait issue in the Jugette. “John said [to do that] and when he tells me something I listen. We did that and he told me she was perfect.”

Randy Waples will drive L A Delight, the 3-5 morning-line favourite, from post four. She races for owners Robert McIntosh Stable Inc. and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc.

“As long as she races good tomorrow night and comes out of it well, we’re heading to the Breeders Crown,” McIntosh said.

Ineligible to the Breeders Crown last year, L A Delight ended her season with a stakes-record mile of 1:51.2 in the OSS Super Final.

“She was one of those fillies training down that I underestimated immensely,” McIntosh said. “She trained down pretty ordinarily; I thought I had two or three fillies that were better than her. But once she got behind the starting gate and started racing, she was completely different; a nice surprise.

“I would’ve loved to be in the Breeders Crown last year. Had she been eligible, [she] would’ve been [entered] in a heartbeat.”

L A Delight had 12 starts as a two-year-old, winning 11 times and earning $704,335.

“She was put away fresh,” McIntosh said. “Luckily she came back this year, and was just as good or better. You can only get so many starts in them as a two-year-old. You don’t want to squeeze the lemon too dry because it will affect their next year.”

Exiting the Breeders Crown sound, L A Delight would be scheduled to compete in the Matron at Dover Downs and then possibly the Courageous Lady at Northfield Park.

“We’ll play it by ear,” McIntosh said. “If the season ends well and she’s as sound as she is now, we plan on racing her next year, too. She’s a sister to Thinking Out Loud and he got really good as a four- and five-year-old, so I can’t see why she won’t go on. She seems to be real easy on herself.”

Tony Soprano, by Kadabra out of the Windsongs Legacy mare Windsong Soprano, competes from post five in the OSS three-year-old colt and gelding trot. He is winless in 11 starts this season but enters off a second-place finish in an OSS Gold Division.

“In the first part of the year, he was eating good and seemed sharp, but then he was disappointing,” McIntosh said. “He qualified great; John [Campbell] said he felt like he could’ve gone 1:52 that day. But he had steadily started to get worse until we finally scoped him, because we never knew he was sick, and he was full of mucous and was very sick in the lungs, so that took a while to clear up.

“He came back and had a couple of seconds; he raced well. I thought his attitude was a little lacking, so I put a blind bridle on him and he responded with a big effort last time [Oct. 6]. He has kept me thinking all year, that’s for sure.”

Tony Soprano, a winner of four in 22 starts with earnings of $396,514, won the OSS Super Final for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings last season with a 1:55.1 effort. Listed on the morning line at 6-1, John Campbell will drive for owners Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Mardon Stables, Paradox Farms Inc. and Dave Boyle.

“When I saw the draw, I wasn’t brokenhearted to see a good horse draw the outside,” McIntosh said. “That evens things up maybe a little bit. [It] seems like a wide-open race, but if we get the right trip, he’ll be heard from.”

Like his stablemate, Tony Soprano is eligible to the Breeders Crown and the Matron Stakes.

“He’s healthy and sound now, and he has shown he has a good size motor,” McIntosh said. “He is [a horse] this year where every race is a surprise; last year he was very consistent. So hopefully he’ll get through [Saturday] night good and we’ll take it from there.”

Since 2001, Bob McIntosh has collected over $13-million in earnings and won over 300 races through the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Last year, he was the top trainer with $1-million+ in earnings.

“It’s the backbone of harness racing in Ontario,” McIntosh said of the Sires Stakes program. “Without it we wouldn’t have any of the well-bred horses, and, of course, the Sires Stakes program has produced some horses that win the big-time events in the states, too.

“It has come a long ways. I was working for my brother Doug when the first yearlings started,” recalled McIntosh, noting the breeding has become so much stronger. “Things have sure changed. It’s been a really good journey to see it do so well, and it’s something that has to stay the way it is. It’s important to the breeders, I own 40 broodmares myself, and without Sires Stakes, you wouldn’t have much pizzazz in the business.”

The strong provincial program, notes McIntosh, also contributes to a strong province.

“People forget that these breeding farms like Seelsters and several others employ a lot of people. They are also good for the agricultural community because it takes a lot of feed; I don’t know how much feed I go through in a year. The trickle-down effect is something a lot of people don’t think of. It affects a lot of lives, so hopefully we can remain strong and keep going.”

Mohawk Racetrack’s first race goes postward at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, with the eight $250,000 Super Finals slated as races two through five and seven through 10. In addition to the on-track excitement, Mohawk fans will receive an Ontario Sires Stakes ball cap when they purchase a program and can play the fun-filled OSS Trivia Spin and Win game for more great prizes. Members of the I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club can also enter the OSS Super Finals Pick 8, with $2,500 in cash prizes up for grabs.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Mohawk, click one of the following links:
Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack
Saturday Program Pages - Mohawk Racetrack (Courtesy of TrackIT)

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Ray Cotolo)

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