Milton, ON — The first of several upcoming qualifying sessions at Woodbine Mohawk Park took place Thursday (May 28), as a total of 11 races were contested.
All of Thursday’s action saw male pacers primarily in the spotlight with trainer Blake MacIntosh’s students grabbing most of the glory. MacIntosh sent out four sophomore winners during the session, with two of his winners eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup.
On the heels of a standout rookie campaign, Groovy Joe delivered a strong 2020 debut with a 1:53 victory in the seventh qualifier for the duo of MacIntosh and driver James MacDonald. The son of Roll With Joe circled to the lead heading to the half and proceeded to finish off his mile with a :26.2 final quarter (:54.4 back-half) to win.
Groovy Joe had a tremendous rookie season, racing primarily in the New York Sires Stakes program. The MacIntosh student won seven of 10 starts and never finished outside the top two. His final start of the season was a runner-up finish in the NYSS final to complete his campaign with $230,845 earned. He is eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup.
The other Cup eligible of MacIntosh’s to win was Beach Blanket Book, who successfully converted off a two-hole trip from driver Doug McNair to win in 1:52.3. The son of Sportswriter was charted with a :26 final quarter.
Beach Blanket Book won two of 12 starts as a rookie, including a leg of the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division. He also won an elimination of the Battle of Waterloo and competed in the final of the $562,500 Metro Pace, earning $87,661 on the season.
MacIntosh’s quickest win of the morning came from 3-year-old colt A Positive Hanover, who stopped the clock in 1:51.4. The son of Captaintreacherous and reinsman MacDonald were coast-to-coast winners, posting a :54.3 back-half and :27.1 final quarter.
A Positive Hanover went two for eight last season, testing the Grand Circuit waters at the end of the year, which included finishing third in a division of the Bluegrass at The Red Mile. He made $21,491.
Not to be left out, Bettor’s Delight colt Sixfingerfreddie won the first qualifier of the day for McNair and MacIntosh. The sophomore colt won convincingly by more than seven lengths in 1:56.2 (final quarter :27.3). The season debut is a strong start following a winless rookie campaign, in which he earned $12,257 in 11 starts.
Here is a breakdown of the other winners on Thursday morning.
Q2: Day Delight (1:55)…3-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight was a coast-to-coast winner for driver Trevor Henry and trainer Victor Puddy, just holding off a late push by Rob Fellows trainee Lou’s Delight.
Q3: Unique Beach (1:55.4)…3-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere brushed to the lead in the second quarter and left his rivals behind to win confidently for driver Chris Christoforou and trainer Tony O’Sullivan.
Q4: Better Take It (1:54.4)…the best finish of the morning saw Bob McIntosh trained 3-year-old Better Take It move to the outside from sixth at the half, grind up on the far turn and dig in down the lane for driver Henry to muscle by multiple rivals. Matt Dupuis trainee Poseidon Seelster just missed pulling off the wire-to-wire score, finishing second by a neck. The top five were separated by just under two lengths.
Q5: Captivate Hanover (1:54.3)…the Shawn Steacy trained 3-year-old posted a strong :26.3 final quarter to come from third at the head of the lane for a narrow victory over McIntosh trainee Sundown Kid. MacDonald guided the winner.
Q9: Beaumond Hanover (1:54.1)…last year’s Harvest Series winner delivered a strong 3-year-old debut by going coast-to-coast on top for a two length score over OSS Gold winner Aneto. Jack Darling trains Beaumond Hanover, who was four for five as a rookie. He delivered an easy-looking :26.2 final quarter for driver Jody Jamieson.
Q10: Muscle Mach A (1:51.4)…the new Carmen Auciello student and driver Jonathan Drury posted a 10 length score in his North American debut. The 7-year-old gelding last raced in mid-February in Australia.
Q11: Uptown Funk (1:52.4)…another Auciello trainee to post a 10 length score. The 5-year-old gelding and Drury took off on rivals early, opening up a 20 length lead and pacing a :26.4 third quarter before coming home in :30.
Qualifiers continue Friday morning at Woodbine Mohawk Park with 3-year-old pacing fillies and older pacing mares taking over. Post time is 9:30 a.m. The qualifiers can be streamed live on www.Woodbine.com/Mohawk/WMP-Qualifiers/.