by Frank Salive, for Western Fair Raceway
London, ON — An intense two days of competition for starters from the powerhouse Robert McIntosh Stable is coming up on Monday and Tuesday (January 21 and 22) at London’s Western Fair Raceway.
The award winning trainer is sending a pair of starters for London’s top two races on Monday evening (January 21), including Magic Maverick for the C$15,200 Mares Preferred Pace and Armbro Damien for the C$18,400 Preferred Pace.
“Randy (driver Randy Waples) came off the bike just raving about how good Magic Maverick was when he flipped her off cover and she won going away in Toronto on January 11,” McIntosh says. “He was really pleased with her. Maybe now that she’s 4 she’ll become the mare we thought she could be.”
The daughter of Western Maverick-Pan Souci is a homebred that’s owned in partnership with CSX Stables of Ohio. Her life’s earnings are just over C$183,000.
“In October of 2006 she won the OSS Grassroots Final at Flamboro in 1:54.2 but she was short of our expectations as a 3-year-old in 2007. Monday night in London we hope she’s a good fit in the top mares class there,” he added.
Also starting in London on Monday evening from the McIntosh camp will be the 2006 Nat Christie champion, Armbro Damien, in the C$18,400 Preferred Pace.
“He’d been racing well at Woodbine but in his January 12th race there when he finished eighth he seemed to be finding the track too deep for his liking and then we discovered he had a sore splint up front,” McIntosh says.
The timing of this entry raises the question in London about whether McIntosh could be considering a February 15 nomination of the Western Hanover-Armbro Romance 5-year-old pacer to the 2008 Molson Pace. McIntosh is a three-time winner of the event with Bond Street, Intrepid Seelster, and Ponder.
“He loves the half-mile track but he has a lot of proving to do before we’d make a firm decision to put him in the Molson Pace,” McIntosh says. “Monday evening he could start to prove he belongs with the higher class horses but at this stage it’s still a long way from certain about whether we’d nominate him.”
After Armbro Damien and Magic Maverick have competed in London on Monday evening, the intrigue about his London starters will continue into Tuesday’s first race at 4:05 p.m. on January 22. It’ll be the official unveiling of 3-year-old Western Hanover-Firstariseetonite colt What Came First from post six in the maiden pace. McIntosh owns the pacer along with former NHL forward Paul Ysebaert, Cliff Grundy of Michigan and CSX Stables of Ohio.
“He’s a full brother to I Zee that we had some luck with before we sold him to Rick Zeron,” McIntosh says. “What Came First was like a lot of the 2-year-olds that we had last year that for one reason or another were slow developing or didn’t get to the races. Eventually we made the decision to geld him and turn him out. I’m really pleased with how he’s trained down. We’ll start to find out on Monday just what kind of 3-year-old he might be for us in 2008.”
Through June 27, post time at Western Fair each Monday and Friday is 7:35 p.m., and each Tuesday at 4:05 p.m. Monday post time moves to 4:05 p.m. on April 7.