And this is why it’s worth all the effort
Racing horses for a living can be a lonely and at times depressing existence, especially during the winter months.
Heading to the stable when it is still dark and brutally cold is hardly the easiest way to start the day.
But sometimes the payoff makes it all worthwhile.
Just ask Blake MacIntosh.
The Cambridge horseman is in the midst of a career year with the vast bulk of the stable firing on all cylinders.
His barn sits with over $500,000 earned from a variety of sources with all the big money yet to come.
Based at Meadowbranch Training Centre in the shadow of Flamboro Downs, MacIntosh is just now starting to get his dues with a big part of that being recognized as a man who has proven on a number of occasions being able to find value for money at the annual yearling sales.
“Last fall, we spent some more money on horses than we have in the past but so f ar it is the lesserpriced horses that have been putting up the numbers,” says MacIntosh.
“I hope that as the season goes on, the Ontario-sired ones which were the more expensive ones will start doing their part.”
Meanwhile, the big star has been New York performer Clear Idea who has banked $134,000 already.
She was a modestly priced $30,000 yearling and looks as good as anything in the Empire state.
He may well have turned the corner with Ontario three-year-old Sports Column who was his great hope all winter. This youngster was the best of his class last season before an ankle injury put him on the sidelines in mid-September but he still banked $220,000.
“I had not been happy with him up until now but it looks like he is sorted out. He won his last OSS Gold event and looked like what we had hoped for.”
Sports Column has some bigtime money-earning potential if he is on his game. So f ar, he has $68,000 but MacIntosh believes he is capable of racing at the Grand Circuit level, which could spell bigger paydays.
At the rate the stable is travelling, MacIntosh could have his first $1 million season. And that will not go unnoticed by owners with so many wanting to go with the hot hand.
“We hope it keeps going along like it has. Not every horse is coming through but a good number have. The game is not getting easier,” he says.
“So many things can happen with sickness and all the travelling these horses do. But this is why we do what we do.”
It’s a good memory to keep especially on those frigid February mornings.