And this is why it’s worth all the ef­fort

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - HAROLD HOWE

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.

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