TORONTO, ON — If you had asked Bob McIntosh last fall which of his trotting colts would make an appearance in the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final, the Windsor resident would never have responded with the name Text Me.
On Saturday night the veteran horseman’s early assessment of the young trotter proved to be wildly inaccurate as Text Me delivered a front end effort over the Woodbine Racetrack oval to claim his $300,000 Super Final division in impressive fashion.
“He was relatively small, and kind of narrow, and had one leg that was a little bit crooked, toed out,” recalled McIntosh, who shares ownership of Text Me with fellow breeders C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH and Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON. “He would have been a very cheap yearling at the sale, but it just proves how wrong you can be, because he’s matured into a great looking horse.
“He’s just muscled up, and as the season went on he just got stronger and stronger, and broader and broader. He’s a chunk of a horse now,” added the trainer. “Just proves you don’t know, you never know.”
Starting from Post 6 with regular reinsman Randy Waples in the race bike, Text Me fired straight to the front and controlled the pace through fractions of :28.2, :58.4 and 1:27.4 before digging in through the stretch to reach the finish in 1:56.2.
Pocket sitter Grumpy Jake was three-quarters of a length back in second, and fan favourite Zorgwijk Kingpin was two more lengths back in third.
“You can’t run a train from the caboose,” quipped McIntosh about the front end strategy. “He put them to sleep a little bit on the front, he got enough respect that he got the fractions backed down. And he was just good tonight.”
Text Me went into Saturday’s Super Final test off a trio of runner-up finishes in his last three Gold Series starts, and McIntosh said some work done on the colt’s feet between the Nov. 6 Gold Final and Super Final night may have been the key to the victory.
“I thought last week he looked like maybe his feet were stinging him down near the wire. We did some work on his feet and I thought tonight he warmed up great,” said the horseman. “I thought we were right on the right night, and got the right trip.”
The Super Final victory was a personal best for Text Me, who wrapped up his freshman season with a record of three wins, seven seconds and two thirds in 13 starts. The homebred son of Kadabra and Dial Nile banked a total of $377,126.
While Text Me controlled the race from start to finish, trainer Per Henriksen of Norwood had to wait until the final inches of the three-year-old trotting contest to see if I Wont Dance would emerge victorious.
Starting from the outside Post 10, driver Trevor Ritchie sent I Wont Dance to the front before the :27.2 opening quarter, but opted to let Hour Lavec go by on the way to the :56.2 half. Hour Lavec continued to lead the field through the 1:25.2 three-quarters, but was caught by Equity heading around the final turn.
As the colts pounded down the stretch it seemed as though Ritchie and I Wont Dance would be trapped behind the fading Hour Lavec, but in the final strides the veteran reinsman carved out an opening and was able to squeeze between horses and record the nose victory in 1:54.3.
“Trevor almost scared a heart attack on me there,” admitted Henriksen from the winner’s circle. “He didn’t look like he was going to get loose, and I saw he had a lot of horse left, but it worked out.”
The win was the eighth this season for I Wont Dance, who swept his elimination and final of the Gold Series season opener at Mohawk Racetrack in May and again at Rideau Carleton Raceway in September. Through 19 starts the son of Angus Hall and Do Si Do Hanover recorded eight wins and two seconds for earnings of $393,442.
Henriksen trains I Wont Dance for M. Biasuzzi Stable Inc. of Ft. Pierce, FL, and inherited the gelding in the spring after three other trainers tried unsuccessfully to teach the trotter how to race.
“That’s almost more satisfying than go to the sale and buy a yearling and make them ready,” noted Henriksen. “When three, four people have them before you, and you can turn them around and they can do this; that to me is very satisfying.
“I’ve got a good crew with me and that’s what it’s all about,” he added. “We work as a team, everybody doing their share, and it works.”
While Henriksen and his staff were elated with I Wont Dance’s Super Final victory, it was somewhat bittersweet, as the trainer opted to scratch Magic Fruit out of the two-year-old trotting colt Super Final when he did not warm up well for the race.
Both I Wont Dance and Magic Fruit will now enjoy well deserved winter vacations before preparations for their 2010 campaigns get under way in the New Year.
The other Super Final trophies were awarded to three-year-old pacing filly Shacked Up, who toured the Woodbine oval in 1:51.3; two-year-old trotting filly Poof Shes Gone, who set a track and Ontario Sires Stakes record with her 1:55.3 mile; two-year-old pacing colt Code Word, who was an upset winner in 1:51.3; three-year-old pacing colt Shipps Xpectancy, who was awarded his 1:50.2 title after an inquiry; two-year-old pacing filly FBS Terror, who held off all comers to reach the wire in 1:53.1; and three-year-old trotting filly Elusive Desire, the only repeat Super Final winner with an impressive 1:54.1 effort.
For complete results please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r1114wdbsn.dat.