A pair of eights is a great way to begin a poker hand, but it’s not such an auspicious draw when you’re trying to win the $600,000 Delvin Miller Adios.
Dapper Dude, winning last weekend at Mohawk. (New Image Media)
Yet trainer Bob McIntosh must deal with that hand as his two Adios hopefuls, Thinking Out Loud and Dapper Dude, will both wear head number eight in Saturday’s nine-horse eliminations. The former will actually leave from post nine but wear head number eight.
The elims will go as races four and six with the first four finishers in each returning for next Saturday’s final. First post for the eliminations card is 6:55 p.m.
“I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when I saw eight and eight,” McIntosh said. “But it is what it is. You gotta race them.”
Don’t mourn for McIntosh’s Adios chances just yet. The Hall of Famer is a seven-time Trainer of the Year in Canada and twice has won the Glen Garnsey award as the top US conditioner. Artsplace and Staying Together earned back-to-back Horse of the Year honours for him in 1992-1993.
In 1998, alone, the Ontario native and resident trained three Dan Patch Award winners in Artiscape, Island Fantasy and Mattaroni. He has won more O'Brien awards than any other with winners such as Delinquent Account, Whenuwishuponastar, Western Shooter, Nebupanezzar, Armbro Officer, In Conchnito, Artiscape, Camluck, Artsplace, Staying Together, Windsong Soprano, etc. Plus, his Adios horses are not exactly slouches.
Thinking Out Loud, a son of Ponder - Los Angeles, won the North America Cup at 8-1 but came up short in the Meadowlands Pace final, finishing sixth as the favourite. On the down side, he’s drawn into one of the most impressive Adios eliminations ever assembled, a field that includes Sweet Lou, A Rocknroll Dance and Hurrikane Kingcole.
In addition, Thinking Out Loud never has performed on a track smaller than seven-eighths — The Meadows is a five-eighths-mile oval — although McIntosh doesn’t consider that an issue.
NA Cup winner Thinking Out Loud will have John Campbell at the lines for the first time on Saturday. (New Image Media)
“The trip didn’t work out for him at The Meadowlands, he just plain got beat,” McIntosh said. “I have him back on the farm, and he’s doing well. He works on a half-mile track here, so I don’t think track size will be a problem.”
Dapper Dude won his NA Cup elimination and was beaten only a half length by his stablemate in the final. The son of The Panderosa - Dress To Suggest comes to the Adios off a sharp 1:50.1 victory in a Mohawk Preferred event.
McIntosh typically breeds his horses to race rather than sell; that’s true of his Adios duo, both homebreds with partners. His cousin Al McIntosh co-bred and owns a piece of each and long time partner CSX Stables bred and co-own part of Thinking Out Loud.
“I just don’t sell my homebreds at public auction,” he said, “but I will sell pieces to people. I might change that some day. I will take all calls.”
McIntosh never has taken home the Adios orchids, a resume gap he’d like to fill this year.
“I’d love to win one, but we definitely have our work cut out for us,” he said. “If we can sneak into the final, maybe we’ll have reason to come to The Meadows next week. You never know. That’s why we have the races.”
With all driving assignments now firm, the Adios elims look like this:
First Elimination, Race 4
1 / 1 - Escape The News - David Miller - 10-1
2 / 2 - EZ Noah - Eric Ledford - 8-1
3 / 3 - Special Forces - Tony Hall - 8-1
4 / 4 - Sweet Lou - Dave Palone - 3-1
5 / 5 - Bakin On The Beach - Jim Morrill, Jr. - 6-1
6 / 1A - One Through Ten - Ron Pierce - 10-1
7 / 6 - Hurrikane Kingcole - Daniel Dube - 9-2
8 / 7 - A Rocknroll Dance - Yannick Gingras - 7-2
9 / 8 - Thinking Out Loud - John Campbell - 10-1
Second Elimination, Race 6
1 / 2 - Bolt The Duer - Mark MacDonald - 7-2
2 / 3 - Star Recruit - Mike Wilder - 6-1
3 / 4 - McAttaboy - David Miller - 10-1
4 / 1 - All Star Legend - Jim Morrill, Jr. - 5-2
5 / 5 - Breakin The Law - Dave Palone - 8-1
6 / 6 - Ezpass Hanover - Brian Zendt - 8-1
7 / 7 - Hillbilly Hanover - Ron Pierce - 10-1
8 / 8 - Dapper Dude - John Campbell - 9-2
9 / 1A - Bettors Edge - Daniel Dube - 5-2