Two-time O’Brien Award winner Intimidate continued to prep for his 2015 campaign Monday morning (May 25) during Mohawk Racetrack’s compact, five-race qualifying session.
Intimidate, the well known six-year-old Justice Hall gelding trained by Luc Blais, was making his third qualifying appearance of the season. Driver Sylvain Filion was up behind the $1.2-million career earner and the pair lined up in Post 6 for Race 5.
Over a ‘fast’ track, Intimidate settled into the two-hole early and followed Muscle Matters (driven by Mario Baillargeon) through the fractions, which were cut in :28.4, :58.1 and 1:26. Intimidate was still in second by the time Muscle Matters hit the head of the lane, but when Filion asked, Intimidate responded. The bay kicked home with a :28.3 final quarter and nailed the wire first in 1:55. Baillargeon and Muscle Matters finished two and a half lengths back in second, while Random Margin finished third and was charted 25 lengths behind Intimidate.
Intimidate was named Canada’s Older Trotting Horse of the Year for 2014. He counted wins in the finals of the TVG Free For All and the prestigious Maple Leaf Trot during his five-year-old campaign and was turned out after having added another $655,300 onto his card. Trainer Luc Blais discussed Intimidate in exclusive Trot Insider interviews earlier this year (here and here) and stated that the accomplished bay will be looking to defend his Maple Leaf Trot title this year (Mohawk Racetrack, September 19).
Thirteen-year-old Island Fantasy gelding Whippet Good kicked off the morning session with a three-quarters of one-length win in Race 1. Phil Hudon was performing the driving duties for trainer James DeChellis. The bay gelding got the job done on the front end with a 1:55.3 clocking. Whippet Good’s career earnings currently sit at $922,713.
Last season’s Pure Ivory Series champion Spirit To Win was tops in Race 2 for trainer Dustin Jones and driver Chris Christoforou. The three-year-old Cantab Hall filly hit the point in the second quarter of the dash and went on to trot her mile in 1:57 and top the field by three quarters of one length.
Christoforou and Jones teamed up for another win in Race 4. The pair clicked with 2014 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final winner Dont Rush, who was putting in his third qualifying performance of the season. Christoforou worked out a two-hole ride for the son of Infinitif, and the three-year-old colt responded by posting a 1:57.3 win.
The other qualifying winner from the Monday session was Icommandmyspirit. The five-year-old Dragon Again mare was sent down the road by her new trainer, Jack Moiseyev. The career winner of over $253,000 in purses cut the fractions in :28.3, :57.4 and 1:25.4 and went on to win by more than 10 lengths in 1:54.
To view the harness racing results for Monday at Mohawk, click the following link: Monday Results – Mohawk Racetrack (Qualifiers).