The $62,500 entry fee for the $555,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings did not keep the connections of Intimidate from writing a check that equals nearly half his lifetime earnings.
The son of Justice Hall-Fabulous Tag has 11 wins in 15 starts this year, with $130,845 in earnings. His largest payday was a $62,246 check for finishing second to Little Brown Fox, beaten a neck in 1:51.4, in the Simcoe Stakes on Sept. 1 at Mohawk Racetrack. For his career, he has won 12 of 18 races and earned $134,078.
He will start in an elimination race this Saturday at Woodbine in hopes of advancing to the final on Oct. 27.
"Last month he raced super good, in the Simcoe, and he raced super after that, too,” said Luc Blais, the colt's trainer/co-owner and co-breeder with Judith Farrow.
"He won in 1:53.1 two weeks after (the Simcoe), in a :27.1 last quarter and he won again last week (in overnight events at Mohawk and Woodbine). After the race, he looks very good, he looks like he's on top of his game right now, I think. I think he can race at that level.”
This will be just the second stakes appearance of the year for Intimidate.
"Last year, as a 2 year old, he showed good and I put him eligible for the Wellwood (Memorial) and a few other stakes in Toronto but he was not ready,” Blais said. "I think he's matured now and he was a little bit knee sore. He got a rest.
"When Ron Pierce drove him in the Simcoe he left with him and I think that's the first time (Intimidate) left like that. It was a very fast quarter, :26 and a piece, and he was right there, but I think you will see he likes a trip from behind the best. That's why he is a nice horse, you can drive him any kind of trip.”
Blais raced the dam of Intimidate, Fabulous Tag, with Farrow.
"Madame Farrow and I had the dam,” he said. "I broke her and I raced her at 3. But she broke down and we bred her and this is her first foal. I think the mom was a nice sized mare and had an easy gait, but not sound. He's not a real big horse, but he is well built.”
For "Madame” Farrow, 71, who raised Intimidate on her farm in Hemmingford, Quebec, the decision to supplement was not difficult.
"Oh my God, we're crazy, absolutely crazy,” she laughed. "But you know, I totally trust Luc because he's a very cautious person, very cautious. He wouldn't be going in this direction unless he had a pretty good thought.”
She thinks his relatively light racing schedule may bode well for his performance in the Crown.
"Because he's Quebec-bred, he didn't have many stakes to go in,” said Farrow. "The only stakes he had were the Canadian Breeders and the Simcoe. Luc said he wasn't ready for the Canadian Breeders and we weren't going in to the Simcoe until a week before. We made arrangements, were definitely not going in the Simcoe, but he raced the week before and Luc called me up and said, ‘The horse is ready to go.'
"It's very exciting and I'm relieved we finally made the decision. I didn't mind the way we went because I was fine with both ways -- going or not going. Now that we're going it's very exciting.”
Farrow says the gelding's name stems from his attitude as a youngster.
"He intimidated me, he would go after anybody and he had five other babies with him (in the field) and he would go after those babies and he wouldn't stop,” she said. "He scared me, and came running up to me and I thought, ‘whoooooooooa.'
"I had him until age six months on the farm and when he kept running up to me I called up Luc and said, ‘Luc, I'm having him gelded,' and within the week he was here with a truck and trailer and picked up the mare and foal. In the end, he did geld him, though.”
The switch to horses without spots it a relatively new one for Farrow, though she is an old hand with a horse.
"It was my partner, who died six years ago, that always wanted to have a Standardbred and another friend of mine, Louis Murphy, always wanted a Standardbred. I'd raised Appaloosas for years and had stallions and my children rode. I'd had horses since I came to Canada from England, which was 1961.”
Intimidate got a pre-Breeders Crown tune up when he raced and won just a few hours after his supplemental entry on Oct. 15. The race was his third since Sept. 1 and the Simcoe. It was a winning effort, by a length and a quarter, in a $20,400 overnight race at Woodbine in 1:54.4. (HRC)