Earlier this season, trainer Doug McIntosh didn't truly know the kind of quality his Peaceful Way starter, Danica Hall, possessed. But after just six starts, it's clear to most she could be any kind. The 2-year-old trotting filly by Deweycheatumnhowe-Debbie Hall has banked $108,923 this year along with a 3-0-2 record. Also, she's a top contender for this year's $374,000 Peaceful Way final this Saturday at Mohawk, thanks to her elimination victory in 1:57.3 for regular driver Trevor Ritchie.
The star-studded card will also feature the $686,000 Canadian Trotting Classic final and $365,000 William Wellwood Memorial Trot.
"She's coming into the race in good shape,” McIntosh said. "I have a lot of respect for a lot of fillies in this race, there are some good one in there. One thing I've learned is to never underestimate your competition.”
Danica Hall has made her presence felt since arriving in the McIntosh barn earlier this summer. "She went through the sale last year, but Walnut Hall bought her back for $14,000,” McIntosh said. "She was trained in Florida by Fred Grant and then he sent her up to me not long before she qualified.”
McIntosh, who has trained winners approaching $10 million in earnings, recalls his first impressions of Danica Hall when she arrived at his Wheatley, Ontario farm. "When she came up and arrived off the truck, I immediately liked her,” he said. "She's quite a striking filly to look at. She's a good size, not overly big, and extremely well proportioned. At first glance, I really liked her.”
Soon after it was time for Danica Hall to make her first charted line of her career.
"When we qualified her, she did everything right,” he said. "It was kind of new to us, because she arrived off the track and qualified soon after. It was more of a new experience, because she was new to the barn and I just went by what Fred told me.
"We've been friends for years and he had her set up perfectly,” McIntosh continued. "I barely had to make
any changes to her. It was just a few small things to adapt to the tracks up here.”
Throughout Danica Hall's six starts, McIntosh has noticed a difference in his young trotter. "I think she's getting better and stronger, which is kind of unusual because these fillies have had a tough schedule this season,” he said. "She can maintain her speed pretty good. She's not a sprinter, but she holds her speed well, closes well and has a flawless gait to her.
"She's got a nice big rear-end on her, good shoulder and put together, very, very well,” McIntosh added. "There's nothing really not to like about her.”
The $374,000 Peaceful Way final will line up as follows:
1. Game On Hanover
2. I Jasmin
3. Danica Hall
4. Grammas Girl
5. Riveting Rosie
6. Reflection Hanover
7. Scream And Shout
9. Toughs Legacy
10. White Becomes Her