A pair of 8s 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. Yet trainer Bob McIntosh must deal with that hand as his two Adios hopefuls, Thinking Out Loud and Dapper Dude, have drawn post 8 in Saturday's nine-horse eliminations.
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 regular driver Randy Waples remaining at Mohawk to drive several McIntosh trainees, he's named John Campbell to pilot Thinking Out Loud. "Having John is like having Allstate — you're in good hands,” he said.
The Adios elims will go as races 4 and 6, with the first four finishers in each returning for next Saturday's final. First post for the eliminations card is 6:55 pm.
"I can't tell you how disappointed I was when I saw 8 and 8,” 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 honors 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. 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 favorite. On the down side, he's drawn into one of the most impressive Adios eliminations ever assembled, a field that includes Dan Patch awardee Sweet Lou, Meadowlands Pace champion A Rocknroll Dance, and Hurrikane Kingcole, who captured the Meadowlands Pace consolation in a sizzling 1:47.3.
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.
"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 1/2 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, although Al McIntosh Holdings owns a piece of each and CSX Stables owns part of Thinking Out Loud.
"I just don't sell my homebreds at public auction,” he said, "but I well sell pieces to people. I might change that some day. I will take all calls.” (The Meadows)