Sports Column is an O'Brien Award finalist in the two-year-old pacing colt category along with Beyond Delight. The winner will be announced this Saturday (January 28) as Standardbred Canada presents the 2016 O'Brien Awards at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, Ont.
A son of Sportswriter from the Walton Hanover mare Lady Leslie, Sports Column finished 1-2 in all six seasonal starts -- four wins, two seconds -- and accrued $222,000 in earnings. He was slated to race in the Champlain Stakes -- his only Grand Circuit stakes event -- on Sept. 10 but was scratched from that contest.
"Column had a short but great year," noted trainer and co-owner MacIntosh. "Wish we could have kept going but I felt it best for the horse to stop with him at that time."
MacIntosh shares ownership of Sports Column with Joe and Joann Thomson's Pennsylvania-based Hutt Racing Stable, and Daniel Plouffe of Bromont, Que. Victories during Sports Column's rookie season included a sweep of the Battle of Waterloo elimination and final at Grand River Raceway and two Ontario Sires Stakes events, including one in July at Mohawk Racetrack where the $20,000 yearling purchase posted a season’s best 1:52.1. MacIntosh points to the Battle of Waterloo victory as the highlight of 2016.
"I always have this race circled," said MacIntosh after winning his first Battle of Waterloo. "We've had some bad luck in it -- we broke in it three times -- and I just wanted to win this race so bad."
MacIntosh is thrilled with the nomination, the second such honour the Cambridge, Ont.-based trainer has received. He was previously a finalist with two-year-old pacing filly Sports Chic, who lost to eventual 2014 Horse of the Year JK Shesalady.
"I was very pleased," said MacIntosh of Sports Column's nomination. "It's always a great night and we get to honour the year's best in Canada."
MacIntosh's success with young horses hasn't gone unnoticed. He was chosen to develop the 2016 yearling selected by the SBOA's New Owner Mentoring Group. But the trainer is quick to credit the team behind Sports Column for his standout rookie season. MacIntosh credits "wife Leanne for working so hard on him all year, Mr. & Mrs. Thomson for giving me the chance with such a nice horse and Chris [Christoforou] for driving him great all year."