As a rule, I don't comment directly or edit the postings contributors or guest columnists make on my blog. After all, it is their opinions and they are giving their time to write their pieces. However, Joe F. and myself differ with regards to Intimidate's race at Hippodrome 3R this past Sunday.
I for one congratulate the connections of Intimidate for racing at 3R. Make no mistake, the race was basically a de facto exhibition race for Intimidate, one that he got paid $3,000Cdn for competing but the money really wasn't the point.
It's no secret Quebec racing was all but extinguished when Attractions Hippiques imploded, shutting down racing in the province virtually overnight. The Quebec Jockey Club has slowly been rebuilding the industry from the ground up racing at 3R and on a provincial circuit (equivalent to a fair circuit) but let's not kid ourselves, it is likely sometime until we see top quality racing in Quebec on a regular basis.
What we had with Intimidate was locally based owners and a trainer from Quebec giving back to the hometown crowd by bringing their horse back to Trois Rivieres for a de facto exhibition race; allowing the local fans the opportunity of seeing a Breeders Crown champion in the flesh. So Intimidate made his first start of the year in a Quebec bred race for four and five year olds. While it doesn't quite equal what Frank Azur did a few years back when he brought Blueridge Western, Noble Falcon, along with drivers Brian Sears and Tim Tetrick to the Orleans County Fair in Barton Vermont for an exhibition race, both events were cases of owners giving back to the hometown fans; something not typically done in these days where the eyes are always on the big prize.
Yes, one can wonder why Intimidate's connections seem to be skipping most of the big races as last year? Is it their target is the Breeders Crown once again and trying to save their horse or are there other reasons involved? I don't know. However, I am sure there are other owners who are more than happy to take advantage of Intimidate's absence and pick up the big checks instead of him. This is an owner's decision.
But the point remains, in this day where top horses are being raced like thoroughbreds, going only for the big money, we should be applauding when a horse's connections look to give something back to the home crowd.
We need more people like the connections of Intimidate.