Canadian harness racing trainers Blake Macintosh and Casie Coleman have a mutual respect for each other. Actually there's a bit more than that going on - they are in love. They also don't mind bragging a bit when one of their stable runners has toppled the other.
But Macintosh admits the rivalry isn’t as fierce these days as what it once was.
“It was pretty fierce when I shifted and competed a lot against Casie at Flamboro in early years, but these days we don’t race against each other as much and if we do we are not as competitive as we used to. Perhaps it’s because I get a lot of Casie’s hand-me-downs,” Macintosh said (tongue in cheek) to Harnesslink.
Macintosh and Coleman have been boyfriend and girlfriend for just over decade. They met on the computer and although they do the same job they keep their harness racing jobs very separate.
“I seldom go to Casie’s barn and she seldom comes to mine. We are both very busy and when it comes to our work keep pretty much to ourselves,” Macintosh said.
Macintosh works a team of 26 at Cambridge, while Coleman who is widely regarded as one of Canada’s best conditioners of horseflesh, works 80 horses out of the same city - which is based in Southern Ontario at the confluence of the Grand and Speed Rivers in the region of Waterloo.
Macintosh relocated from Windsor to be closer to Coleman shortly after the turn of the century after training there for four to five years.
“I originally started off in Windsor with about six horses and then when my team grew to about 18 I decided to move closer to Casie. These days I’m now working about eight or so more than that,” 36-year-old Macintosh said.
Macintosh was born in Orillia – a city located in Simcoe County in Southern (South-Central) Ontario, Canada, between Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe, and 135 kilometres north of Toronto.
His father Wayne always owned horses and Macintosh said he got the bug at a young age.
When he left school he studied business for a year at College.
“I was going to use a business degree to help Dad in his insurance business but the horses were calling. I loved standardbreds and wanted to work with them. I’m too big to drive that’s why I’m solely a trainer,” Macintosh said.
He originally worked as a dealer and then a chip boss in a casino while training a couple of horses. Then one Christmas he decided to move to Windsor. That was in 1997.
“I set up in Windsor with my brother-in-law (Mark Clancy) and I had watched a lot of trainers like Dana Lloyd over the years, so I soon learnt how to hang a horse up. I’ve also had tremendous support from my family. They have been my backbone”
Since 2000 Macintosh has trained 380 winners from 3,332 starters. He has also placed 796 times for $2,968,628 in career purses.
Macintosh’s best year came in 2009 when trained 56 winners but stakes-wise 2005 was his best year when he netted $392,015 in purses.
So far in 2011 Macintosh has won 35 races from 247 starters. He’s also placed 65 times for $314,053.
Macintosh has done a lot of his racing at Flamboro Downs, Grand River Raceway, Georgian Downs and Mohawk over the years, but come next winter he wants to do the majority of his racing at Woodbine.
“Looking to the future I want to attack Woodbine more. That is where the money is and I think I have the quality of horse to do okay there.”
Asked what the best horse he had trained was, and what his biggest win was, Macintosh replied:
“Bullet Point! She’s a 4-year-old Mcardle mare who has won nine races and more than $100,000. She’s went 1:51.1 at Woodbine when winning a $25,000 Fillies and Mares race in May. I think she’s got a bright future.
“R Devilish Dude was up there too. He won 33 races and just under $300,000. He was a nice trotter.”
With Coleman having a team of stars, Harnesslink asked Macintosh if there were any young pacers or trotters worth following from his girlfriend’s stable in forthcoming months. Macintosh replied:
“Two-year-oldcolt Winbak Warrior. He’s being aimed at the Battle Of Waterloo and will line up at Georgian Downs on Tuesday (July 12).”
Outside harness racing, Macintosh said he enjoyed playing golf and poker, and watching his beloved Toronto Maples Leafs hockey team.
by Duane Ranger (editor)
(1) The Blake Macintosh trained $49.80 outsider Bullet Point winning at Mohawk on June 10, 2011:
(2) The Blake Macintosh trained Striker Ray (6-5) at Mohawk on June 27, 2011:
(3) The Blake Macintosh trained Bullet Point (8-1) winning at Mohawk on June 3, 2011:
(4) The Blake Macintosh trained Dakota Noc (3-1)at Mohawk on June 27, 2011:
(5) The Blake Macintosh trained Bullet Point (7-2) winning at Woodbine on April 29, 2011: