Kims Royal Day has captured three Gold Elimination trophies and currently leads the two-year-old pacing filly division with 212 points, but so far a harness racing Gold Final victory has eluded her.
On Friday evening at Flamboro Downs Kims Royal Day will line up at Post 1 for the fourth $130,000 Gold Final on the freshman pacing filly calendar - her second straight appearance in the advantageous rail spot - and owner-trainer Blake MacIntosh is hoping the filly's good fortune carries her all the way to the winner's circle.
"Hopefully she can get to the front and get her own way again," says the Cambridge resident.
From Post 1 in her elimination, Kims Royal Day and driver Billy Davis Jr. controlled the pace from start to finish, cruising home three length winners in 1:56.2. The win was the consistent filly's third in eight starts and boosted her freshman earnings to $132,080.
Cambridge resident Davis will be back in the race bike for Friday's test and MacIntosh is hoping the driver can stay in front of reigning Gold Final champions Its No Secret and Anthony MacDonald, who will start from Post 7. In the Sept. 14 Gold Final at Grand River Raceway, Its No Secret started from an inside post and controlled the tempo, while Kims Royal Day started from an outside post and followed along in fourth before sprinting home to claim the runner-up prize.
"I'm hoping we can get to the front and he'll (MacDonald) sit in the two-hole," says MacIntosh. "She's won from everywhere, it's just, being at Flamboro and on a half, it's a lot easier if we're on top and they have to go around us."
MacIntosh purchased Kims Royal Day out of the 2011 Canadian Yearling Sale, offering up a modest $1,500 for a filly that everyone else passed over due to some minor swelling in her hock. The trainer asked some questions about the injury, was satisfied with the answers he received, and decided to take a chance on the well-bred youngster. The gamble paid off, as the hock quickly returned to normal and has never given Kims Royal Day an ounce of trouble.
The daughter ofand Kims Caper, who is a half-sister to four $200,000-plus winners including $1.1 million winner Art Maker, debuted in the Gold Series season opener and delivered an impressive 1:55.2 victory in her elimination. In the July 6 Gold Final she got stuck on the rail and finished seventh, the only race in which she has missed the top three all season.
After her impressive debut MacIntosh's longtime partner Stuart McIntosh of Essex enquired about purchasing part of Kims Royal Day. Although he was a bit reluctant to share his bargain find, the trainer agreed and the pair have cheered the filly on to two more Gold Elimination wins, one Gold Elimination third-place result and two second-place efforts in Gold Final action.
"He's been with me for 12 or 15 years," says the trainer of McIntosh. "You couldn't ask for a better partner than Stu."
While the partners have enjoyed watching Kims Royal Day race, working with her in the barn and in the race paddock is a little more complex. The filly has been known to let loose with a back foot and MacIntosh says you always have to be thinking a few steps ahead of the youngster.
"She's not a very pleasant horse to be around," admits the horseman.
"You can't fight with her. If you start, she wants to fight all night," he adds. "She's fine as long as she gets her own way, but as soon as you start messing with her she gets upset."
A sizeable filly when MacIntosh purchased her as a yearling, Kims Royal Day has matured into a very big two-year-old, making it even more essential to work with, rather than in opposition to, her whims. Fortunately, the filly's size has not served as a hindrance on the half-mile track; she matched her 1:55.2 personal best over the Grand River Raceway half-mile on Sept. 7.
Kims Royal Day will be looking to match or better that personal best in Friday's test, which sees the two-year-old pacing fillies square up behind the gate in the sixth race. Flamboro Downs sends its first race into the starter's hands at 6 pm.