With a golden pedigree to back up her nearly perfect record this year, it comes as no surprise that L A Delight has become a contender to be reckoned with in the two-year-old pacing division. Trainer and owner Bob McIntosh has a better understanding of her impressive maternal line than most.
Purchased for $115,000 as a yearling, L A Delight’s grand-dam Los Angeles became a fixture on racing’s Grand Circuit under McIntosh’s tutelage. The Camluck mare was retired after her three-year-old season, hanging up the hopples with a mark of 1:53.4 to her name and taking up residence in the breeding shed.
In 11 years since her transition, Los Angeles has produced eight horses with total earnings of over $2.5 million. Among her offspring was the great son of Ponder, Thinking Out Loud. Having captured multiple stakes over his career — the North America Cup, the U.S. Pacing Championship in a sharp 1:47.2 as a four-year-old, and the 2014 Breeders Crown Open Pace — Thinking Out Loud built up an extensive highlight reel that has helped stash nearly $2 million in the bank. Her first foal, however, was a Western Hanover filly named West Of L A.
“We bought Los Angeles as a yearling and she turned out to be a really solid race mare, and then she turned out to be a great producer,” said McIntosh. “She has produced a couple of really great horses, and West of L A was a very good filly. The family worked out really well for me.”
West of L A bankrolled $257,150 for connections Robert McIntosh, CSX Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc., taking a mark at the Red Mile of 1:53.2, but was retired off her fastest mile, 1:50.1 at Dover Downs, at the end of her three-year-old season.
She wasted no time in setting a very high standard for her offspring, producing Somewhere In L A, who has posted a record of 12-9-7 from 46 starts with nearly $700,000 in earnings. This season, her Bettors Delight filly, L A Delight, has become a dominating presence in Ontario racing. Having spent many years with her family, McIntosh believes they all have the most important thing in common.
“All three of them have had really quick speed. They’re all good-gaited and have quick speed to match.”
Training down for this season, McIntosh had no way of knowing the hidden potential in his homebred. Quiet and unassuming around the barn, she had yet to stand out in the group.
“She was perfect, she was just one of those really easy to get along with fillies. She had no real quirks. In the winter, I thought she was a nice filly, but I never dreamt this. It was a nice surprise. I actually thought I had a couple that were better back then,” said McIntosh. “She never did anything wrong but she never stood out. She was always there with the group, just never a show off. But when she started racing that obviously changed. “
L A Delight started her freshman campaign with a third-place performance, closing hard in 27 seconds to hit the board. Likely not a fan of being denied victory, the filly has since set a seven-race win streak and will be looking to make it eight on Saturday night in the $455,000 Shes A Great Lady final.
L A Delight set a flashy mark of 1:51.4 in the Eternal Camnation Stakes on August 22, the final prep heading into the Shes a Great Lady eliminations.
After having started from Post 2 in last Saturday’s elimination, she sat third to the quarter, but was not content to wait for long. Gaining the lead by the three quarters, she cruised home easily for driver Randy Waples to win in 1:54.2.
“She came out of it perfect, there was no real stress for her last week,” said McIntosh. “Randy never had to ask her and it’s been a good week since. At this point, she’s very tight, so she doesn’t need a lot of work. I’ll go a couple slow miles with her on Thursday.”
After earning the right to select Post 4 for Saturday’s final, L A Delight will square off against the other elimination winner Thatsoveryverynice, who will start directly to her inside in the three hole. Conditioned by Tony Alagna, she is four for five with an Ontario Sires Stakes record mark of 1:51.2.
“I’ve got a lot of faith in her, she hasn’t been to the bottom of the well yet,” said McIntosh. “I expect a lot from Alagna’s filly, she’s been spectacular. Hopefully we have some good racing luck.”
Staked lightly for her freshman season, L A Delight has remained close to home. Only one start has seen her away from the Campbellville oval, shipping to Georgian Downs for an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event.
“She wasn’t staked to a lot of events because I didn’t think she was that spectacular early on,” said McIntosh with a laugh. “If everything goes as planned, she’s going to have 13 starts, which I think is funny for a two-year-old. I think she has another sires stakes Gold and then the Super Final. She’s got plenty of races right here at home, but hindsight is always 20/20.”
Next year, her full sister will take to the track to contest her own freshman campaign. Way Bettor, bred and owned by the same connections, will be looking to follow in L A Delight’s footsteps. Those who may be eyeing the youngster will be sadly disappointed, her name absent from the fall yearling sales.
“We’re going to retain her; I don’t send yearlings to the sale that I raise. I sell off pieces, but there’s nothing for sale in that full sister, she’s already divided up. I haven’t seen her lately but the last time I saw her, she was a really nice, good looking filly.”
With another convincing victory in the books in last Saturday’s eliminations, L A Delight will be the one to watch as she looks to do what her dam and grand-dam could not: capture the Shes a Great Lady final. McIntosh is confident in her ability, three generations in the making.
“Hopefully the racing gods are on our side, we’ll look to leave the bad luck at home and get a good, clean trip out there. I wouldn’t trade fillies with anyone.”