Bob McIntosh of LaSalle, ON has trained a long list of stars on his way to more than 4,000 training wins, earnings approaching $95 million and a berth in both the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Yet, the horse that changed his life isn’t in the Hall of Fame and wasn’t one of his 16 Breeders Crown winners.
The fact that McIntosh ended up with J W Barbara at all was a case of bittersweet serendipity. The homebred Keystone Journal pacing mare out of Barbaras Best was bred by McIntosh’s father, Jack, who died when J W Barbara was a yearling. Jack McIntosh also left behind two other yearlings.
“The three of us kids drew for the three yearlings and I drew J W Barbara,” Bob said.
At the time, Bob was having success with claimers, but before his father died he told Bob, “The first good horse you get is either going to make you or break you. What you do with that will change your life.”
That horse was J W Barbara. Between 1982 and 1984, J W Barbara earned over $100,000 and won nearly half of her 53 starts and Bob McIntosh was on his way to the big time.
“I wish he had been alive to see everything that’s happened over the last 30 years,” McIntosh said of his father. “I wish he’d been around to see me train Artsplace (to his unbeaten season in 1992) and all of the other good ones that I’ve had over the years… I know how much it would have meant to him.
“He was my role model, a great influence on my life. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about him.”
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