Bob McIntosh is a wildly successful, record-setting harness racing trainer. For several years in the 1980s, ’90s, and 2000s, he was among the very best trainers in Canada.
McIntosh was born on August 11, 1952. He grew up in Wheatley surrounded by horses. His father, Jack McIntosh, was himself a very successful and highly respected trainer, and his older brother Doug also took up the vocation.
McIntosh’s harness racing career began at the age of eight, when he took up the task of “hot walking” his father’s horses after their workouts. At 13, he began driving the horses during jogging workouts.
In 1977, McIntosh went out on his own as a trainer. He started with two horses and very little money. That year, he won two Claiming Races at Windsor Raceway. His first winner was a mare called Brilliant Bonnie. Soon his financial hardships were relieved by a partnership with Al McIntosh and John Baeker. They purchased and dealt in “claimers” in order to build their stable.
In 1980, Jack McIntosh passed away, leaving one filly each for Bob, Doug, and their sister Mary Ann. The three siblings drew names out of a hat to distribute the animals. Bob won the horse J. W. Barbara, who went on to win 13 consecutive races at Windsor Raceway. Bill Gale drove in all of the victories. For her career, J. W. Barbara earned $100,000.
That same year, McIntosh moved to Windsor, where he rented a farm that included a track, barn, and stables. He purchased the property in 1985.
McIntosh is a record seven-time winner of the O’Brien Award for Canadian Trainer of the Year. He won the award every year from 1987 to ’92, then again in ’98. He is also a two-time winner of the USA Harness Writers Association’s Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year Award (1992 and 2001).
McIntosh leads all trainers in Breeders Crown 13 Breeders Crown wins and $4.6 million in Crown purses.
Seven of McIntosh’s horses have been US Divisional Champions: Artsplace, Delinquent Account, Immortality, Island Fantasy, Mattaroni, So Fresh, and Western Shooter.
Artsplace, a particularly notable horse, won $3,085,083 for his career, which made him the second leading money winning pacer of all time (to Nihalator). He won $368,100 at the Breeders Crown, $222,750 at the Canadian Pacing Derby, $222,000 at the American National, $200,000 at the Stewart Fraser Memorial, $192,000 at the Driscoll Final, $127,000 at the US Pacing Championship Final, and $100,000 at the Nicole Hudock Memorial.
McIntosh was named Canadian Horseman of the Year in 1992 and ’93. In 1992, Artsplace won all of his 16 races, earning $932,325 and captured Horse of the Year in both USTAIUSHWA and Canadian balloting. In 1993, McIntosh led the horse Staying Together to United States and Canadian Horse of the Year honours. The horse won 21 of 26 races, earning $391,517 that year. Staying Together broke Artsplace’s mile record with a time of 1.48.2 and set a world record for a 5/8-mile track with a time of 1.50.4. Artsplace had previously set the record with a time of 1.49.2.
In 1996, McIntosh’s Whenyouwishuponastar was Canadian Horse of the Year.
His horse Artiscape, not to be confused with Artsplace, won the 1997 and ’98 Breeders Crowns, becoming one of only three horses to win the title at two and three years of ages.
McIntosh’s 2002 earnings ($4,720,711) were good enough for third place amongst the top money-winning conditioners in North America. That same year, McIntosh’s World Champion Pacer Staying Together was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
McIntosh was inducted into the United State Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.
As of September 2005, McIntosh boasted 2500 career wins and earnings of $50 million.
A selection of McIntosh’s major victories follows:
McIntosh owned a record 13 Breeders Crown Winners: