06/16/2012 10:30PM

Mohawk: Thinking Out Loud upsets Sweet Lou in $1.5 million North America Cup final

New Image Media
Thinking Out Loud scored the first North America Cup win for Hall of Fame trainer Robert McIntosh.

The Sweet Lou hype came to an abrupt halt in the $1.5 million North America Cup final. Despite a decent trip behind scintillating fractions, Lou was gobbled up in the lane by a host of followers including eventual winner Thinking Out Loud, who gave 59-year-old Hall of Fame trainer Bob McIntosh his first ever Cup win.

The early portion of the race unfolded as expected, with Warrawee Needy assuming command from A Rocknroll Dance in the fastest ever North America Cup opening quarter of 25 1/5-seconds. Those two marched in single-file order with Sweet Lou following in third past the half in :52 4/5.

Past the half driver Dave Palone said “go” with Sweet Lou and the colt quickly accelerated to assume command passing three quarters in a sparkling 1:20 3/5. It appeared to be Sweet Lou’s race to lose with Dapper Dude a clear second, but the favorite began to falter and Thinking Out Loud was charging off cover for driver Randy Waples.

When the dust settled at the wire, Thinking Out Loud pulled clear in the final strides over Time To Roll and Dapper Dude in 1:47 4/5, equaling the Canadian record set the previous week by Sweet Lou.

“A monkey could have done the same thing,” said Waples about his drive. “I’m just glad tonight my name was bubbles,” he joked.

Trainer Bob McIntosh, who also conditioned third place finisher Dapper Dude, finally won his first North America Cup after years of trying. The win was made even more special by the fact that McIntosh trained Thinking Out Loud’s sire, Ponder.

“It is extra special when you win with a homebred,” said McIntosh, who also bred Thinking Out Loud. “Even in baby races I knew he would be extra special.”

Thinking Out Loud banked $750,000 for owners Robert McIntosh, C S X Stables, and Al McIntosh Holdings with the victory. He now has 8 wins in 10 career starts.

The win by Thinking Out Loud and the off-the-board finishes by Sweet Lou and Warrawee Needy will certainly turn the stacked 3-year-old colt pacing division upside down. What many thought could be a runaway type year for Sweet Lou could turn out to be a mad scramble type of season as the Meadowlands Pace eliminations approach on July 7.