By Mike Bozich
As the connections of Courtly Choice stood in the winner's circle basking in the shadow of the Crawford Farm's Meadowlands Pace trophy, Trainer Blake Macintosh reflected on his numerous Meadowlands Pace wins...on the training track of course. "How many times do you go out and jog in the morning and pretend you win the Meadowlands Pace? I've won the Meadowlands Pace 30 times out jogging, it's amazing and a dream come true," Macintosh told Post Time with Mike and Mike's Jessica Otten after the race.
The dream started with a gamble. The 3-year-old son of Art Major-Lady Ashlee Ann was supplemented into the 'Pace' for $60,000. "We didn't have any plans on doing it until we saw that Lather Up and Lost In Time were out", Macintosh told Post Time with Mike and Mike prior to the eliminations. The gamble paid off, as Courtly Choice swept passed to win the 40th edition of the "Pace' in 1:47.1.
Bred by Winbak Farm, Courtly Choice is a half-brother to millionaire pacer and Breeders Crown champion, Betterthanchedder. The dam of Courtly Choice (Lady Ashlee Ann) is a hall of fame broodmare with offspring that have made over $4.5 million in racetrack earnings. She was eligible to become a Hall of Fame broodmare by producing one millionaire and two winners of $500,000 plus individually. Along with Courtly Choice and Betterthanchedder, she is also the dam to BJ's Squall ($261,750 - 1:53.1s), Ashlee's Big Guy ($978,168 - 1:50.4f) and Artist's View ($795,750 - 1:49.4) among others. "Lady Ashlee Ann was named after my daughter," said Winbak Owner and Founder Joe Thomson. "She was a fantastic filly born in the middle of June. She was small, and out of a stallion that was not very popular at the time, but she's made it to the hall of fame and has had a terrific production career," Thomson continued. Courtly Choice ended up being her last foal, as Lady Ashlee Ann died having him at the age of 22. Courtly Choice was raised by a nurse mare. "He was a nice horse," said Winbak Yearling Manager James Ladwig. "My yearling notes on him were all positive. He had a good yearling video. His action was one of the better looking foals from the mare. He was a great individual to leave a lasting legacy for hall of famer, Lady Ashlee Ann."
(Courtly Choice yearling video https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=ov1-hjRescM)
In 2016, Courtly Choice was sold at the Lexington Select Sale for $60,000, and is now currently owned by the partnership of Hutt Racing Stable, Mac & Heim Stables, Daniel Plouffe, and Touch Stone Farms. After a pair of qualifiers, he made his debut at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 30th, finishing second in a race restricted to two-year-olds. His first win was on August 2nd, 2017 in a New York Sire Stakes event at Saratoga, where he won despite being parked the mile in 1:53.1.
It wasn't until his 3-year-old season however, that Courtly Choice thrusted himself into the spotlight by winning six of eight races, including the Crawford Farm's Meadowlands Pace in the event's third fastest time ever (1:47.1) in it's 40 year history. The Macintosh trainee has been supplemented to the Cane Pace, which takes place on Hambletonian day (Aug 4th) at The Meadowlands.