Race 1: 3-5-7
#3 Catch a Heart returned off of a long layoff on June 1st, finishing evenly to be 5th. He does need to improve off of that effort to win, but I can see it. He did win the Alabama Bred Futurity as a two year old. #5 Chiseled in Kisses has a knack for finishing second, he has 10 runner up finishes in his forty career starts. In his last start in 2013 he ran against the super tough Eyesa Zoomn, so this could potentially be an easier spot. This is his first 2014 start and he may need a race before hitting winning stride. #7 Our General Grant is not a solid favourite as his most recent win came in Speed Index company in July, but he does have two starts this season and draws the outside post.
Race 2: 5-3-1
This is the first of two trials for the Ajax John Deere Juvenile Challenge. #5 Speed of Life draws the outside post for her debut, which I see as an asset. Her most recent gate work, 250 yards from the gate in 13.88 shows potential, and you don't get 15-1 on a Davy Ward/Gary McNichol two year old often. #3 Waving Sandy Home is likely the post time favourite, showing a 13.55 250 yard bullet gate workout on June 17th. Her dam was a multiple stakes placed 11-time winner. She should be tough. #1 Fortune Pending is part of an entry for Kim Ito. His most recent workout was solid and Brian Bell will be in the saddle. You have to respect this entry.
Race 3: 1-3-2
This is the second of two trials for the Ajax John Deere Juvenile Challenge. #1 Corona Straw hasn't been the fastest in the workouts. That's a concern, but I do like the inside post in a small field. She's a Texas bred, so I really have to respect her. #3 Ramble On Corona, another Kim Ito trainee with Brian Bell riding, fired a bullet workout on June 11th, 13.76 from the gate. That's tough to ignore. If Corona Straw proves to not be too quick then this filly is the one to beat. #2 Jumping Guitar has three races down in Oklahoma. That's an edge over the unraced competition, but she hasn't shown any talent. That last race at Fair Meadows was sad. I wouldn't bet to win at 2-1 but someone has to round it out.
Race 4: 1-4-2
#1 Eyesa Speedy Simon is the only one in this field who has raced, finishing fourth. Perhaps he can improve off of that and win here. #4 Sycamor Flame worked fairly well on June 4th, 13.89 from the gate. Her dam was Stakes placed as a two year old. #2 Im Aquicktrick is not particularly interesting. She worked fairly well on June 11th, doesn't have a flashy pedigree, but why not try her to round things out at 8-1?
Race 5: 1-2-4
#1 Sugar Bean Perry started the season a neck behind Cruwysn Down Home, who came back to be second to Pegasos One Underpar. He then finished fifth in a very tough starter that included Eyesa Zoomn, Storytime Blue and Tres Okie. Today he draws the rail and gets an easier bunch than last time. He won from the rail back in October. #2 Cruwysn the Arctic is a two time winner this meet. He moves into the Nw4 group and looks to continue his good form. #4 Im Pretty Fames ran a very close second last time, earning a solid 70 speed figure. She hasn't won in a long time, but isn't a toss if you think she can run the effort she ran last time.
Race 6: 3-2-4
This looks like a two horse race to me. #3 Cameron Dash exits a win against a similar condition. He gets a small field than last time. Both of his starts this year have been solid, and I don't see why the momentum would stop here if he breaks well. His main competitor is #2 Jess Carolina, who started her year with a close second in the open mare allowance ranks. I would pick her to win but she only seems to win against Ontario Sired company. However, her last race is good enough to win this. #4 Carters Secret has been a disappointment this year and last, most recently finishing last in a trial for the Picov Maturity. He should be a decent allowance horse. He's just not the same as he was when he was two.
Race 7: 6-10-5
This is the $86,200 Picov Maturity. #6 Mitford looks for his third win in as many starts this year. He's the best horse if he gets away well, it's as simple as that. I would love to see him keep his streak going. #10 A Plain Brown Rapper had no excuse in his trial, where he was fourth behind Mitford. I still think he's one of the best horses in Ontario, so at 6-1 from the outside post I think he's a player. His two final Hialeah races were so good it's tough not to like him. #5 What Ta Wear ran a very good closing second behind Mitford in their trial. She's a deserving second choice, it wouldn't surprise me at all if she ended up winning a Stakes later this year. I respect her.
Race 8: 5-4-9
#5 Ram Tuff was beaten a 1/2 length in a Picov Derby trial last time, earning a very strong 72 speed figure. That figure and this class drop more than hints he should be able to win this race. #4 Theydontlikemyname is such a hard knocking mare, she almost always runs a respectable race. Her problem is she doesn't win often, going 1-for-14 in her career. Could today be win #2? Definitely. Is it worth a bet at a short price? I would say no. #9 Down Town Sugar was beaten a nose last time, outrunning a few of his competition here. He has some back class, qualifying to last year's Alex Picov Futurity, and has hit the board in four-of-eight starts. He's a factor.
Good luck to everyone playing today! Don't forget that Ajax will have a Canada Day card of racing on Tuesday, featuring several on-track events both during and after racing. Be sure to come out if you can, it will be tons of fun.