Thursday, 28 August 2014

Canadian Millions Night a success

On Wednesday night Woodbine hosted the Canadian Millions Sales Stakes, a series of Stakes races for horses who have passed through the ring of the CTHS Yearling sale. This was the second year that the event was held on a Wednesday night. The races were broadcast on national television by TSN.

     The first of the Sales Stakes was the $125,000 Halton for three year olds and up going a mile over the E. P. Taylor turf course. Although winless since May 2013, Hampstead Heath ($6.10) took a drop from the Graded Stakes class, sat a stalking trip and won by a length and a quarter under leading rider Luis Contreras. Early pacesetter Blessed One, a filly facing males, held for second with Courtville finishing third. Brian Lynch was the winning trainer for owner Robert Smithen.

     Following the Halton was the $125,000 Elgin, a 1 1/16 mile race on the polytrack for three year olds and upwards. Canadian Champion Pender Harbour ($2.80) dropped to last in the compact field of five, began a rally around the far turn and took over down the stretch to win by a length over pacesetter Phil's Dream. Luis Contreras rode for trainer Michael De Paulo and owners Dennis Andrews, Sandra Lazaruk and Rob & Roberta Giffin.

    A second 1 1/16 mile race over the polytrack, the $125,000 Algoma featured a field of six fillies and mares. Searching for her first victory of 2014, I'm a Kittyhawk ($15.80) dropped back to last early and began a rally around the far turn, took the lead with 70 yards to go and won by a length over Wonder Where Stakes runner-up Skylander Girl and Sweater Weather. David Moran rode for trainer Robert Crean, who is part owner along with Jonathan Earle and Nicholas & Victoria Martin.

   The $200,000 Muskoka was the first of two races for two year olds on the card, with fillies travelling six and a half furlongs. Trainer/owner John Ross won 2013's edition with eventual Queen's Plate winner Lexie Lou, and doubled up this year with Brooklynsway ($14.20.) Stalking the pace from fifth early, Brooklynsway made a late rally up the rail to win by a length and a quarter under jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson. Quidi Vidi finished second with Eff Bee Eye holding third.

    Older horses returned to the spotlight for the $125,000 Kenora, a six furlong sprint. Black Hornet ($6.20) set stunning fraction of 21.72, 43.73 and 55.74, and kept going the entire way to win by three and a half lengths. Bear No Joke held second over Langstaff. Justin Stein rode the winner for trainer Pat Parente and owner Winview Racing Stable.

    The final Stakes of the night was the $200,000 Kenora for two year old colts and geldings going 6 1/2 furlongs. Breaking from the rail, Phil's Cocktail ($18.20) showed early speed, dueling with and putting away heavy favourite Super Colerosa, and drew off to win by two and a half lengths under a drive. Entwistle completed a lasix-free exactor, with Ethical Funds rallying for third. David Moran rode his second winner of the night. Trained by John Le Blanc, Phil's Cocktail is owned by R. I. Clarkson.

    Wagering on the eight race card totaled $2,051,117, an increase of $332,927, 16.3% from 2013. 63 betting interests competed tonight, up from 55 in 2013. Overall, a very successful night.

    The CTHS Canadian Premier Yearling Sale runs September 2nd and 3rd at the Woodbine Sales Pavilion. The catalogue can be viewed here.

    Have a good day.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Ajax Downs Tuesday Selections

Boy do we have a card today! Today is Bank of America Challenge Championship day here at Ajax Downs! The Bank of America Challenge is probably the race of the year in my opinion. Nine older horses will line up looking for a berth to the Grade I, $350,000 final at Prairie Meadows in October. We've got a nice undercard with some full fields. Be sure to check us out today. Here are my program selections.

Race 1: 4-5-3
#4 Caraways Jokers Lane broke his maiden two starts ago at today's 330 yard distance, and came back to be fourth going 400 yards after being brushed at the start. The field he catches today is very soft, if he breaks well he'll be very tough. #5 Eeny Meeny Miny Moe broke her maiden in a soft field of $3,000 claimers. She doesn't have a lot of talent, but neither does anyone else in this field. At least she exits a win. #3 Straightfromtheghetto might hold a record for most consecutive fifth place finishes, with seven in a row. His speed figures suggest he can probably run well in this field, but he hasn't won in a very long time. Early 
Double wagering is available in this race.
Race 2: 2-3-6
This race is the start of the Early Pick 3. #2 Rolling Ring definitely seems like the logical winner here, he finished a good second behind an Oklahoma bred two starts ago and got a rough trip when finishing fourth in a trial for the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity. If he gets a clean run he should be best. #3 Cc Fire N Ice has yet to run a bad effort, but just hasn't been able to put it all together yet. His runner up finish on July 27th is a good race that makes him respectable here. #6 Eye Said Im Ned debuted in an Alex Picov Memorial Futurity trial where he finished fourth. His time that day was slower than the top two selections, and he was unable to keep a straight path. He needs to be more mature today if he wants to win.
Race 3: 2-7-3
#2 Dash Fast Injun makes his first start of 2014, coming off of an even end of 2013. His only win last year came in a 550 yard allowance in Michigan. Today he runs in a lower class, and he shows a bullet 11.81 breeze. If he runs the way he worked, he'll be a factor. #7 All Wacked Out is a multiple Stakes winning earner of $220,005 who absolutely deserves favouritism here. She's was racing in the open allowances and Maturity trials, but wasn't firing, then really disappointed when finishing second to last in a non-winners of two since the date allowance. Her speed figures still suggest she's the fastest, and this is a significant class drop, but her form is going the wrong way. #3 Fg Corazon kicked off the season with a maiden victory, but then tried to bite off a bit more than he could chew in the Derby trials. The non winners of two field he faced last time was fairly competitive, he can pick up the pieces today.
Race 4: 6-3-4
$.20 Pick 4 wagering starts here! #6 Silken Memories is a very consistent filly; so far this year she has won twice and has yet to finish worse than third, and she's only missed the board once in her 11 start career. She caught a tough horse in Cat Vision last time and ran a game race. I certainly think she's the one to beat. #3 A Shore Thing finished fourth in a $7,000 claimer last time behind Eye Go Streakin going 300 yards. He's a late closer who's better at 350. I think the extra distance will let him get by Eye Go Streakin today. #4 Eye Go Streakin is a colt with some class; he won a Stakes race at Hialeah by DQ over the winter. He did beat A Shore Thing last time, and while I do think A Shore Thing is better with the extra 50 yards, I don't think Eye Go Streakin should be ignored by any means.
Race 5: 4-2-10
#4 Arctic Gate debuts here for Stan Webb. She is out of a Stakes winning dam who won nine of her 30 career starts. The 250 yard gate workout in 13.69 is also encouraging. I don't mind her at 10-1. #2 Okey Dokey Fast has raced twice and gotten a second and a third. She was beaten only a head in her lone start at today's distance, and is a big factor. #10 Ramble On Corona was only a head behind Okey Dokey Fast in that July 13th race. Drawing the outside post could benefit her. She does have good gate speed.
Race 6: 2-5-7
#2 Wild About Nellie has only hit the board once this year, and that was by DQ, but she really hasn't been racing badly. I like the class drop and the cutback to 250; today could be the day. #5 Tarzann has yet to hit the board in his six race career, but he drops in class for leading trainer Renee Wilson. We'll see if that makes a difference. #7 Runaway Shawne debuted at this level on August 4th, and ran an okay fifth. She makes her second start today and draws outside; improvement could be afoot. The Late Pick 3 starts here.
Race 7: 1-8-6
This is possibly the race of the year! Today's feature is the $70,920 Bank of America Challenge Regional Championship, and we certainly have a stellar field compiled. The winner of this race gets a berth to the Grade I, $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship at Prairie Meadows in October. #1 Joltin Jess has never raced at Ajax Downs before. He wintered down at Hialeah, where he raced in four Stakes races, winning two and finishing second in the other two. He beat a horse called Dash Master Jess, who has gone on to win a pair of Stakes including a Grade II and Sam Houston. The fact that regular rider Shanley Jackson ventures up to ride him is encouraging. This horse is very dangerous here. #8 Mitford is the local champion; he's three for three this year, exiting a win in the Picov Maturity. It's very notable that he set the local track record for 440 yards, 21.52. However, this is the test of his career, and he will almost certainly be a short price. I hate to do it, but I have to try to beat him here. #6 The Fdd Map won this race last year. He's a classy horse who has earned over $170,000, almost all of it here at Ajax. His late running style makes him a factor at the 440 yard distance. Late Double wagering is offered here.
Race 8: 10-5-7
Today's card ends with a Speed Index race. #10 Shake Pretty Baby looks very tough here. She's run three good races in a row, drops in class, and draws the outside. She's not a horse who wins a lot, but this is the kind of group that she can beat. #5 Ima Good Karma couldn't compete in an Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity trial last time, but she was beaten only a half length in a non winners of two prior to that. She's a fairly inexperienced mare who could move up with the easier company. #7 Shesastreakinchick has been racing in conditioned allowance races, running well sometimes and not so well other times. She takes the biggest class drop and should run better here.

Good luck to everyone playing today! Thanks for supporting Ajax Downs!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Remington Park is off to a fast start

Remington is a track I follow more closely in the spring during their Quarter Horse meet. However, the more I check their entries and results charts, the more I realize that this is a track that people should be betting. And looking at the first four nights of their meet, more people are betting them than last year. They are off to a great start.

     Here are the numbers for the first four days of this year's meet and last year's meet.

Day 1 - 96 horses, 9 races, $841,851
Day 2 - 94 horses, 9 races, $747,055
Day 3 - 94 horses, 9 races, $629,134
Day 4 - 87 horses, 9 races, $712,342

Total handle - $2,930,382
Avg daily handle - $732,595.50
Avg handle/race - $81,399.50
Avg field size - 10.3

Day 1 - 86 horses, 9 races, $675,534
Day 2 - 90 horses, 9 races, $714,846
Day 3 - 91 horses, 9 races, $585,394
Day 4 - 99 horses, 9 races, $646,137

Total handle - $2,621,911
Avg daily handle - $655,477
Avg handle/race - $72,830.86
Avg field size - 10.16

     Handle is up 10.5%. Field size is (slightly) up. We've only had four days of racing, there's still a long way to go for this meet, but Remington is off to a great start. The field sizes are big and the money is getting bigger. Perhaps Remington is a track we should all be paying a bit more attention to.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Four-Forty goes to Arlington; The Breeder's Stakes was interesting; Successful Canadian Derby

     First off, this blog is two days overdue now, but I got pushed back first by my exhaustion, and second by the incredibly pressing issue that is different scenarios for handle at Mountaineer. 
     But you read correctly; I went to Arlington for the 32nd running of the Arlington Million. I thought Arlington was a fantastic track. It's gorgeous. The grandstand is well-kept, the paddock allows you to get very close to the horses, and the staff is very friendly. I met a lot of fantastic people, I witnessed some outstanding racing, and I was left with nothing but good things to say. If you haven't been to Arlington, I strongly recommend it. I will certainly try to go back in the future. A few of my pictures (top-notch cellphone pictures, at that) are here.
     On Sunday I returned to Woodbine for the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the $500,000 Breeder's Stakes. Woodbine did a great job advertising the big race on TV, plenty of people showed up. However, Breeder's Day fell victim to an underwhelming undercard, and handle went down $766,537, 19.5%. However, the handle on the Breeder's itself was up 11.5% from last year. In 2013, there were 10 horses in the Breeder's and a heavy favourite in the form of Up With the Birds. This year, 12 horses entered and the favourite went off at 2-1. While last year's running was certainly a higher quality field, bettors show time and time again that a competitive, large field of horses is great wagering, regardless of the quality.
     Northlands Park had their big day on Saturday, the 85th Canadian Derby. The Canadian Derby is a Grade III going 11 furlongs over the bullring. They had a very successful day. 2013 handle was $1,160,651, 2014 did $1,257,544. That's a 7.7% increase from last year, but it gets more impressive. Both years had 13 races, but the first race this year was a Quarter Horse race. The Quarter Horse race only handled $30,318. That means 12 Thoroughbred races in 2014 outhandled 13 Thoroughbred races in 2013 by $66,575. Average Thoroughbred handle per race this year was $102,268, up 12.7% from last year's $89,280. Congrats to Northlands. They're a small track that deserves the success they're having.
The Arlington grandstand from the top of the stretch

Finish of a race at Arlington

The Arlington Paddock

View from the press box

Break of the Breeder's Stakes

Horses come towards the wire in the Breeder's Stakes
Have a good day everybody.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Time for some Mountaineer Math

The day has come where I've started blogging about Mountaineer. God help me.

     All jokes aside, we've got an interesting little mathematical scenario here. Mountaineer currently runs five nights a week, with nine races a card, totaling 45 races per race. As of Monday, they will be dropping one race per card, leaving the total number of races per week at 40.

    Let's take a look at how much handle each night drove last week, just for numbers to go on.

Monday Aug. 18th: $1,118,812, $124,312/race.
Sunday Aug. 17th: $1,018,276, $113,141/race.
Saturday Aug. 16th: $795,493, $88,388/race.
Wednesday Aug. 13th: $720,546, $80,060/race.
Tuesday Aug 12th: $1,252,920, $139,213/race.

   Fantastic. We see here that the Mountain's best nights are Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, while Saturday's and Wednesday do not perform as well. This is mostly due to the increased competition they face on those nights, not a shock. Going on these averages per race handles, with eight race cards, here is what cards should look like.

Mondays: $994,496
Tuesdays: $1,113,704
Wednesdays: $640,480
Saturdays: $707,104
Sundays: $905,128

   That would leave total weekly handle at $4,360,912. But let's try something. We need to run 40 races per week. Instead of running five cards of eight races, let's get rid of Wednesday, the worst night, and do four cards of 10 races.

Mondays: $1,243,120
Tuesdays: $1,392,130
Saturdays: $883,880
Sundays: $1,131,410

    With that system, total weekly handle is $4,650,540, an increase of $289,628. At a 20% rake, that's an extra $57,925 in takeout every week.

    Now I'm under the understanding that management at Mountaineer did want to do this, but the racing commission would not allow it. That happens a lot everywhere. But the numbers don't lie, and my numbers say that four 10 race cards will be more profitable than five eight race cards.

    Have a good night everybody.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Ajax Downs Tuesday Selections

Welcome to the first regular card of Tuesday racing at Ajax Downs! We've got a great card to kick off the second part of the season, featuring an open allowance, two trials to the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby, and the $53,350 Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity! Here are my program selections.

Race 1: 2-1-4
The big switch! Welcome to Tuesday racing here at Ajax! #2 Winning Award is a debut runner who shows a pair of okay gate workouts prepping for this. He is out of a dam who was a three time winner in twelve starts, winning some trial races. I'll give him the edge to beat a pretty soft looking field. #1 Eyesa Speedy Simon finished second on June 29th, then competed in a Futurity trial last Sunday, went off as the favourite and offered nothing. His runner up finish suggests he could win here, but he needs to rebound from that last effort. #4 Dee Dees Winner has run the same even race in all three of her starts. I certainly don't think she'll win, but she doesn't need to have much talent to finish third in this field. The Early Double starts here.

Race 2: 4-3-5
The Early Pick 3 kicks off in this race. #4 Channelislandflyer was an easy winner of a $7,000 claiming non winners of three last time. Prior to that he was second behind multiple Stakes placed Silken Memories in an allowance event. If he breaks as well as he did last time he's dangerous. #3 Cat Vision had been knocking on the door in his first three starts of 2014 and finally got the job done in an optional $10,000 claiming event on August 3rd. He's a very nice horse, but he tends to have a late rally. 330 yards might be a bit short for him in this kind of spot. #5 Jj Maxwell started the season off facing the top level allowance horses, but was not effective. He dropped into an optional $7,000 claimer ran a good second. He is a nice horse, but his speed figures so far this year have been on the low side compared to the top two selections.

Race 3: 4-2-1
#4 A Plain Brown Rapper has had no luck at all this season. He did finally get a good race into him last time, finishing second to a nice mare in What Ta Wear. He earned a 92 speed figure for that race, which wins this easily, and I think the extra distance he gets today will be an asset. Hopefully today will finally be his day. #2 Ourfirstorphan has had notorious seconditis this year, finishing second in four of his five starts, mostly at the starter allowance level. This is a sideways class move in my opinion. #1 Caraway Blue should not have lost his last race, but he did with no excuse. His speed figure was low, and he just seems to be losing his killer instinct. It happens to horses as they get older.

Race 4: 9-8-5
This is the first of two trials for the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. It is also the start of the $.20 Pick 4. #9 Make Me a Miracle finished a good second behind Cruwysn the Arctic on June 15th. Cruwysn the Arctic is one the favourites in today's Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity. This filly unfortunately lost the rider on July 13th, but that isn't her fault. She seems to have some class, and I don't mind her at all at 15-1. #8 Zoomin On Ice is the deserving favourite here. He is multiple Stakes placed and exits an easy win in a non winners of two allowance. It's tough to see him not running a good race. #5 Down Town Sugar has run three very good races in a row, a pair of close seconds on June 8th and 29th, and then a non winners of two allowance win on July 20th. He's never tried 350 yards but it should be in his wheelhouse.

Race 5: 10-8-5
This is the second of two trials for the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. #10 Reckless an Wild, last year's Alex Picov Futurity winner looks very tough in this spot. He raced very gamely to be third by a head in his trial for the Adequan Derby Challenge before finishing a good fourth by a half length in the final. It took him a few starts but he seems to be rounding nicely into form. #8 Arctic Fame has qualified to the Picov Derby and the Adequan Derby Challenge this year, but has not been a factor in either. Today he gets to face Ontario Sired company, which could definitely make a big difference for him. #5 Sofar Gone broke his maiden by a length two back and came back to be third in a non winners of two allowance behind Down Town Sugar. His 64 speed figure gives him a chance here.

Race 6: 1-7-3
#1 Corona Four Twenty debuts here with a very nice workout, 250 yards from the gate in 13.66. His pedigree doesn't suggest much, but if he can show that same speed that he had in the workout then he is sure to be a factor here. #7 Another Shark is the horse to beat, but you have to be concerned that he is becoming a bit of a professional maiden, with ten starts so far. Regardless, he is almost always close and can not be discounted, especially with the drop in for a tag. #3 Jess Textin has run well in his last two efforts, a third for $3,000 claiming and a second in the straight maiden ranks. His form is solid and the rest of the field doesn't seem to be much. The Late Pick 3 begins here.

Race 7: 3-7-4
Here we have an open allowance for three year olds and up going 330 yards, and the start of the Late Double. #3 Streakinshagginwagon was three for three going into the Adequan Derby Challenge, including a win in the Picov Derby, but broke slowly and did not have enough late run to recover, finishing sixth. If you watch the replay, you see that he made up a lot of ground. With a clean break he can find himself back in the winner's circle. #7 Zip Kode had been second fiddle to Streakinshagginwagon in our three year old crop, but took advanage of Streakinshagginwagon's poor break and won the Adequan Derby Challenge. This multiple stakes winner is always dangerous when she gets the outside post. #4 Jessies Leavin You is riding a three win streak, albeit at lower levels. Her speed figures are solid and I think she can round things out.

Race 8: 9-7-4
Today's final race is our feature, the $53,350 Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity. To me, this race is all #9 Jesskissmytexas. He made his 2014 debut in his trial for this race and absolutely crushed, there was no competition. He's got a lot of talent, and I think today he will show it again. #7 Cruwysn the Arctic was the other trial winner. He had to fight to get the win there, but he proved best. It's tough to totally discount a horse who's won four of his five starts this year. #4 Not Looking to Shake was second behind Cruwysn the Arctic in their trial. He did one thing that really stands out in this field; finished third only a half length behind Mitford in a trial for the Picov Maturity. Don't toss this horse from your exotic wagers, he could be overlooked.

Good luck to everyone playing today!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Ajax Downs Sunday Selections

Welcome to Family Fun Day at Ajax Downs! It's the final Sunday card of the year and I'm in rush to get this posted, so here are my program selections for today's seven race card.

Race 1: 2-5-4
Welcome to Family Fun Day here at Ajax Downs! Our first race of the day is an Ontario Sired Starter Allowance. The Early Double starts here. #2 Down Home Girl had a couple of even efforts to kick off the meet, but she put it together on July 13th where she won an optional claimer, drawing off by a length. A repeat of that effort is good enough to win today. #5 Fastaz Task was beaten a half length in an allowance race on July 1st, and then came back to be third in an optional claimer. That was a bit of a regression from his allowance start, but still a respectable race. #4 Wild Roze finished a nose in front of Fastaz Task in their last start. She's capable of running well here, but she's not super consistent.

Race 2: 3-1-5
#3 Bold Six Love has been competing in the local Derbies and not racing poorly. He most recently finished 9th in the Adequan Derby Challenge, and while it looks bad on paper he really didn't race poorly. He did finish first in a Stakes race at Hialeah before being disqualified. I think the class drop is key for him. #1 Probie exits a win an optional $7,000 claimer where he beat a nice horse in Cat Vision. He's two-for-three at the 400 yard distance and looks strong here. To me, this race is between these two. #5 Hi N Dry has been second or third in four of her last five starts. She doesn't have the class of Bold Six Love or the winning record of Probie, but she's definitely the logical horse to round the field out. Remember that Pick 3 wagering starts here.

Race 3: 1-5-2
#1 Bodacious and Foxy debuted for a $5,000 claiming tag, ran a good fourth, and jumps up to the straight Ontario Sired maiden ranks. Luckily for him, he catches a field that isn't tough at all. With some second time out improvement, he should be good enough to win. #5 Arising Hero finished fourth behind Sweet Okey two weeks ago going 350 yards. Her comment for that race reads "closed belatedly," suggesting she will appreciate today's 400 yards. #2 Sweet Okey was not running well, but she rebounded on August 3rd, finishing third by a half length. Can she duplicate that? I don't know, but she doesn't have much competition here.

Race 4: 2-6-5
This race is the start of the $.20 Pick 4. #2 Waitin for Momma exits a good second behind multiple Stakes placed Zoomin On Ice. He's still looking for his first win of the season, but he's hit the board in three of six and seems logical here. #6 Noisyboy was a confident winner against Ontario Sired maidens on July 6th and came back three weeks later to be a good third against open non winners of two. His speed figures have increased in each start, it should be interesting to see what he can do today. #5 I Like Chics finished third behind Waiting for Momma on July 1st and fifth behind Noisyboy on July 27th. I do think this horse has some potential to be decent as he gains experience, but he'll have to find some improvement today if he's going to win.

Race 5: 7-2-3
#7 Hussey Too was racing at the starter allowance level, before dropping into a low level conditioned allowance, where she dropped the rider at the start. Today she takes another drop into $5,000 claiming, and almost certainly won't drop the rider. I'll take her at 15-1. #2 Code 36 has been racing for in the $3,000 claiming ranks, where he's run two good thirds this year. Here he takes a sideways class move, the tag is raised to $5,000, but this race is restricted to horses who haven't earned $2,500 in their last three starts. I see this eight year old running a good race. #3 Chissled N Fiesty drops down from an open non winners of three allowance. This mare has a tough time finding her way into the winner's circle, but she does grab place and show money on a regular basis. Last year she found good form in the late summer and fall months. I'll give her the call to round it out. Remember the Late Pick 3 starts here.

Race 6: 3-1-6
The Late Double kicks off here. #3 Mr Victory Six is a horse I've liked a lot since he came to Ontario, and he's yet to run a bad race. I was shocked that he got beat in the AQHA Maiden Challenge, but you can't win them all. Today he goes for a non winners of three allowance, and I think he'll be very tough. He's got the highest class rating by 16 points. #1 Mr Eazy has had a good 2014, with a win and two seconds, not to mention the fact that he qualified to the Adequan Derby Challenge. He was upset as the favourite last time, and second best again is how I see him today. #6 Three Points N Gone has raced twice this year and both have been respectable efforts. On July 1st he was second beaten a neck, then on July 13th he finished third after being bumped at the start. I don't see why he couldn't round out the triactor at 10-1.

Race 7: 2-6-9
Two year old Ontario Sired maidens wrap up today's card. #2 Shade of Grey debuted on August 3rd and ran a good second. She earned a good 43 speed figure that day. Today she cuts back from 330 to 250 yards, so she will need a sharp break, but if she gets away well she's the one to beat. #6 Dash for Dm didn't show much in his first two starts, but he seemed to put it all together on August 4th, finishing second by a head at today's 250 yard distance. You can't knock that effort. #9 Shakeurbooty debuts here for Nadia Marcoux. She gets the outside post which can be good for a first time starter, and shows a good 250 yard gate workout in 13.96 on July 16th. I like trying to get first timers in the mix.

Good luck to everyone playing!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sunday Ajax Downs Selections

It's the 15th day of racing this season here at Ajax Downs! It's been a great meet so far and we're keeping it going with today's eight race card. Today we've got four trials to one of our biggest races, the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity! 39 two year olds have entered and are trying to qualify to the $75,000 added final on Labour Day. Here are my program selections!

Race 1: 5-6-3
We kick off the day with an Ontario Sired two-year old maiden. #5 Dinahlicious debuts here for trainer Bob Broadstock. This filly is out of Dinah Carolina, who won her career debut and had a record of 22-8-3-3 in her career. She posted a bullet workout, 250 yards from the gate in 13.55. Looks good to me. #6 Okey Dokey Fast is the logical favourite here. She debuted from the outside post on July 13th and finished second by a head. If she improves second time out she will be tough to beat. #3 Itsallaboutramblin is another debut runner here. He's out of a dam who was a one-time winner racing at Los Alamitos. He shows a 250 gate work in 13.82, which is not bad at all. We'll see what he can do. Be sure to play the Early Double!

Race 2: 8-7-3
Early Pick 3 wagering starts here. #8 Lookingforagoodtime takes a big drop in class from the top level allowance ranks to this optional claimer for non earners of $4,000 in their last three starts. Last year he ran in the two biggest races for older horses here, the Bank of America Challenge and the Alex Picov Championship. His last race was a respectable fourth; on class alone he's definitely the one they have to beat. #7 Holey Foose did not keep easy company in her first three starts of the season, kicking the year off in an allowance against What Ta Wear, then running in a pair of Derby trials against Streakinshagginwagon, Zip Kode and Mr Victory Six. She then caught a more reachable non-winners of two allowance and ran a very good second. The class drop will help her. #5 Nemos Angel has been racing mainly in the bottom claiming ranks and doing very well, six of her last seven starts have been second or third place finishes. The speed figures in the low-mid 60s that she's thrown in her pair of runner-up finishes this year suggest she can be competitive here.

Race 3: 8-5-3
This is the first of four trials to the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity. #8 Irish Whisky has had plenty of conditioning getting ready for her debut, showing four gate works on her tab. Most recently she worked 250 in 13.76 from the gate. She is out of a Stakes winning dam who was beaten a nose in her career debut. I don't mind her for an upset here. #5 Jumping Guitar was an impressive winner of the John Deere Juvenile Challenge on July 20th. That alone makes her the horse to beat, but she will likely be a short price at post time. #3 Fortune Pending finished second in his debut, a trial for the John Deere Juvenile Challenge, then went on to finish second in the final. I don't see why he couldn't run another good race today.

Race 4: 8-2-5
This is the second of four trials to the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity. It is also the start of the $.20 Pick 4. #8 Illbegoneflying looked very good in her debut, where she won by half a length. That race produced next-out winner Jess as Sweet as You. We'll see if this filly can double up. #2 Rolling Ring got an unfortunate debut, losing the irons at the start. He then went to try an open maiden as opposed to the Ontario Sired maidens most of these horses have been running in, and ran a good second behind an Oklahoma-bred First Prize Oscar, who shows up in the next race. I'm interested in seeing this gelding develop. #5 Eyesa Speedy Simon ran a respectable fourth in his debut, then went on to be second by a length second time out. The filly who beat him there, Im Aquicktrick, also shows up in the next trial. This gelding needs to improve, but he did move in the right direction last time.

Race 5: 4-9-3
This is the third of four trials to the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity. #4 Speed Of Life was a super impressive winner of her debut, getting off a bit slow and making a huge late run. In the John Deere Juvenile Challenge, she didn't get away well at all, getting bumped and forced out at the break, but again she rallied and finished third. When this filly breaks clean, she'll be very tough to handle. #9 Im Aquicktrick debuted on June 29th and drew off by a length. It was a visually impressive win, she earned a 63 speed figure, and now she's had a race into her. Certainly a factor. #3 First Prize Oscar was very game in his debut, dueling the whole way and fighting off the competition. The only concern about that race was that it was a small field of six. However, I think he's got some talent.

Race 6: 7-9-3
This is the fourth and final trial to the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity, and the start of the Late Pick 3. #7 Waving Sandy Home debuted in a trial for the John Deere Juvenile Challenge and ran a good third behind Speed of Life. Then in the final she got quite the trip. She raced erratically early, then once she straightened out she got forced in by Fortune Pending. Very unlucky race. I can forgive that, and give her a chance to get the maiden win here. #9 A Mere Outlaw is an Oklahoma bred who was quite impressive in her debut, breaking very fast and holding to win by 3/4 of a length under hand urging. She is the one to beat. #3 Jess Shake Em was the only horse making up and ground on A Mere Outlaw, rallying nicely from the outside. If she has a rally like that today, perhaps the 400 yard distance will be good for her.

Race 7: 3-7-6
#3 Eyesa Zoomn faced defeat for the first time of the meet on July 20th, where he broke inwards and didn't have the late rally he needed. He's still such a nice horse, I rave about him every time he runs. He's won 10 of his 19 starts here at Ajax, he's never lost at 330 yards; as always he's the horse to beat. #7 Ourfirstorphan was second in that July 20th race where Eyesa Zoomn finished third. He's been second in three of his four starts this year, he's hit the board in 14 of 26 local starts, he's nice. #6 Jesse James Alibi gets the third spot on the basis that everyone else in this race is less than impressive to say the least. She started the season with a win going 110 yards, then ran fifth in another 110 yard race, but at a higher level, and most recently finished fourth in a $10,000 starter allowance. Ourfirstorphan was fifth in that race, but he broke slowly. Like I said, she seems better than the rest. I don't have much to say about her. Remember that the Late Double starts here.

Race 8: 3-6-7
Our final race of the day is for Ontario Sired $5,000 claiming maidens. #3 Sheza Fast Rambler ran two good efforts to start off the season, a second against Ontario Sired maidens and a third against open $5,000 maiden claimers. She then tried open maidens and finished an even sixths. She gets the biggest class drop today, and she should be a factor. #6 Everything Fast is a professional maiden, he's raced 17 times and runs plenty of good races, but he just can't get the job done. He's definitely better than most in this race. #7 Blazin On Bac debuts here for Barry Wood. Her workouts coming into this aren't flashy, but she doesn't need to be a flashy horse to run well here. At 12-1 I have no problem using her to round things out.

Good luck to everyone playing today!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Holiday Monday Ajax Downs Selections

It's a civic holiday up here in Canada, so we've got racing at a lot of our tracks, and Ajax Downs is no exception. We've got a 10 race card today headlined by a pair of trials for the Ontario Sired Maturity. Here are my program selections.

Race 1: 5-3-1
We kick off our holiday card with a low-level conditioned allowance. #5 Jess Royal Bucks made his 2014 debut on July 20th over a muddy track. He's never had any success over a wet track so I can forgive the poor effort he gave that day. His speed figures are consistently higher than the rest of this field, and he should be very tough second off the layoff. #3 Runnin Is My Game has had very little luck this year, consistently having issues at the gate. However, the one race where he did get away well, he ran a respectable fourth. Hopefully he breaks well today. #1 Hussey Too offered nothing in a starter allowance two weeks ago. However, she did race well two back, and she's hit the board in half of her starts at the 300 yard distance. Early Double wagering starts here.

Race 2: 3-6-5
Pick 3 wagering kicks off here. #3 Yessir E Bob is lightly raced, only five career starts. He broke his maiden two back, and came back to run a decent fifth in a competitive non-winners of two allowance. Today he drops in for the tag, and catches what looks to be a soft group. #6 Lolamo has been racing against tougher company this year, racing in a pair of Derby trials, and not being particularly competitive. This will be an easier spot for him. #5 Winners Spirit started the season with an even fifth at this level, but he did end 2013 off in decent form and he can improve second off the layoff.

Race 3: 1-4-3
This is the first of two trials for the Ontario Sired Maturity. #1 Jesskissmytexas makes his seasonal debut after a great 2013, winning three of five starts including the Ontario Sired Derby. He shows a a bullet 220 yard work in 12.32 on July 16th, and should be tough here. #4 Pegasos One Underpar has been competitive in all four of his starts this year, including a win at the Ontario Sired open allowance level. He's classy, and it's worth noting that he's the only horse in this field with a win at the 400 yard distance. #3 Cruwysn Down Home defeated Pegasos One Underpar by a nose last time. In his previous race that result was reversed. He has run some good races before, including a third behind Jesskissmytexas in the Ontario Sired Derby, and deserves respect.

Race 4: 1-4-5
This is the second of two trials for the Ontario Sired Maturity, and the start of the $.20 Pick 4. #1 Not Looking to Shake exits a good fourth behind Cruwysn Down Home and Pegasos One Underpar. Three back he finished a close third to Mitford. His class rating is almost ten points higher than anyone else here; the one to beat. #4 Cruwysn the Arctic is three-for-four this year, all at the Ontario Sired conditioned allowance levels. This is a class test for him, but winning horses find ways to keep winning. #5 Charted By Dm raced also raced a good third behind Pegasos One Underpar and Cruwysn Down Home last time, but not in the same race as Not Looking to Shake. I don't think he's as fast as my top choice, but he may have a chance at an upset if he gets away well from the outside post.

Race 5: 2-5-3
#2 Hot Harvest Moon debuted in a trial for the John Deere Juvenile Challenge where he ran a good third. In the final he lost all chance after rearing at the break. Today he drops into Ontario Sired maiden company and should be tough with a good break. #5 Jess as Sweet as You has raced twice, both third place finishes in today's class. She gets a shorter field today, and should run another good race. #3 Super Sweet Herman ran third in his second start, but offered nothing in his most recent try. We'll see if he'll be able to duplicate the good effort he threw on July 6th.

Race 6: 1-2-4
Here we've got a 110 yard 'Gridiron Gallop!' #1 Jessies Leaving You tries the 110 yard distance for the first time after two consecutive wins. She broke very quick in her last two, a good thing to be able to do at this distance. #2 Tough Twist has run at the 110 yard distance in his last two starts, first at today's claiming level where he ran a good third, and then at the open allowance level where he didn't offer as much. We'll see if the drop back in class helps him today. #4 The Choochinator makes his 99th career start today. He's run some decent races at the distance before, and he still knows how to get away from the gate.

Race 7: 1A-6-3
#1A Theydontlikemyname has been in good form this year, hitting the board in all four of her starts, two against open runners. She exits a win, and the second place finisher came back to win. We'll see if she can make it two in a row. #6 Mr Eazy ran a game second in a trial for the Adequan Derby Challenge, but was not competitive in the final. This is a much easier spot, and he is the one to beat here. #3 Chuggington won his non-winners of two two starts ago, and came back to run a decent third against non-winners of three. He's not as fast as the top two, but at 10-1 I figure he's worth a shot to round out the triactor.

Race 8: 4-2-6
#4 Donttellmemybusiness has been racing against tougher company this year, and has run some decent races as well. He started the year in a Picov Derby trial, finishing fifth in a tough field, then finished third in a trial for the AQHA Maiden Challenge. In the Maiden Challenge final he broke poorly and didn't recover. He drops down into Ontario Bred maiden claiming where he should be quite tough. #2 Smoken Eagle debuted on July 13th for this tag and finished second. We can expect some improvement second time out, but she'll need to run faster than a 35 speed figure to win here. #6 Buster Bri beat only one horse in a trial for the AQHA Maiden Challenge. He's run some good races in the straight maiden levels, four on the board finishes in eight starts, and could be a factor here. Be sure to play the Late Pick 3, which starts in this race.

Race 9: 1-4-2
This race is the start of the Late Double. #1 Lookingforagoodtime really seems to lay over this field. He's dropping down from the open allowance class, he qualified to last year's Alex Picov Championship, his class rating is nine points the highest; he looks very tough. #4 Code 36 has run two good races for the $3,000 claiming tag this year. Most horses here have been running at higher levels, but I like that he's been finishing in the money; at 10-1 why not try him for the exactor? #2 Shake Pretty Baby finished third in an Ontario Sired conditioned allowance last time behind Andelay Okey, who came back to win again. She's far from consistent, but so are most of this group.

Race 10: 9-6-1
#9 Zommin to the Artic showed no talent at all as a two year old, but made his three year old debut on July 20th and ran a good third. With some second off the layoff improvement and a good break from the outside post, he could find his way to the winner's circle. #6 Lil Shaz was well beaten in the trial and the AQHA Maiden Challenge final, but those were tougher horses. Her one try against Ontario Sired maiden company resulted in a third place finish. This class suits her better. #1 Everything Fast has been in good form this year, with a seasonal record of 4-0-1-2. He's a tough horse to back with a win bet, due to his 0-for-17 career record. He can certainly hit the board, and perhaps today will be the day he gets the job done.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sunday Ajax Downs Selections

We've got two cards of racing this week at Ajax Downs for the civic holiday here in Canada. We start the week off with a seven race card. Here are my program selections.

Race 1: 4-3-2
#4 Zoomin On Ice is a two-time Stakes placed gelding who kicked off the season with a good third behind Streakinshagginwagon in a Picov Derby trial. He went on to be fifth in the final before running an even fifth in an optional claiming group. Today he catches a soft bunch, and is the best horse here if his back class comes through. #3 Caraways Jokers Lane broke his maiden last time going 330 yards, with the comment reading "exploded late." That suggests he should like today's 400 yard distance. We'll see what he can do facing non-winners of two. #2 Waitin For Momma has developed a bit of a 'good race-bad race pattern' this year, and should be coming into the good race. Her good race is faster than most of these, but I question if she can hold on the whole 400 yards. Don't forget that this race is the start of the early Daily Double.

Race 2: 3-5-1
Early Pick 3 wagering kicks off here. #3 What Ta Wear has run a pair of very good seconds to Mitford in the trial and final for the Picov Maturity most recently. Any horse who can run that well against a horse like Mitford is not a horse to be knocked, especially in a short field like this. She'll be a very short price, but she'll also be very tough to beat. #5 A Plain Brown Rapper kept very good company lines over the fall and winter racing in the States, but has not been himself since returning to Ontario. The short field today may help him run a better race. #1 All Wacked Out also has not been as good as she once was this meet, failing to hit the board in three starts. She's tough to totally toss, though. She has won 14 times and earned almost $220,000.

Race 3: 5-4-7
#5 Wild Boyz Victory has run twice, first in a trial for the John Deere Juvenile Challenge and second time in the final. Neither of those runs were particularly interesting, but they were against tougher horses. She may fare better against today's Ontario Sired company. #4 Dash to Teller did nothing in his debut, but showed some improvement in his second start, finishing fifth. With more experience, more talent could show. #7 Shade of Grey debuts here for the hot trainer/jockey combo of Greg Watson and Chelsey Willick. She is out of a Stakes winning dam and shows a good 14.18 gate workout prepping for this.

Race 4: 5-1-7
This is a nice group of allowance horses to kick off today's $.20 Pick 4. #5 Silken Memories has yet to miss the board this year, scoring a seasonal record of 4-2-1-1. After a game third in the Picov Derby, she scored an easy win against non-winners of three allowance company. If she gets away well she'll be tough to catch. Renee Wilson and Ivy Lane Racing send out an entry of #1 Ivory Injun and #1A Cole Miner. Ivory Injun exits a good third in the Adequan Derby Challenge, and Cole Miner most recently won a $10,000 starter allowance. These are both nice horses, and you have to figure at least one of them will run well. #7 Cat Vision has hit the board in all three of his 2014 starts. He closed well to be second last time, and should appreciate the extra 50 yards today. He does have back class; in 2012 he won the Alexander Picov Championship.

Race 5: 6-2-1
#6 Catch a Heart made his first start in Ontario in June after not having raced at all since November 2012. It took three tries off the layoff, but he got the job done on July 13. His runner up came back to win his next start. I'll give this Stakes winner a chance to double up. #2 Channelislandsflyer has a real knack for finishing second, with nine runner up finishes in 22 career starts. He's a horse you can't toss, he runs a lot of good races, but just isn't a winner. #1 Real Wild takes a shot against open company after an easy win against a suspect field of Ontario Sired $5,000 claiming NW2. I'm not sure if he'll be able to beat the tougher horses he faces today, but he should have some confidence after that victory.

Race 6: 1-3-4
Today's feature is an open allowance for older horses going 400 yards! It is also the start of the Late Daily Double! #1 Piranhaaa is two-for-three this year, exiting an easy win at this open allowance level on July 6th. He is one of only two horses in Ontario who has managed to defeat Mitford, and for that he always deserves respect. #3 First Down the Track exits a show finish in the Picov Maturity behind Mitford and What Ta Wear. Tough to complain about that effort, or anything this mare does for that matter. This race does seem to come down to her and Piranhaaa. #4 Feature My News is a horse I was very excited to see was racing in Ontario, but has been a bit of a let down. He did finish second to Piranhaa two back, and should be good enough to round things out.

Race 7: 1-3-5
Ontario Sired Maidens will close out the card today. #1 Wild About Nelllie's last two races are both better than they appear at first glace. She catches a very soft field today. We'll see if she can get it done. #3 Arising Hero ran an okay fifth last time. The 44 speed figure she earned for that is good enough to win, but the fact that she is yet to hit the board in six starts is concerning. #5 Liarliar Pantsonfire is a first time starter. She doesn't have a lot of pedigree to speak of, but her work of 14.12 from the gate is good enough and it won't take much talent to run well against this bunch.

Good luck to everyone playing today!