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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Ajax Downs Selections May 31

Happy Sunday everyone! Today at Ajax Downs we have a terrific card of eight races, headlined by the first true Stakes event of the year: the Picov Maturity! We also have two divisions of the $20,000 QROOI Overnight Series Maiden Stakes. Last week was a first for me since I started doing the program selections last year: I didn't have a single winner. I'm hoping to change that in a big way today. Fingers crossed! Here are my selections for today's card.

Race 1: 2-4-3
Welcome to Ajax Downs for a terrific card of Quarter Horse racing! Race 1 is the start of the Early Double. #2 CHASING ROYALTY was racing well against some tough horses last year, including Jesskissmytexas and Pegasos One Underpar. As a two year old, she qualified to two Futurities. She is the class of the field and will be tough to beat if she is ready off the layoff. #4 BYE ME ONE KOOL BUD was a Stakes winner at two, a consistently classy three year old, but had a tough season last year, only racing three times and never showing much. If I recall correctly, he was quite fractious pre-race on September 30th. He posted a fast work on May 6th and might be one to look for at a bit of a price. #3 FIESTY ICON ended 2014 with three consecutive wins, two in open allowance races. He is now three years old and will make his seasonal debut against older horses, but if his speed figures hold true he should race well here.

Race 2: 4-6-5
#4 BOLD DASH HOME comes in off the layoff with a terrific looking work on May 25, posting a bullet from the gate under a hand ride. He ended last year with a decent 4th against Mr Victory Six and Streakinshagginwagon, both in today's Picov Maturity (Race 7) and it's worth noting that he did finish first (but was DQ'd) in the 2014 Sunshine State Derby at Hialeah Park. #6 JJ MAXWELL is one of the best Starter Allowance/Claiming horses at Ajax. He ended 2014 with three consecutive wins in Starter Allowance races with very strong speed figures. His April 19 work was on the slow side, but I have to think he's in good order and should be a factor in this group. #5 JESSE JAMES ALIBI was a winner at the $7,000 Starter Allowance level on opening day, breaking fast and just holding on going 250 yards. I'm not sure she's quite as fast as the top two choices, but she may have an edge seeing that she has a start in 2015. The Early Pick 3 is offered here.

Race 3: 6-1-2
#6 SILKS ARISING faced similar company on May 17th, found himself in a tight spot early and rallied for the place. He's got a lot going for him here; he's a two time winner in a field of horses that are all one time winners, several of which have many starts, he's hit the exactor in six of his ten starts and he's made a start this year. #1 SHESASTREAKINCHICK exit a third on September 16 behind Code 36 and Cold Hearted Shark, both respectable Speed Index horses last year. She's not a super consistent sort, but her two works coming into this have been fine and she faces a soft bunch today. #2 KISS ME IM SUGAR finished second behind Im Pretty Fames at this level on opening day. Im Pretty Fames came back to be an even third of five in another Speed Index race last week. This gelding is only one for 20, but he has the highest class rating of the field and a start in 2015. Nothing in this field would surprise me.

Race 4: 3-4-2
This race kicks off the $.20 Pick 4! #3 SELECTIVE MEMORY comes off the layoff with a bullet gate work on May 27. He had a good two year old season, finishing a good fourth in the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity and earning the maiden win. I think 8-1 would be an overlay on him. #4 MOUNTAIN CARTEL raced at this level on opening day, finishing a good second behind Waving Sandy Home (3rd in last year's Alex Picov Memorial Futurity.) Holey Foose came out of that race to finish a good third against a tough group last week. I think this gelding should probably be the favourite, and I do expect him to race well. #2 SITUATION CRITICAL was a bit disappointing on May 17. She didn't really race poorly, but I expect better after seeing how good she had raced at Hialeah. She could certainly show some improvement today.

Pick 4 ticket: 2,3,4,6,7/1/10/5,8,10 $3 for $.20

Race 5: 1-6-10
This is the first split of the QROOI Overnight Series Maiden Stakes. #1 EMBRACE EXTRAVAGENCE has worked twice this season, and looked great in both breezes. She is the full sister to a filly named Now Is Forever, who won a Futurity trial here in 2013 by three lengths before finishing second in the Futurity after a bad break. She was a potential star who we never really got to see develop. This filly certainly looks like she might have the makings to be something good. If she's a good price on the board, take a shot with her. #6 BLAZIN GLORY raced in Oklahoma as a two year old, getting four second place finishes in five starts. She even finished second in a training race before her career debut at Remington Park. She's the class of the field and a likely post time favourite, but I worry she's falling into a pattern of notorious losing. It may be a bit early to tell. #10 DINAHLICIOUS raced in the Ontario Sired QROOI Overnight Maiden Stakes on May 17 and finished a good second behind Random Audit (watch her in Race 1 today.) She broke a bit slow in that race. With a clean break she should put in a solid effort.

Race 6: 10-1-7
This is the second split of the QROOI Overnight Series Maiden Stakes. #10 JESS WANNA HAVE FUN made a few starts at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, AZ last year, including a respectable fifth in the Desert Futurity. I thought her May 13 work was good, and if her speed figures translate here, she should be much the best. #1 CORONAS SPECIAL comes in from Oklahoma where she most recently finished an okay third against $7,500 maiden claimers at Remington Park. That was her first start against older horses, and the move to open maidens at Ajax is probably a sideways class move. We'll see what the Wilson/Williams combo gets out of her. #7 MR JESS EWING was a heavy favourite in one of the Ontario Sired QROOI Overnight Maiden Stakes splits on May 17th, but was fractious in the gate and finished second. He probably would have won if he had behaved. The company gets a bit tougher today now that he has to face some open horses, but he could improve off of the last start a bit. The Late Pick 3 starts here.

Race 7: 5-8-10
This race is the first real Stakes race of the season, the $66,200 Picov Maturity. It's a 300 yard dash for the best older horses on the grounds, and it starts the Late Double. #5 SM CHICKS N GARTERS made his Ajax debut in his trial, where he led most of the way and was just caught by One Famous Glass. I can see him improving in his second start over the surface, and past efforts in Oklahoma leave me with little doubt he could be a serious Stakes horse here. #8 ONE FAMOUS GLASS is the field's highest earner, with over $140,000 in the bank. He raced great in the trial, dueling most of the way and just getting up to catch Sm Chicks N Garters. I always bring up the fact that he was a good fourth in last year's Grade 1 Leo Stakes at Remington Park, because that is a huge feat for a horse who races primarily in Ontario. It's tough to fault this gelding. #10 MITFORD looks to defend his Picov Maturity title, but he's facing a tougher group today than he did last year. He has won seven of his twelve Ajax Downs starts, including the 2013 Alex Picov Memorial Championship, very rarely throwing in a poor effort. He exits a trial win and has to be considered a factor today.

Race 8: 10-9-3
#10 NO MORE SUGAR TONITE raced on May 17 against Random Audit and Dinahlicious (Races 1 and 6 today, respectively.) She broke outwards and made a good rally to be third. She's facing a softer bunch today and should be tough to beat second off the bench. #9 EYE SELECT showed a bit of talent last year, finishing second in a $5,000 maiden claimer. Had that race been on a fast track instead of a sloppy surface, I think she would have been good enough to win. This is a tougher assignment, but I don't think seeing her run a good effort would be a shock. #3 ZOOM ZOOMN was unlucky not to draw in off of the AE list last week as he probably would have won the race he was entered in. He crossed the wire first on two occasions last year, both times being DQ'd. That's something no one else in this field has been able to do, so perhaps he'll be able to beat them there today. Keep him on your tickets.

Good luck to everyone playing today! Thank you for joining us, and we'll see you next week!

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