Week #1 of Ajax Downs 2015 is in the books and we head on to our second card of the year. Today we have seven races, highlighted by two trials to the Picov Maturity and two splits of the $20,000 QROOI Ontario Sired Maiden Overnight Stakes. First post is at 12:55. Here are my selections for today's card.
Race 1: 2-5-7
Welcome to Day #2 of the 2015 season at Ajax Downs! #2 SILKS ARISING won two in a row at the end of 2014, a maiden and a Speed Index race, posting speed figures that make him tough in this group. He has hit the exactor in five of his nine career starts. #5 THATSALOTOFSUGAR was a winner last week in an Ontario Sired maiden. The timer malfunctioned, but the unpublished hand time was 12.31 for the 220 yards. She has a fitness edge coming into this race with a start under her belt, and she is a winner at today's distance. Certainly one to consider, especially if the 7-1 estimate holds true. #7 IM AQUICKTRICK had a good 2 year old season, winning twice and qualifying to two Futurities, and now gets to face older horses. She has the highest class rating of the field, and this is a good spot for a young horse to have a chance at beating older right off the bat. The Daily Double starts here.
Race 2: 4-1-6
This race kicks off the early Pick 3. #4 EYESA ZOOMN had a great campaign last year, winning three of his five starts here at Ajax. He's a proven older horse who rarely throws a poor effort with no excuse. Note that Shanley Jackson, a top rider from Indiana and Hialeah, is named to ride. #1 OURFIRSTORPHAN made his seasonal debut last week, but had some trouble at the break and couldn't recover. He's the highest earner of the field, with over $115,000 in the bank, and can get a cleaner break from the rail post. #6 CHANNELISLANDSFLYER has hit the board in 18 of his 26 starts. He was just outnodded for the win last week, and he was very close to many wins last year. He's a very tough horse to leave out.
Race 3: 5-6-1
Race 3 is the first of two trials for the Picov Maturity. #5 SM CHICKS N GARTERS makes Ajax debut after campaigning in Oklahoma. He's a classy sort, coming close to Stakes wins at Will Rogers and Remington. Note that in last year's Jack Brooks Stakes at Remington, he finished about a neck behind a horse named Houdini, who went on to win the G1 Rainbow Derby and finishing third in the G1 All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs. #6 ONE FAMOUS GLASS is one of the most consistent horses in Ontario, winning a pair of Stakes, and going down to Remington last spring and proving himself capable down there. He probably should have been very close in last year's Alexander Picov Memorial Championship but had some bad luck at the break. He's simply one of Ontario's best Quarter Horses. #1 PIRANHAAA ended the 2014 season with a third place finish in the Alexander Picov Memorial Championship. He seems to be improving with age and may be one of the top older horses this year.
Race 4: 4-1-5
Race 4 is the second of two trials for the Picov Maturity, and the start of the $.20 Pick 4. #4 FIRST DOWN THE TRACK ended 2014 in great form, with a second in the Alexander Picov Memorial Championship and a win over One Famous Glass in an allowance race. She worked from the gate on May 11 and looked great. I'm expecting a big effort out of her here. #1 MITFORD looks to defend his title in the Picov Maturity. He's been one of the toughest horses in Ontario since coming here in 2013, but occasionally posts a even start. He worked a bullet on May 4 prepping for this. A serious threat. #5 VARSITY LACE is a bit of an off and on type, but when she's on she's capable of being competitive with these types of horses. Last year she raced well against Mitford, First Down the Track, Country Box Deluxe, The Fdd Map and other tough horses. Use her in your exotics.
Pick 4: 4/2,3,5/2,7/8,9,10 $3.60 for $.20
Race 5: 3-5-2
#3 SITUATION CRITICAL was very even in her first few starts, but got really good down at Hialeah over the winter, ending the South Florida meet with a dominant maiden win. Shanley Jackson, who won with her at Hialeah, is named to ride. #5 LEXIA won last year's Ajax Maiden Challenge, but came up evenly in a NW3 allowance where she was fractious. She returns in the NW2 class with a quick 220 yard breeze on May 4th. #2 SHADASHA came up to Ajax last year to take a try at the Maiden Challenge, finishing second in the trial and fourth in the final. Since then she's put in some good efforts in Iowa and Oklahoma, including a maiden $15,000 claiming win at Prairie Meadows. Perhaps she can turn the tables on Lexia this time. The Late Pick 3 starts here.
Race 6: 2-7-4
Race 6 is the first division of the $20,000 Ontario Sired Maiden QROOI Overnight Stakes. #2 JESS MR EWING showed promise as a two year old, finishing second in a trial and finishing third in the Ontario Sired Futurity. If he's the same horse he was last year, I'd have to think he's the best horse in this field. #7 GRASSHOPPER FLATS debuted in a trial for the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity, finishing fourth behind multiple Stakes winner Jumping Guitar, and tough allowance runner Fiesty Icon. He didn't run after that, and has moved from the Ward barn to the Reid barn. This gelding has potential moving forward. #4 CARAWAYS ZOOMTO FAME may have an edge in this field as the only 4 year old and the only horse with a start this year in the field. I'm having a tough time seeing him winning, he's still a maiden after 13 tries, but I do think he'll perform well enough. The Late Double is offered here.
Race 7: 9-8-10
Race 7 is the second division of the $20,000 Ontario Sired Maiden QROOI Overnight Stakes. #9 RANDOM AUDIT had some issues at the beginning of 2014, but was very close to winning on several occasions come the last two months of the meet. She has experience facing older horses, while most of the field doesn't. She should be tough. #8 DINAHLICIOUS finished second in her career debut behind Sassy N Ready, who went on to qualify for (before being vet scratched from) the Ontario Sired Futurity. There is upside here. #10 NO MORE SUGAR TONITE hasn't been particularly notable thus far in her career, but she's another with experience against older horses. Her work coming into this race was good. She has a chance at a mild upset here.
Good luck to everyone playing today!