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Friday, 28 October 2016

Canadian Contenders in the Bank of America Challenge Championships

The Bank of America Challenge Championships are coming up on Saturday night at Los Alamitos, and between Ontario and Alberta, Canada has a handful of representatives entered. While none of the Canadian contingent will be favoured, most American handicappers have probably not heard of any of them and may be interested to know a bit about these runners, so I thought it might be fun to take a look.

Andreini Distance Challenge Championship
     Eight year old Kr Streakin Version, a Montana-bred gelding, is three-for-five this year racing in Alberta. His first two starts were both losses racing down the straightaway in Lethbridge, but he was a fairly easy winner in the Black Gold Insulation Classic going 770 yards at Northlands Park. Although he was given a 100 Speed Index for that race, I wouldn't trust the times. It was a hand timed race and the runner up, who was only 1 3/4 lengths behind, was apparently two seconds slower. He then went to Grande Prairie and won an 870 yard final by 5 1/2 lengths, going in a hand time of 44.319, a track record. He wrapped up his Alberta campaign with a win in the Distance Challenge at Grande Prairie which qualified him to this race. Unfortunately the company he has kept out west is not particularly noteworthy, he has been the clear cut best of the distance division out there for a while. He shipped to Lone Star for last year's Distance Challenge Championship, but had to check about 100 yards into the race and ended up finishing sixth by 8 1/2 lengths. He also raced in the 2013 Bank of America Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos, finishing tenth in a race that was topped by Vodka With Ice and Cold Cash 123. 
     Juno Dat Timber is a four year old Alberta-bred gelding, who qualified for this race off of a second place finish in the Will Rogers Distance Challenge. He is winless this year and has not raced in Canada since 2014, when he won the RG3 Alberta Bred Futurity in Lethbridge. 

Merial Distaff Challenge Championship
     L Bar D Sweet Fantasy is a four year old mare bred in Oregon. It's tough to consider her a Canadian campaigner as she has spent her career racing in the Pacific Northwest, but after finishing last in the Sun Downs Distaff Challenge as the 2-1 second choice, shipping up to Grande Prairie was her only other qualifying option. She made the ship and ended up winning in a dead heat with Im Hott Ur Nott, who will not be racing in this Championship. Im Hott Ur Nott has been a very tough runner in Alberta for a few years now. She has won 13 of her 27 starts, with four stakes wins and five wins in non-Stakes Finals. Like Kr Streakin Version, Im Hott Ur Nott made the ship to Lone Star last fall for the Merial Distaff Challenge, where she finishing eighth by 2 3/4 lengths. It will be tough swimming for L Bar D Sweet Fantasy, who just last December had been competing for $5,000 claiming at Portland Meadows.

John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship
     Rpainted Pistol, a gelded son of Pyc Paint Your Wagon, was a debut winner at Remington Park before being bought Milena Kwiecien of Ontario and sent to the barn of Jason Pascoe. He went two for two at Ajax, winning the Ajax Juvenile Challenge fairly convincingly, then won a QROOI Overnight Series Race. In both of those races he defeated Denali Teller Off, a stablemate, and Hickerson, who went on to finish 1-2 in the $119,150 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity. In the Juvenile Challenge he also beat a handful of American invaders, including One Fast Effort, who went on to win a maiden race at Indiana and then finished second in the All American Quarter Horse Congress Futurity at Belterra, and First Down Money Pop, who later won a maiden race at Hazel Park and finished third in the Congress Futurity at Belterra. Although these aren't quite the kind of foes he'll have to face in the John Deere, they're almost all of the the best we had this year in Ontario. Since arriving at Los Al he has worked from the gate, going 300 yards in 17.60, under the lights between races on October 15.

Adequan Derby Challenge Championship
     Toughie, a Stel Corona filly, is eight for 10 in her career. She qualified to and finished sixth in last year's G1 Ed Burke Million Futurity at Los Alamitos before coming to Lethbridge to win the G3 Canada Cup Futurity. She has gone four for five this year, defeating foes such as Angelles Baby Tnt, a Futurity Consolation winner who has since been moved to Ontario where she has gone two for two in some solid races, Er Cafe, who is three times Stakes placed in Alberta, and Flybye 109, who is six for 12 in her career and won the 2015 Alberta Stallion Futurity at Northlands. 
      Representing Ontario in the Derby Challenge is Country Boy 123, a Michigan bred gelding who is a cousin of Cold Cash 123. He has won six of his seven starts this year, all at Ajax Downs. including the AQHA Challenge Maiden, the Ajax Derby Challenge and the $116,100 Picov Derby. He has defeated several quality foes, including Alakzaam, who was on a six-race win streak heading into the Ajax Derby Challenge, Panther Hero, who won last year's $113,750 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity and finished a decent sixth at Lone Star in last year's John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (before being disqualified for interference.) Like Rpainted Pistol, Country Boy 123 got to work from the gate under the lights between races to get accustomed to night racing.

Bank of America Challenge Championship
     Four year old Cruisinfourabruisin, a son of First Timber, a stallion who stands in Alberta, will make his first start out of the province in the Championship, after winning 11 of 28 starts and earning over $115,000. He has three Stakes wins to his name, the 2014 G3 Canada Cup Futurity, the 2015 Canada Cup Derby, and this year's Evergreen Park Challenge Championship. In the Evergreen Park Challenge he bested Tiny Flying Corona, one of the toughest older horses in Alberta. Tiny Flying Corona is 16 for 37 in his career, a winner of three Stakes, six non-Stakes Finals, and a qualifier to the 2013 G2 El Primero Del Ano Derby at Los Alamitos. 
     Fantsy Pants, another runner who is not really a Canadian, made it into the final as an also eligible. She finished third in the Ajax Challenge Championship, but Fast Man Vic and One Famous Glass opted not to make the trip to California. Fantsy Pants, a Maryland-bred daughter of Splash Bac, has won only once, in a maiden at Ruidoso in June of 2015. She exits a non-threatening fifth in the Prairie Meadows Distaff Challenge and doesn't look too hopeful in this race.


      I'm wishing the best of luck to all of the Canadian connections racing at Los Alamitos this weekend. The waters are deep, but it is great to see our country's Quarter Horse racing industry being represented on such a large scale. Hopefully we can have some luck and maybe bring one of these big races home!


Monday, 10 October 2016

Ajax Downs October 10 Thanksgiving Selections

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Ajax Downs! Happy Columbus Day to my friends south of the border as well! I have slacked posting my Ajax selections on here since racing has switched to Mondays, but today is a special card. Today we have 11 races, including two of our most important Stakes races of the year, the Alex Picov Memorial Championship for older horses going 440 yards, and the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity for two year olds going 400 yards. Both are worth over $100,000 and show off many of the best Quarter Horses racing in Ontario. The Championship goes as Race 7 and the Futurity is Race 9. It is sure to be a fantastic day, and it looks like the autumn weather is going to cooperate. Here are my selections for the card.

Race 1: 3-4-5
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Ajax Downs! #3 THE FLASH DRIVE raced very well against solid competition in his first two starts, but was one of several runners to be interfered with by Zoxtobeyou in an Alex Picov Memorial Futurity trial three weeks ago. He has caught a soft looking field and should be tough if he gets a clean run. #4 MAKE ME BODACIOUS exits a decent fourth place finish in a very nondescript maiden race two weeks ago. She did manage to qualify to the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity and does seem to be on the improve. #5 BAC IN FIRST looked very good in a gate workout on August 24, but lost his path at the start in his debut. He returned in Alex Picov Memorial trials, didn't break straight and appeared to be quite green throughout. He may be one to improve with more experience. The Daily Double starts here.

Race 2: 2-5-3
This race begins the early Pick 3. #2 MIA GOT SPEED debuts here after several in company workouts. She has not looked particularly memorable in the mornings but is out of a Stakes placed mare and may be worth a look at a price. #5 SHEZ QUICK TO WIN had been racing in Indiana where she had run some solid races, then made her Ajax debut last week. She drew the rail, broke fairly well and was outkicked by some decent foes late. She cuts back in distance for her second local start. #3 FLEET SELECT finished second last week facing a group of Ontario Sired foes who I don't think were noteworthy. He has run several good races in his 13 race career and drops back in for $7,000 claiming where he had been a player earlier in the year.

Race 3: 2-4-3
#2 WINNERS PROSPECT was bumped on both sides and pinched back at the start last time, leaving himself with far to much work to do, but appeared to have some late run when facing open foes. He gets back into Ontario Sired company and should be quite tough with a clean start. #4 TEXTMEJOHNNYANGEL exits a sixth place finish in the same race Winners Prospect exits. Although he finished sixth with a chart line reading "evenly," visually he didn't look to bad in that race. He's one to consider. #3 BUSTER BRI exits a third place finish in a maiden $7,000 claiming race behind Zoomin Zeus and Eb Encountered, who were both making their local debuts. Eb Encountered returned to win the race that my top two choices exit. This six year old has finished second or third in 15 of his 21 starts and could certainly grab another cheque today.

Race 4: 4-5-6
This race kicks off the $.20 Pick 4! #4 BDB GHOST TRANE, a maiden, has had no shortage of poor luck so far. Last time out when racing over a sloppy track she had a fairly clean run, just one minor bump shortly after the start, and finished up okay to be beaten less than a length. We'll see how she does here. #5 TTT KELLYS COPPERTWO exits a sixth place finish, 1/4 length in front of Bdb Ghost Trane. She was actually bumped on both sides at the start, but soon managed to advance to be on the front, weakening late. Her only win has come through disqualification but she does not have to beat a ton in this spot. #6 DREAMS ARISING had a pair of good efforts in weak Speed Index races on August 28 and September 12, but broke poorly in an allowance race last time out. Today she gets back into a weak Speed Index race and draws outside.

Race 5: 2-6-4
#2 EYESA ZOOMN has run big in all four of his starts this year despite not winning any of them. The most notable effort was two back when he was beaten only a head by the near-unstoppable First Down the Track in a QROOI Sprint Series race. He returned in the final Sprint Series race but was bumped at the start and rallied to be fourth behind One Kool Wave. He's one of the gamest old horses in Ontario and looks tough today. #6 TRES SEIS SMOOCHES had been a solid open allowance horse in Alberta for several seasons. She came out here this year and has run two good thirds, last time out being beaten by her very classy stablemate Angelles Baby Tnt after being a bit restless in the gate. Drawing outside could be beneficial. #4 FISCAL FAST is a stablemate of Tres Seis Smooches', making her second start at Ajax after a bit of an even effort in a decent NW3 allowance on September 19. She qualified and raced well in a few Stakes races in Alberta, and was actually only 0.037 seconds off of breaking a track record at Grande Prairie last summer. There's some class here.

Race 6: 3-2-4
This race is a 110 yard "Gridiron Gallop!" #3 CARTELS FAST MONEY is not a superstar, but when she's on her game she can break from the gate very, very fast, making her a personal favourite of mine. She was a winner going 110 yards last year over Eyesa Zoomin. We'll see if she gets out on top today. #2 COUNTRYS COMIN BAC exits a second place finish in the Picov Derby behind Country Boy 123, and will now make his 110 yard debut. The shortest race he has run in was 250 yards and he was a winner that day, and he certainly has class to his name. As always going 110 yards, it all comes down to the start. #4 EYES THAT TELL was a very easy winner going 110 yards back on July 21, then came back with a close second in a good optional claiming race. Her 110 yard win was very impressive and makes it tough to ignore her today.

Race 7: 6-7-5
Today's co-feature is the $100,700 Alex Picov Memorial Championship, going the classic distance of 440 yards. #6 FAST MAN VIC was a winner at this distance in the Bank of America Regional Challenge Championship two starts back. In his only other start going 440, a Stakes race at Hialeah, he was third behind Jessies First Down, who has since won the Grade 1 Refrigerator Handicap, the Grade 2 Sam Houston Championship Challenge, and finished second in the Grade 1 All American Gold Cup. Last time out in the All Canadian Classic, he had an empty gate to his inside, broke in to the open space and lightly bumped into a foe while First Down the Track had a perfect start down the outside. Beating First Down the Track will be tough, but I'm a big fan of this gelding and I think a 440 yard race is the best place for him to have a chance at the upset. #7 FIRST DOWN THE TRACK has had a remarkable 2016, with wins in the Picov Maturity, two QROOI Overnight Series races, and, most recently, an easy win in the All Canadian Classic. In last year's Championship she broke on top but flattened out, a bit of a theme in her 440 yard races, a distance at which she has never won at. However, she is the best she has ever been this year and it would be no great surprise to see her continue her streak of wins. #5 ONE FAMOUS GLASS was second behind First Down the Track in the All Canadian Classic and second behind Fast Man Vic in the Bank of America Challenge before that. He has done quite well going 440 yards, with five top-two finishes in seven tries at the distance, and should certainly not go overlooked. The Late Pick 3 starts here.

Race 8: 4-1-7
#4 HAL BENT has raced well against tough foes like Alakazaam, Speedocracy and Ice Fishn this year. He exits a win in a NW2 allowance race and looks tough taking the step into NW3. #1 EYE SAID IM NED was a NW2 winner three starts back over Six Shootin Tex and next-out winner Winner On a Lark. He came back with an even fourth in a five-horse open allowance for Ontario Sired runners, then ran a good fourth in a decent Speed Index race won by Bubbles Cartel Gal, who was long overdue for a win. He could be a factor here. #7 CARAWAYS JOKERS LANE was poor in his first two starts of the year but has been in solid form ever since. He exits a good third at this level and is one of several worth consideration in this race.

Race 9: 7-9-4
The second feature on today's card is the $119,150 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity. #7 KONA CORONA, a half brother to G2 winner A Plain Brown Rapper, was an impressive debut winner. He was bumped hard at the start in the trials, then bumped again as Zoxtobeyou veered sharply to the inside, looked to be weakening but rebid gamely to nearly get back up for place. There's a lot to like about this colt, especially if he gets a clean run. #9 HOME TO VEGAS is the undefeated two-year old sensation, already winning the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity in August. He set the fastest qualifying time to today's final, proving that he can handle the stretch out to 400 yards. The one to beat. #4 ONE SPECIAL DOMINO has not missed the board in her three starts. She broke her maiden second time out, then finished a very good third behind Home to Vegas in the trials, racing from the rail post. She gets off of the rail today and could prove to be a factor.

Race 10: 1-5-4
This race is the start of the Late Double. #1 DAYTONA 500 exits a pair of runner up finishes, first against next out winner Faster Than U and then against the classy Hal Bent. She was second in last year's OSS Futurity and appears to be in her best form. #5 GRABIN AWARDS caught a soft field two back and was the only horse to break cleanly, causing him to score an effortless win. However, he came back in a NW2 and ran third behind Six Shootin Tex and Ittakestwotootango, both respectable horses. He hasn't missed the board yet this year and could prove to be a serious factor again. #4 PASSUM LANE put in his first even effort of the season last time out behind Hal Bent and Daytona 500. In all of his other starts where he has broke cleanly he has been very game, and you should get a big price on him exiting that last effort. He could turn his form back around.

Race 11: 4-2-6
#4 MAKE ME A MIRACLE finished fifth in a fairly tough optional claiming race three weeks ago. She won a Speed Index race three back and ran a good fourth behind Cartels Fast Money, Im Pretty Fames and A Phenomenal Chick two back. Getting back into the Speed Index ranks should be good for her. #2 BUBBLES CARTEL GAL showed a bit of promise at Hialeah but didn't exactly pan out as hoped when she got up here. She dropped into a Speed Index race two weeks ago and got her first career victory, and remains at this level. We'll she how she does first off the win. #6 MEMORIES TIMES SIX has faced very tough foes all year and now takes a very significant drop in class. Last time out he was last in a Starter Allowance topped by Cole Miner, Arctic Fame and Storytime Blue. He was a Picov Maturity trial winner earlier in the year. The class drop should help him.
 
Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today! Have a great holiday Monday!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Ajax Downs Selections September 5 Labour Day

Yesterday at Ajax Downs we had a trio of Picov Derby trials, highlighted by Country Boy 123 following up on his Adequan Derby Challenge win to set the fastest qualifying time. Today we have our End Of Summer Bash at the track. The card features the finals of the QROOI Sprint Series going 250 yards and the QROOI Distance Series going 440 yards. They will go as the final two races on today's eight-race card. Here are my selections.

Race 1: 5-3-1
Happy Labour Day from all of us at Ajax Downs! #5 ARISING MIRACLE finished a close second behind Home Ice in the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity trials before finishing seventh in the final. He returned with a solid fourth behind One Special Domino. He doesn't appear to be facing any world beaters today. #3 MOUNTAINS ECHO qualified to the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity with a well beaten fifth place finish behind Home to Vegas, then finished sixth in the final starting from the outside post. He gets in easier here. #1 EYESA DEXTER debuted on August 11 but got a rough break and was no threat. He may improve second time out with a clean trip. The Daily Double starts here.

Race 2: 3-2-6
This race kicks off the early Pick 3. #3 PYC TRICKIE LADY exits a good third behind Valiant Stoli Time and Eyesa Wild Boy, who returned to win. She is a very sharp breaker and the cutback to 250 yards should benefit her. #2 BDB GHOST TRANE finished sixth in the same race Pyc Trickie Lady exits. She showed a bit of run in spite of some trouble in an August 7 race that produced next out winner Cr Party With Corona, and doesn't have many tough looking foes to deal with here. #6 TRICKLUCK is a five year old first time starter. There is nothing worth noting about his pedigree other than the fact he is out of a Thoroughbred dam. He shows a quick gate workout at Hazel on August 23 and might pull a surprise.

Race 3: 5-3-2
#5 SOXY N I KNOW IT won her first two starts of the year in Speed Index races, then ran a very good second behind Rockin Miss Kitty in a conditioned allowance race. She looks like a factor dropping back into the Speed Index ranks. #3 JESS WANNA HAVE FUN ran a good dead-heat second behind Itoldyouilikeroses on May 29. She returns off of the layoff here and looked very good in her workout on August 31. I don't mind her at all at a price. #2 FLY FAST FOR KAYLEY has two wins at the Speed Index ranks this year and several other very good races. He didn't offer much in a QROOI Overnight Series race for non-stakes winners last time out but he was due for a bounce at some point and that was tougher competition. He looks very competitive.

Race 4: 2-6-1
This race is the start of the $.20 Pick 4! #2 ITTAKESTWOTOOTANGO was fractious behind the gate in his debut but still managed to finish second, then came back to rally into a second place finish behind Eyesa Wild Boy. He's clearly got some ability and I think the extra little bit of distance is good for him. #6 FLEET SELECT finished fifth behind Ittakestwotootango in the Eyesa Wild Boy race after a bump at the start. He had been knocking on the door in the claiming ranks with speed figures that look competitive with this group. #1 WINNERS PROSPECT had been running okay, then put in a good second place finish behind Dees Winner on August 21. His speed figures are okay and there isn't a ton of talent in this field.

Race 5: 8-1-2
#8 SELECTIVE MEMORY has been facing very tough company this season and hasn't been doing too bad. Last time out he was beaten a half length in a race topped by Runaway Cause, Speedocracy and First Element. He gets an easier assignment here. #1 CARTELS FAST MONEY didn't fare well in her first two starts of the season but raced an okay fifth behind First Down the Track in a QROOI Sprint Series race then came back to win a Speed Index race last time out. When she gets out well she is usually the one they have to run down. #2 A MERE OUTLAW makes her first start of the year here. She had a solid 2015, hitting the top two in half of her eight starts including a win at Hialeah. She had a good breeze on August 17 prepping for her return.

Race 6: 1-8-6
This race is the start of the late Pick 3. #1 HOPE RAMBLES ON nearly beat Alakazaam in the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby trials, but got a very rough break in the final and finished sixth of seven. She came right back to win a NW2 in spite of some trouble. I don't see why she couldn't double up here. #8 FAMES WINNER was an easy winner of Memory of Jay two back, then came back to run third behind Eyesa Speedy Simon and R Zooming Lady after a bump at the start. He's finished no worse than fourth this year and certainly looks competitive with this group. #6 CC FIRE N ICE last raced on July 10, where he was beaten only a neck by Albertt. He has some ability and should be ready returning off the layoff.

Race 7: 5-3-1
Today's co-feature is the QROOI Sprint Series going 250 yards. #5 EYESA ZOOMN exits the last Sprint Series race going 220 where he was beaten only a head by the razor-sharp First Down the Track. If he can duplicate that effort, he will be tough to beat. He's a very consistent runner. #3 ONE KOOL WAVE kicked off the year with a win in an optional claimer, and has hit the board in the first two legs of the Sprint Series. He was beaten only a head after a less than perfect start in the 110 yard race, then was third by a neck behind First Down the Track and Eyesa Zoomn. He has had a terrific career, 20 wins in 34 starts is incredibly impressive, and seeing him win here should come as a shock to no one. #1 COLE MINER won his first three starts of the year, then finished a good third behind the very live Storytime Blue last time out. I don't think he really rivals my top two choices, but he has every right to pick up a cheque. Late Double wagering is offered here.

Race 8: 7-6-2
Our other co-feature is the QROOI Distance Series going the classic distance of 440 yards. #7 FIRST ELEMENT has two wins and two seconds in six starts at 440 yards. Last time out he drew the rail post going 400 and was beaten only a neck by Runaway Cause. I think drawing outside will help him here. #6 RUNAWAY CAUSE missed by only a head to Fast Man Vic in the last leg of the distance series going 400 yards. Fast Man Vic returned to win the Bank of America Regional Challenge Championship, and this mare came back to win a QROOI Overnight Series race for non-Stakes winners over Speedocracy and First Element. She will be going 440 yards for the first time here. #2 BOLD SIX LOVE has made two starts at 440 yards, in the trials and final of last year's Alex Picov Memorial Championship. He didn't do very well in those races, but they were very tough fields. He exits a sixth place finish behind Runaway Cause and First Element, but he was only a 1/2 length off of the win. I don't think he minds the extra 40 yards at all.
 
Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Ajax Downs Selections September 4 2016

Double the fun this long weekend at Ajax Downs as we have racing today and tomorrow for Labour Day! We have seven races today, highlighted by a trio of trials for the Picov Derby, with all of our three-year old stars looking for a spot in the final. The trials go as Races 2 through 4. First post is 12:55 ET. Here are my selections for today's card.

Race 1: 3-1-6
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #3 ITSALLABOUTRAMBLIN had a pair of runner up finishes on July 10 and July 31 but got a rough break last time out, finishing a non threatening sixth. He's been pretty consistent at the Speed Index level and can be a factor with a clean start. #1 WINNER ON A LARK was disqualified from a Maiden win three back but came right back to win in a Speed Index race. She exits a close third in a NW2 allowance and looks like a big threat here. #6 CATES PURDY BUFFALO has been on the edges a lot this season. He exits a good third behind Winner On a Lark on August 7. Earlier in the season he ran an alright third behind Kool Kinda Ivory and Dm Paid In Cash, respectable competition. It wouldn't surprise me to see him break through at any time. The Daily Double starts here.

Race 2: 1-6-2
This is the first of three trials to the Picov Derby. It also kicks off the early Pick 3. #1 SPEEDOCRACY has missed the board only once in his nine race career. He ran a very good third in the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby three back, then came back to win a QROOI Overnight Series race for Ontario bred three year olds. Last time out he was a very close second facing older foes in a QROOI Overnight Series race for non-stakes winners, which featured some solid competition. He's a very sharp young horse. #6 SEIS ZOOM has been no worse than fourth in her five starts this year. She raced a very good third in the Adequan Derby Regional Challenge trials, then finished a close second in the final behind Country Boy 123. She has been racing well against good horses all year, it's tough to fault her. #2 COUNTRYS COMIN BAC was a winner over Seis Zoom in his first start of the year, then followed that up with a game second behind Cole Miner on June 12. He was a bit even on July 24, finishing sixth behind Speedocracy, then broke poorly last time out. He does have some ability and if he breaks well he could hit the ticket at a bit of a price today.

Race 3: 7-6-1
This is the second of three trials to the Picov Derby. #7 ICE FISHN was a winner of an Ontario Sires Stakes Derby trial but was a vet scratch from the final on July 3. She returned in the QROOI Overnight Series for ON-bred three year olds on July 24 and finished a good fourth. If she's at her best she's a contender. #6 COUNTRY BOY 123 is the obvious one to beat here. He has won four of his five starts this year with one close second behind Alakazaam. The lowest speed figure he has run is a 70. He's exiting a win in the Adequan Derby Regional Challenge. He's just in top form and he has yet to show any signs of slowing down. #1 SUGARMANS DELIGHT was beaten only a nose by Alakazaam in the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby three starts back. He followed that up with a good third behind Speedocracy in the QROOI Overnight Series race that Ice Fishn finished fourth in, then won an open allowance for Ontario Sired runners facing older foes, including Reckless n Wild and Im Aquicktrick. He has done well from the rail post in previous starts.

Race 4: 7-1-2
This is the third and final trial to the Picov Derby, as well as the start of the $.20 Pick 4. #7 NO CERVEZA FOR YOU has soared through her conditions and now steps up into these trials. The waters do get a lot deeper here and I wouldn't want too short of a price on her but it wouldn't surprise me if she's good enough. #1 ALAKAZAAM won his first five starts of the season including the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. His streak came to an end in the Adequan Derby Regional Challenge, where he broke out and bumped into Panther Hero, recovering to miss the win by only a neck, but was disqualified for the interference at the start. I can't find a way to fault him. #2 PANTHER HERO won his first start of the year, then ran a good third in the Adequan trials behind Alakazaam and Country Boy 123. He lost at the start in the final when Alakazaam gave him a solid bump, finishing sixth placed fifth. He was terrific as a two year old and it wouldn't be a shock to see him return to that form at any time.

Race 5: 6-7-2
This race is a 110 yard "Gridiron Gallop!" #6 DEAL A FORTUNE finished second at this distance last time out. Last year in his first try at 110 yards he finished a very good second behind First Down the Track but was disqualified for interference. He looks like the best horse in this field, he just needs to break well. #7 DM KING CITY makes his first start at 110 yards here. He has won three of his eight races this year, including a 220 yard race on opening day. He should have no troubles with the short trip. #2 FAST FERDINAND is another who his making his initial 110 yard start here. He exits a second place finish in an optional claimer behind Channelislandsflyer. It's tough to say how he will like 110, all of the races on his form are 300 yards or further, but he has some talent and wouldn't be a total surprise. Late Pick 3 wagering is offered here.

Race 6: 1-5-4
The Late Double starts here. #1 LOOKIN AT LUCY scored a maiden win here last September. She didn't fare well in a start at Remington in May then returned here to run a well beaten fifth (placed fourth) in the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity trials. She takes a big drop in class here and may go overlooked in the wagering. #5 JUST CHASE ME finished a good third behind No Cerveza For You three back. Last time out he benefited from a clear path the second the gate opened and drew clear. It's not likely that everything will go his way at the start like that again, but he's got some run and looks like a factor. #4 IM SPEEDY was a winner three back, had a tough trip on July 17 then ran a good second behind Winner On a Lark on August 7. He's not always a great breaker but if he does leave well he's a contender.

Race 7: 5-8-6
#5 BAC IN FIRST has shown steady improvement in her workouts. She worked 250 yards from the gate on August 24 in 13.74, looked good doing it and galloped out very well. Hopefully she breaks well here. #8 LUMMIS FIRST exits a good third place finish on August 21 behind One Special Domino, who was coming off of a good second place finish behind Denali Teller Off. This grey colt is well bred, by champion First Down Dash and seems to be on the upswing. #6 DASH TO MIAMI was a well beaten fourth on debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity trials, then ran a respectable fifth in the final when starting from the rail post. He gets to face easier foes here and has yet to have a sharp break. Getting out well could make a big difference for him.

Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Ajax Downs Selections August 28

We are back again with another Sunday card of racing at Ajax Downs. The race office was buzzing this week as we have nine races today. The features are Races 5 and 7, a QROOI Overnight Series for two year olds and an open allowance for Ontario Sired runners respectively. Lots of good racing to enjoy this week. Here are my selections.

Race 1: 7-2-1
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #7 YAWLPLAYINGWITHFIRE finished third behind Home to Vegas and Later Tater in the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity trials, but had a troubled trip in the final and finished eighth. He draws outside for the first time today which could be beneficial. #2 THE FLASH DRIVE was a close third on debut behind Denali Teller Off, who already had two good races including a troubled third in the John Deere Juvenile Regional Challenge, and stablemate One Special Domino, who returned to win last week. He overcame a stumble at the start on debut and could be very dangerous if he gets out well. #1 KONA CORONA is by multiple G1 winner, million dollar earning, 2006 Champion of Champions winning sire Wave Carver, and is a half brother to A Plain Brown Rapper, who was a Grade 2 winner at two. He was a vet scratch on July 24 but posted a bullet gate work on August 17. The Daily Double starts here.

Race 2: 2-4-1
This race kicks off the early Pick 3. #2 ZEES PYC debuted for $10,000 claiming at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico in June but broke outwards from the far outside and offered little. She gets to face easier foes here and may improve with experience and a better break. #4 CR PARTY WITH CORONA showed little in three U.S. starts but ran a respectable third in her Ajax debut. She was DQd to last for interference but is a serious contender if she can stay straight today. #1 PUNCH BUGGY CHESTNUT debuted on August 11 with an even run. He may have needed a start, he could get a clear path along the inside in this short field and is out of a dam who qualified to a G3 Futurity at Arapahoe Park. He'll likely be a long price and probably isn't totally impossible here.

Race 3: 4-3-2
#4 STREAKING EYE OPENER makes his first start of the season with two works down at Fort Erie in preparation. In his 2015 season debut, he was a very close second behind Bold Six Love. He spent most of last year facing very tough horses and looks quite threatening against this group if he's at his best. #3 MARTHAS JESS GOLD finished third behind Storytime Blue and Channelislandsflyer last time out, both who have come back to win their next starts. She had a pair of wins last year and now takes the drop into $3,000 claiming. #2 THATSALOTOFSUGAR was okay in her first two starts of the year but was a non-factor last time out. She drops in class from Ontario Sired NW2 allowance into $3,000 claiming and may be a factor with a clean trip.

Race 4: 8-7-5
This race kicks off the $.20 Pick 4! #8 ITTAKESTWOTOOTANGO debuted on August 14. He was a bit fractious behind the gate then acted up a bit while waiting for the start. Despite that, he raced a good second behind Just Chase Me, who had a clear lead right away and was never getting caught. If this gelding keeps himself composed at the gate, he could improve enough to be a big player here. #7 EYESA WILD BOY is on a streak of four consecutive runner-up finishes. However, he has been very narrowly beaten in his last two tries and drops from open to Ontario Sired company today. The last time he faced Ontario Sired runners, he was second behind No Cerveza For You, who has won two more races since then. To see him score the breakout win today would come as no shock. #5 EYE GOT YER BACK was a fast closing second behind Passum Lane last time out. He came back to be a good third in a fairly tough NW2 allowance. This gelding looks very competitive with this group in the speed figure department.

Race 5: 7-1-4
Today's co-feature is a QROOI Overnight Series race for two year olds. #7 DENALI TELLER OFF was a troubled third in the John Deere Juvenile Regional Challenge behind stablemate Rpainted Pistol, then returned to score a maiden win over One Special Domino, a well bred filly who came back to win last week. She may end up going a bit overlooked here but she's certainly got some talent. #1 HOME ICE was a winner on debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity trials, then ran a very close second in the final. I'm always a little leery about young horses with the rail post but he seems to have class and classy horses often aren't bothered by these kind of things. #4 RPAINTED PISTOL broke his maiden on debut at Remington Park in March. Although he was a non-factor in his second start, he returned here with a decisive win in the John Deere Juvenile Regional Challenge. He did benefit from avoiding the trouble that plagued most of the inside runners in that race, and he did lug in a fair bit, but it's tough to fault him too much for a Stakes win. He's the class of the race, I'd say.

Race 6: 5-7-1
#5 PASSUM LANE took a big early lead and held on to win at this distance two starts back. Last time out he finished a game third behind Hope Rambles On, who was taking a big class drop. If he breaks as well as he did in his win he has every right to be a factor here. #7 FASTER THAN U qualified to the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby where he finished a well beaten fifth (placed fourth.) He returned to break his maiden by a narrow margin. He has the highest average speed figure of this group. #1 IAMASWEETMAN exits a pair of respectable races, a fourth in a decent Speed Index race and then a third behind Fames Winner and Memory of Jay at this level on August 11. He could grab a piece of the action here.

Race 7: 4-5-1
The second co-feature today is an Ontario Sired Open allowance race. #4 FIESTY ICON overcame a stumbling start to win the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity over Jesskissmytexas last time out. He has eight wins in his 15 race career including two Stakes wins. He's certainly the one to beat today. #5 CRUWYSN THE ARCTIC was last year's Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity winner. So far this year he has had quite a bit of poor luck. However, last time out he was a game third in the QROOI Distance Series behind Fast Man Vic and Runaway Cause. Both of those runners returned to win their next starts, the former winning the Bank of America Challenge Regional Championship. He's a solid horse who may offer a good price. #1 DM PAID IN CASH was non-threatening at 110 yards last time out, and before that was in very tough in the QROOI Sprint Series behind First Down the Track, Eyesa Zoomn and One Kool Wave, but had great form in her previous starts. She was a winner four back and finished third behind Sign It Down and The Fdd Map after that. She's another longshot who isn't completely impossible. The Late Pick 3 begins here.

Race 8: 6-2-8
Late Double wagering is offered in this race. #6 MS VICTORITA made her Ajax debut on August 7 with a game third behind Rockin Miss Kitty and Soxy N I Know It, who have been in good form throughout the season. Prior to that she was a close second at Hazel, where she has had all of her previous success. If she happens to improve in her second start over the local surface she could be quite tough. #2 MS DASHIN CORONA has been racing primarily in Starter Allowances and facing tough competition. Jj Maxwell, Cole Miner, Caraway Blue, Panther Hero, Storytime Blue, these are all very tough horses, and she has been very respectable facing them. This group looks easier and she looks like the one to beat. #8 TTT KELLYS REGAN kicked off the season with a runner up finish behind Country Boy 123. He did not fare too well in the Rockin Miss Kitty race that Ms Victorita exits, but raced well in a 110 yard race last time out, finishing third behind Arctic Fame and Deal a Fortune. He deserves a look in this spot.

Race 9: 2-11(AE)-1
#2 ALBERTT has won half of his six starts this year, and has had trouble in two of his three losses. He's proven himself to be a nice little horse and doesn't have to beat any world beaters today. #11 FOOL ON FIRE has drawn on the also-eligible list and will need an early scratch to participate today. He was a qualifier to last year's Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. In his most recent start he was an okay fourth (placed third) behind Jj Maxwell despite some trip trouble. He will get the outside post if he draws in which could help him get a clean run. #1 ARCTIC LAKE was fourth beaten less than a length in his first start of the season, which came at this level. He had a decent run from the rail post last year and may improve a bit second off the layoff.
 
Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Ajax Downs Selections August 21

Happy Sunday! We have an eight-race card today at Ajax Downs. For the on-track fans, it is Family Day, so there is sure to be a big crowd with lots of activities to enjoy between the races. Our feature today is Race 8, the Bank of America Regional Challenge Championship going the classic distance of 440 yards. We also have a QROOI Overnight Series race for horses who have never won a Stake, which features some talented runners. Here are my selections for today's card.

Race 1: 5-2-1
Welcome to Family Day at Ajax Downs! #5 UPPER CANADA was a winner against maidens for this claiming price in October. So far this year he has caught some tough fields at higher levels, including horses like Alakazaam and Do U Zoom. Last time out he finished fourth behind Hope Rambles On, Six Shootin Tex and Passum Lane, a respectable group. He gets a class drop and a small field here. #2 SENATOR LOGAN exits a maiden win on August 7 where he overcame a stumbling start. The fields he has been facing have not been the greatest so the drop in for $7,000 is sensible. He has a solid chance to repeat. #1 PAPPA TRICK won for this tag against maidens to kick off the season, and had a second at this same level on June 19. He is not particularly consistent but appears to fit in with this group. The Daily Double starts here.

Race 2: 2-1-4
This race begins the early Pick 3. #2 TWO KOOL TO WAVE is by multiple Graded Stakes winning sire Wave Carver, who won the 2006 G1 Champion of Champions. His dam, One Kool Bud, was a multiple Stakes winner in Ontario who was not far beaten in the G3 All American Congress Futurity at Beulah Park in 2005. He had a good gate work on August 10 and certainly has the breeding to be a runner. #1 GRABIN AWARDS was much the best in his August 11 race but was bounced around at the start which cost him the race. A clean break would have left him an easy winner. He was knocking on the door last year and should be more than capable of a win. #4 DEES WINNER caught tough fields in his first two starts and failed to threaten but has been competitive in his most recent tries. It's tough to say how this field compares to his recent competition but he doesn't look outclassed at all.

Race 3: 6-1-5
#6 R ZOOMING LADY has had trouble leaving the gate but consistently puts in a good run. She had a pair of nice wins last year and a fourth behind First Down the Track, The Fdd Map and Sign It Down. Last time out she had the rail post but today she gets outside and goes 400 yards, a distance that should aid her late running style. #1 EYESA SPEEDY SIMON has qualified to both Maturities run so far this year and exits a second place finish at this level. He has serious class to him, he was a Stakes winner as a two year old, but has been a bit win shy. Regardless, a serious contender. #5 COUNTRYS COMIN BAC won his first start of the year then followed that up with a very game second behind the very sharp Cole Miner. Last time out he faced a tough group of three year olds in a QROOI Overnight Series race and was a bit even, but comes down to a conditioned allowance race here. He should be able to fare well.

Race 4: 6-5-3
This race kicks off the $.20 Pick 4! #6 SIX SHOOTIN TEX had three very good runs last year wrapped up by an easy maiden win. He made his return this year with a very good runner up finish behind the class-dropping Hope Rambles On, who nearly beat Alakazaam earlier in the season. There aren't any world beaters here and this colt has been very consistent in his limited starts. #5 EYE SAID IM NED had an okay third behind No Cerveza For You two back but was in way too tough last time out when entered in the QROOI Distance Series and broke poorly. He drops back in to the NW2 condition where he looks like a factor. #3 CARAWAYS DASH N FAST had a pair of respectable third place finishes to kick off the season but has been a bit more even in her most recent tries. She has had some good races behind Six Shootin Tex but probably needs a peak effort to win today.

Race 5: 5-7-1
#5 ITSALLABOUTRAMBLIN exits a pair of runner up finishes at this level. He's consistently moved forward in his four tries this year and was a winner at this level last fall. #7 CHARTED TO WIN is not a super consistent type, but kicked off the year with a win and finished second behind No Cerveza For You three starts back. His last two runs have not been great but he's not incapable of being competitive in this group. #1 JJ MAXWELL had no excuse when facing a soft field last time out, finishing a weakening fifth. It's tough to justify that effort but he is the classiest runner in this group and could possibly turnaround his form.

Race 6: 7-4-6
#7 ONE SPECIAL DOMINO debuted on July 31 with a close second behind Denali Teller Off, who already had a start under her belt. She is a well bred filly and has run the fastest speed figure of all those who have started in this group. #4 ARISING MIRACLE finished a close second behind Home Ice in the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity trials but failed to threaten in the final. Home Ice maintained his form with a very close second behind Home to Vegas. He could turn things around here. #6 LUMMIS FIRST is by the great First Down Dash out of a respectable mare, but has been disappointing in his two starts thus far. He returns after a five week layoff and may improve with more experience. Late Pick 3 wagering is offered here.

Race 7: 3-4-1
This race is a QROOI Overnight Series race for horses who have never won a Stakes race. #3 SIGN IT DOWN exits back to back wins, beating One Kool Wave at 110 yards two back then holding off The Fdd Map last time out. She's yet to miss the board this year and looks very competitive with this group. #4 RUNAWAY CAUSE had a big early lead last time out in the QROOI Distance Series but was run down by Fast Man Vic in the final yards. When she can get out well she has tremendous early speed, the question is always whether or not she can hold. 8-1 off of her last effort is a playable price. #1 FIRST ELEMENT won with a closing move going 440 yards two back but broke poorly last time out in the QROOI Distance Series race. He is an on-and-off type but if he runs his best effort he can be competitive. The Late Double begins here.

Race 8: 3-5-2
Today's feature is the $54,720US Bank of America Regional Challenge Championship. #3 FAST MAN VIC seems to need every inch of this 440 yard distance. Although he won at shorter distances in Florida and he exits a close 400 yard win, he has been breaking mid-field and closing late consistently since coming to Ajax. His lone start at 440 yards had him third behind Jessies First Down and Rc Me Leaving You, two very nice horses. I really don't think this gelding has shown his best since he's come here. including that win last time out. We'll see how he does here. #5 THE FDD MAP has had two close seconds this year, once behind First Down the Track and another closing late behind Sign It Down. He is remarkably consistent, 11 wins and 23 top three finishes in 39 starts, and has had success at this distance. Always one to consider. #2 ONE FAMOUS GLASS kicked off the year with a win in the Picov Maturity trials then finishes a good second in the final. Last time out in the first QROOI Distance Series race he finished third behind First Down the Track and The Fdd Map. In his 24 starts at Ajax Downs he has won 12 and hit the board in 21, so it's very tough to argue he shouldn't be right there today.
 
Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Ajax Downs Selections August 14

After a fun card of racing on Thursday evening, we return to Sunday afternoon racing today at Ajax Downs. We have eight races on today's card, with a pair of Stakes features. Race 7 is the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity and Race 8 is the Adequan Regional Derby Challenge, where Alakazaam will go for his seventh consecutive win. Here are my selections for today's card.


Race 1: 5-3-2
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #5 YAWL KEEP TEXTIN exits a narrow second behind Dm Paid In Cash, and had two third place finishes behind Alakazaam in her prior starts. She gets easier competition and short field here. #3 FAVORITE LEADER exits a win for $5,000 claiming. Two back she finished third in a race won by Country Boy 123. Her speed figures are competitive and she certainly warrants a look. #2 WILD BOYZ VICTORY has been no worse than fourth in six starts this year. She is a consistent trier and has done well in the Speed Index ranks. The Daily Double starts here.

Race 2: 5-8-3
This race kicks off the early Pick 3. #5 JUST CHASE ME was a gamer third behind No Cerveza For You, who has come back to win twice, on June 26. Last time out he caught a tough field and hopped at the start. Today's field is much softer, he just needs to break well. #8 BUSTER BRI has 10 second place finishes in 19 career starts with four thirds as well. She catches a softer than normal looking field and has a legitimate chance to finally get the win. #3 DASHING OUT OF VEGAS is a full brother to Home To Vegas, fastest qualifier to today's Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity. He has broken poorly in both of his starts but could be a factor with a clean run.

Race 3: 4-3-1
#4 EYES THAT TELL beat Do U Zoom and Platinnum when facing NW2 two back, then scored a dominant win going 110 yards on July 21. She kept some tough company in 2015 and fared well and has proven tough when facing easier foes this year. #3 CHANNELISLANDSFLYER finished a good second behind Storytime Blue, who returned to win on Thursday two back then scored an easy win in a solid group last week. He hits the board plenty often enough and had a good effort off of a seven day turnaround last year. #1 ITZ ALL GOOD has not had a ton of luck this year but raced gamely to be third behind Eyes That Tell in the July 21 110 yard race. He can finish well in the late yards and may end up with a clear inside path in this short field.

Race 4: 5-8-2
This race is the start of the $.20 Pick 4! #5 VALIANT STOLI TIME had a tough trip in a trial for the Adequan Derby Challenge last time and lost his irons at the start in the start prior. He kicked off the year with solid efforts behind horses like Country Boy 123 and Memory of Jay. He's got some ability, he just needs a clean run. #8 EYESA WILD BOY has six seconds in nine career starts. In her last three starts he has been second behind Platinnum, No Cerveza For You & Fast Buck. He's got class and is likely the one to beat. #2 THE KATY SPECIAL was a qualifier to last year's Alex Picov Memorial Futurity. She exits a close second on July 24 and has a good shot to pick up a piece of it here.

Race 5: 7-3-1
#7 RICH AND ON FIRE was second behind Do U Zoom last time and second behind the very nice Rockin Miss Kitty two back. His class is complimented by the fact that he won at Ruidoso Downs last year. One to consider. #3 HAL BENT qualified to the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby and finished fourth in the final, then came back with a close second behind Speedocracy. He's been keeping very tough company and should appreciate the class drop. #1 MAGIC OF CORONA has not been far behind Rich and on Fire in their last two starts. He has been fairly decent since coming to Ajax, racing better than some of his off-the-board finishes would suggest.

Race 6: 6-2-7
This race is a 110 yard Gridiron Gallop! #6 MEMORIES TIMES SIX was a good third at this distance when facing Sign It Down and One Kool Wave two back. Those two horses would absolutely tower above this field. A clean break should make him tough to beat. #2 DEAL A FORTUNE ran a close second behind First Down the Track going 110 yards in October 2015. That's another rival who would crush this field with ease. Last time he finished fourth in a QROOI Overnight Sprint Series race behind First Down the Track (again), Eyesa Zoomn and One Kool Wave. He looks live here. #7 ARCTIC FAME finished second behind Eyes That Tell at this distance on July 21 despite a bit of a stumble at the start. When he's at his best he can break very alertly and gets to work from the outside post. Late Pick 3 wagering is offered here.

Race 7: 3-9-5
Today's co-feature is the $68,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity. #3 HOME TO VEGAS won the first two year old race of the season easily, then came back to dominate in his trial for this race, setting the fastest qualifying time by nearly half a second. It will take a lot of improvement from someone to run him down. #9 ARISING MIRACLE finished a narrow second in his trial for this race. He has raced twice and drawn the rail post both times. Today he gets an outside post and that could be to his benefit. #5 HOME ICE narrowly beat Arising Miracle in their trial. A clean break should be enough to make this gelding a contender today. The Late Double begins here.

Race 8: 4-2-7
The other co-feature today is the $28,800US Adequan Regional Derby Challenge. #4 PANTHER HERO was last year's Alex Picov Memorial Futurity winner and put in a respectable effort in the John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship at Lone Star. He finished a solid third in the trials for today's race and can turn the tables with his best effort. #2 ALAKAZAAM is five-for-five this year, has six in a row and has every chance in the world to make it seven today. There's not a lot to say about him; he knows how to win and he keeps doing it. I've been picking against him all year and I'm too stubborn to change, but he is a very deserving favourite today. #7 COUNTRY BOY 123 had three consecutive wins to kick off the season, including the AQHA Challenge Maiden, and was only a head behind Alakazaam in the trials. He may have an advantage with an outside draw and could prove best with a clean trip.
 
Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Ajax Downs Selections August 7

Another Sunday is upon us which means it's race day at Ajax Downs! No trials or Stakes events today, but we do have a QROOI Overnight Distance series race going 400 yards featuring a very nice group of older runners. First post is 12:55 ET. Here are my selections.

Race 1: 5-3-2
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #5 BLUE SPEEDO exits a close third at this distance on July 24. In the start prior he finished second behind Speedocracy in a trial for the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. Speedocracy has since won a QROOI Overnight race for three year olds. He's hit the board in all three starts this year and looks live today. #3 FASTER THAN U qualified to the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby with a third place finish behind Ice Fishn then finished a well beaten fifth in the final. He has the highest recent speed figures of this group. #2 DEES WINNER didn't show much in his first two starts but woke up with a good runner up finish behind Tete De Jaune, who had been knocking on the door for a while. If he retains that form he could be a contender here. The Daily Double starts here.

Race 2: 5-3-6
This race kicks off the early Pick 3. #5 BDB GHOST TRANE made her career debut on July 24, had the rail post, showed some speed but flattened out. She gets off of the rail, cuts back in distance and has some experience under her belt. I wouldn't be surprised to see some improvement. #3 SENATOR LOGAN had been a bit disappointing in his first two starts at Ajax but improved last time out with a fourth place finish, beaten less than a length and well clear of Bdb Ghost Trane. If he gets out alertly he's a serious contender. #6 CR PARTY WITH CORONA has made three starts in Texas and Oklahoma with no success. She had a good workout from the gate on June 28 and should appreciate the class drop.

Race 3: 8-4-1
#8 FAST FERDINAND made his Ajax debut in a tough group of allowance optional claimers and ran an even fifth. As a two year old he qualified to a pair of futurities in the States, beaten a length in the G2 Speedhorse Futurity at Fair Meadows. He drops in class and has some experience over the track.#4 BOLD SIX LOVE hasn't show much in three starts this year but has been racing in the very toughest races he could be in. He had three wins at somewhat similar class levels last year and should appreciate the drop here. #1 CHANNELISLANDSFLYER had a good second behind the always tough Caraway Blue three back and then caught the very live Storytime Blue in his two most recent starts. He's been putting in good runs against tough foes throughout the season and has every right to be competitive here.

Race 4: 1-5-2
This race is the start of the $.20 Pick 4! #1 JJ MAXWELL is easily the classiest runner in this Speed Index race, with nine career wins and over $105,000 in earnings. He raced fairly well to be third behind Soxy N I Know It, who's been tough in these races this year. If he breaks clean I find it tough to see him getting beat here. #5 CATES PURDY BUFFALO was bothered at the break last time out but raced okay to be fourth two back, not far behind Jj Maxwell. He had a third place finish behind Kool Kinda Ivory and Dm Paid In Cash on May 29 which is certainly a respectable race. #2 IM SPEEDY broke his maiden two back in a race that produced next-out winner Passum Lane, but then had a tough trip in a NW2. Other than Jj Maxwell everyone else in this group is eligible for NW2 and this gelding certainly looks live against them.

Race 5: 8-2-3
#8 SOXY N I KNOW IT is two for two this year, both in Speed Index races. She ran a 64 speed figure two back and last time out beat Itsallaboutramblin and Jj Maxwell. She draws outside and shouldn't have too tough of a time handling the rise to NW3 allowance. #2 ROCKIN MISS KITTY beat a good group of NW2 two back, then took a big jump to an optional claiming race going 440 yards and was a very good second. She looks like the one to beat here. #3 TTT KELLYS REGAN had an unlucky 2015, putting in a lot of big efforts and taking a lot of close beats. He made his 2016 debut on Canada Day and finished second behind Country Boy 123. His speed figures fit with this group and he is worth a look. Late Pick 3 wagering is offered here.

Race 6: 7-3-6
Today's feature is a QROOI Overnight Distance Series race going 400 yards. #7 FAST MAN VIC had a terrific run down at Hialeah over the winter. He came up here and ran great in his first start but has been a bit more even than I anticipated in his last two. The competition changes today, though. Does he have to beat First Down the Track? No. Does he have to beat One Famous Glass? No. Does he have to beat The Fdd Map? No. I'm too stubborn to give up. #3 FIRST ELEMENT showed mild late run in his first two starts at Ajax but really woke up last time out when stretching to 440 yards, getting a solid optional claiming win. Although I do think 440 is better than 400 for him, I do think that last race could be a sign of more good things to come. #6 FIRST PRIZE OSCAR is two for three this year, with an okay fifth place finish in the last QROOI Overnight Distance Series race between wins. He's six for 14 in his career so it's tough to say he doesn't know how to win, and he doesn't look un-competitive at this level. The Late Double starts here.

Race 7: 7-1-2
#7 HOPE RAMBLES ON was an easy winner three back, then nearly managed to beat the red-hot Alakazaam in the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby trials. She had a rough in the final but returns here, dropping in class and looking like the one to beat. #1 CHARTED TO WIN was a close third in a Speed Index race three back, then finished second behind No Cerveza For You, but was even when facing NW3 last time out. He gets back into NW2 and has raced well from the rail post in the past. #2 PASSUM LANE broke terrific last time out, took a big early lead and held off a pair of rallying foes. He cuts back 20 yards for his jump into NW2 and if he can open up a big early lead again he may end up being tough to run down.
 
Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Ajax Downs Selections July 31

Last week we had a pair of trials for the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity, highlighted by an impressive win by Home to Vegas to set the fastest qualifying time. Today we switch our focus to the three year olds, with a pair of trials to the Adequan Regional Derby Challenge. We also have a QROOI Overnight Sprint Series race going 220 yards, featuring stablemates One Kool Wave and First Down the Track. It's sure to be a fun day of racing. Here are my selections.

Race 1: 5-2-3
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #5 DENALI TELLER OFF has made two starts and has shown some run against very respectable foes. She finished third on debut behind Home to Vegas and Zoxtobeyou, who both came back to win last week, the former being the fastest qualifier to the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity. She then finished third in the John Deere Juvenile Challenge despite troubled trip along the inside. If she gets out clean she won't be easy to run down. #2 ONE SPECIAL DOMINO is by multiple Grade 1 placed sire Dominyun, who finished third in the 2010 All American Futurity. Her dam, Shenandoah Special finished no worse than fourth in her five start career here at Ajax, finishing third in a Futurity. She has had some solid workouts in preparation for her debut. #3 CLASSIC COURAGE is a Texas-bred out of a mare named Motorin, who won a Grade 3 Futurity at Turf Paradise and also finished second in a Grade 3 Derby at Yavapai Downs. That Derby at Yavapai also featured a horse named Rockish, who was later brought up here to Ajax and won many races, including a three Stakes races. His sire, Captain Courage, finished third in the 2007 All American Futurity and also qualified to the next year's All American Derby. Her workouts have been okay but it will be interesting to see if she has any of the class her pedigree suggests she could possess. The Daily Double starts here.

Race 2: 3-6-2
This race is the first of two trials to the Adequan Regional Derby Challenge. #3 PANTHER HERO kicked off the season with an allowance score in a respectable group of horses. After winning a pair of Stakes races here last year, he went on to race respectably in the John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship and Lone Star, and I'm assuming the Adequan Challenge Championship is a goal for him this year. He's always a contender. #6 ALAKAZAAM is on an absolute roll, undefeated in four starts this year and exiting a win in the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. He was an easy winner before being DQd in his lone start at the 400 yard distance and he seems to like to roll down the outside. He's proven to be quite good at winning. #2 COUNTRY BOY 123 gave Alakazaam a run for his money at the end of the 2015 season and has gone three for three this year, including a win in the AQHA Challenge Maiden. This is his toughest assignment so far this year but his speed figures are competitive with his main competitors. Early Pick 3 wagering is offered here.

Race 3: 6-4-3
This race is the second and final trial to the Adequan Regional Derby Challenge. #6 BUBBLES CARTEL GAL qualified to the Sunshine State Derby at this distance in Florida and raced better than the sixth beaten 3 3/4 lengths looks on paper. Her races her have been alright but I have a feeling more distance will benefit her. #4 ITOLDYOUILIKEROSES was an impressive winner three back, returned with a second place finish behind Panther Hero, but lost all chance at the start last time out. She's a hard trying type with a consistent record of solid races. #3 DO U ZOOM was beaten a head in last year's Alex Picov Memorial Futurity. After two runner up finishes behind Seis Zoom, who returns here and Eyes That Tell, who came back to win a 110 yard race with a 107 speed index, he took an easy win on July 21 over Rich and On Fire and Rouge River Cartel, both horses I think are alright. He's hit the board in seven of his nine career starts, eight if not for a disqualification.

Race 4: 6-7-1
This race kicks off the $.20 Pick 4! #6 JIMMY BOYZ CARTEL was a winner in his first start of the year then had two very good efforts in races won by Albertt and Eyes That Tell. Last time out he drew the rail post in a competitive group of horses primarily made up of recent US imports and reared at the start. He gets an easier group here and hopefully will break well. #7 CARAWAYS DASH N FAST finished a 1/2 length in front of Jimmy Boyz Cartel last time out but had a much better start. I was a fan of her throughout her 2015 campaign and I still think she's an alright runner. She fits in this group. #3 FAMES WINNER had a pair of seconds and a fourth behind No Cerveza For You to start off the year. He then ended up catching a soft group after scratches and won easily on July 10. He will likely end up with a clear path along the inside.

Race 5: 3-4-6
#3 EYESA SPEEDY SIMON has qualified to both the Picov Maturity and the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity this year. Although he was a non-factor in the OSS Maturity final, he did run a good second behind eventual Maturity winner Fiesty Icon. The last time this faced a straight conditioned group, a NW2 on October 12, he was a winner over Jess Kiss My Dash. He should be tough dropping into NW3 today. #4 CHARTED TO WIN exits a second place finish behind No Cerveza For You. Although he is still eligible for NW2, he is lightly raced and catches a lot of rivals who have had many chances. As a 10-1 shot, he is worth a look. #6 WILD BOYZ VICTORY was very game in defeat last time out, stumbling at the start, rallying but just being outkicked late to be third by a neck. She was a winner two back and has been no worse than fourth this year. The late Pick 3 starts here.

Race 6: 5-8-3
Today's feature is a QROOI Overnight Sprint Series going 220 yards. It is also the start of the Late Double. #5 FIRST DOWN THE TRACK has been terrific this year, winning the Picov Maturity and the first leg of the QROOI Overnight Distance Series. Although she has never raced going 220 yards before, she is a terrific breaker and has a win going 110 yards to back up her early speed credentials. She's a money maker. #8 EYESA ZOOMN has hit the board 26 times in his 35 start career. He has been a very tough Starter Allowance horse for a while, but if you look back to July 5 2015 he ran a good second behind Mitford, beating Mr Victory Six. He's a solid breaker, 1-for-1 at 220 yards and several good 110 yard races, and he has quite a bit of class. #3 ONE KOOL WAVE looked like a lock in the 110 yard Sprint Series race on Canada Day and had the early lead but was run down by entry-mate Sign It Down who got up in spite of an early stumble. That raised some concerns for me as he figured to win easily. Can he win today? Absolutely, he's a class machine with a spectacular record. Would I want to bet him at a short price? No, not particularly. You be the judge on what value on him is.

Race 7: 5-2-4
#5 LOLAMO was flat in his first start of the year but has put in two fairly respectable efforts behind Caraway Blue since then. He takes the drop into the Speed Index race and seems like a contender. #2 ITSALLABOUTRAMBLIN was even in his first two starts of the season but rebounded with a second place finish behind the game Soxy N I Know It on July 10. He had a similar progression last year, non threatening in his first race but following that up with a pair of wins. He wouldn't surprise me at all here. #4 IM PRETTY FAMES finished narrowly in front of Lolamo on May 22, had a troubled trip on June 12 then rebounded with a third place finish behind Soxy N I Know It on June 26. She has two wins at this distance and had a respectable looking breeze on July 27. She is capable of a winning effort.
 
Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Ajax Downs Selections July 24

Sunday is upon us which means another day of Quarter Horse racing at Ajax Downs! Today we have no Stakes races, but we do have a pair of trials to the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity, as well as a two year old maiden race, so it is a good day for fans of the juveniles. First post is at 12:55 ET. Here are my selections.


Race 1: 2-1-5
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #2 BLUE SPEEDO was a qualifier to last year's Alex Picov Memorial Futurity. So far this year he has raced twice, with a second and a third place finish. He most recently finished second behind Speedocracy in the trials for the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. He gets back in against maidens here. #1 BDB GHOST TRANE debuts here. She is by Brookstone Bay, a Graded Stakes winner who fared well in several Grade 1 events at Los Alamitos, and out of Ryda Trane, a two time Stakes winner in Alberta. She has shown improvement in her works and could be worth a look today. #5 THE KATY SPECIAL was a qualifier to last year's Alex Picov Memorial Futurity and this year's AQHA Challenge Maiden. She exits an okay fifth place finish on July 3 and has competitive speed figures. The Daily Double starts here.

Race 2: 7-3-6
This race is the first of two trials to the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity, as well as the start of the early Pick 3. #7 HOME TO VEGAS won the first two year old race of the season on June 19 quite convincingly. He posted a bullet workout on July 6, going 250 yards from the gate in 13.30, and has an experience edge over his competition, who are all first time starters. #3 LATER TATER is by Wild Boyz, who has produced several very nice runners, and out of Eyesa Quick, who qualified to a few Stakes and was a six time winner. He shows two workouts in preparation, including a 250 yard gate work in 13.94 on July 6. #6 ADABOI KINGSLEY is by Down Home Dash, a very successful runner here and in Michigan in the early 90s. He worked twice from the gate at Hazel Park, most recently going 220 yards in 12.26, a respectable time.

Race 3: 2-3-1
This is the second and final trial to the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity.#3 HOME ICE debuts after a 13.60 gate workout on July 6. He is out of Driving Annie Home, who was an 11 time winner in a 27 race career, qualifying to two Futurities and placing in both of them as a two year old. #3 MAKE ME BODACIOUS is a full sister to Make Me a Miracle, who although not a Stakes horse is an alright mare in her own right. This filly shows two gate works at Hazel, going 220 in 12.47 and 12.26. Her dam, Make Us a Miracle won her first two career starts and qualified to two futurities in 2006. #1 ARISING MIRACLE is the only runner in the field with some racing experience. He debuted in the race won by Home to Vegas on July 19 and finished fifth. However, experience could help and he drew the rail post that day, so he may be comfortable with it today.

Race 4: 6-5-3
This race kicks off the $.20 Pick 4! #6 KONA CORONA is a half brother to Graded Stakes winner A Plain Brown Rapper, who was a very solid racehorse. He has worked twice from the gate prepping for this start, most recently going in 13.67. #5 ZOXTOBEYOU finished second behind Home to Vegas on June 19. He is the only runner in this field with some racing experience and he showed a bit of kick that day as well. #3 CAPTAIN CAROLINA has worked twice at Hazel from the gate, going 220 yards in 12.68 and 12.20. He is the first foal out of Jess Carolina, who was an eight time winner in 37 starts with over $115,000 in career earnings.

Race 5: 6-2-4
#6 FAST FERDINAND makes his first start at Ajax Downs here. He won a trial to the Speedhorse Futurity in Tulsa and was beaten a length in the final. He also won a trial to the Valley Junction Futurity at Prairie Meadows but was DQd for a positive test. His last run at Indiana was not too bad. #2 SELECTIVE MEMORY exits a sixth place finish in a QROOI Overnight Series Open which was topped by First Down the Track, The Fdd Map and One Famous Glass. He won three consecutive starts last year and now gets to take a bit of a dip in class. #4 OURFIRSTORPHAN exits a second place finish at this level last week. He has yet to miss the board in three tries this year. On May 8 he finished third behind One Kool Wave. He certainly looks like he should be a factor here.

Race 6: 1-5-4
#1 PASSUM LANE has been game in all three of his starts this year, including a third behind Albertt and No Cerveza for You, who have both been win machines this year. He was a favourite to win two weeks back but flipped in the gate and had to be scratched. He schooled at the gate this week and should appreciate the stretch out to 350 yards. #5 EYE GOT YET BACK finished a clear second on July 10 behind Fames Winner. He previously had not shown too much run, so that was a wake up effort for him. Hopefully he can continue to show that kind of form. #4 WINNERS REX has raced well in each of his start this year except for his June 5 effort over a muddy track. He had some trip trouble last time out and was hardly beaten for third in spite of it. He could be right there. Late Pick 3 wagering is offered here.

Race 7: 6-7-4
Today's feature is a QROOI Overnight Series race for Ontario bred three year olds. It also kicks off the Late Double. #6 COUNTRYS COMIN BAC won his first two career starts, then jumped to a tougher condition and finished second behind Cole Miner, an old win machine who just came back to win again on Thursday. He's lightly raced and he looks very competitive with this group. #7 SPEEDOCRACY raced very well in both of last year's futurities. He was an easy trial winner heading into the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby and finished a solid third in the final. The stretch out in distance to 400 yards should be good for him, as he can be a late closing type. #4 MEMORY OF JAY finished a game second behind Country Boy 123 in the AQHA Challenge Maiden before going on to an easy maiden win on June 19. He finished fourth in last year's Alex Picov Memorial Futurity. I think he's got some solid potential to be okay.

Race 8: 3-7-1
#3 ALBERTT went through his final condition on July 10, winning a NW3 allowance. He has been on a role this year, winning three of his five starts. He took a Speed Index win on June 5 so you have to think he can fit well at the level. #7 RAM TUFF faced a tough group at a higher condition level on July 3rd, but raced well to be fourth by a half length behind Dm Paid in Cash, Yawl Keep Textin and Reckless an Wild. This will be his first start at the Speed Index level, but he appears more than competitive, potentially at a solid price. #1 WILD BOYZ VICTORY snapped a long held losing streak on July 10 with a NW2 win. Although things get tougher here. she is very good at picking up cheques and has raced well from the rail post in the past.
 
Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Ajax Downs July 21 Selections

Today at Ajax Downs we have a special twilight program! As opposed to our standard 12:55 start time, first post will be 3:45 ET for the seven race card. Our features makeup the Late Double, Race 6 is a 110 yard Gridiron Gallop and Race 7 is an open Allowance featuring a handful of top-notch older horses. On-track fans will be treated to a meet-and-greet with famous Canadian jockeys Sandy Hawley and Francine Villeneuve. It's sure to be a terrific evening. Here are my selections.

Race 1: 5-3-1
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #5 FLY FAST FOR KAYLEY has been in great form this season, scoring two wins with two very narrow defeats, keeping very good company. In his last start, an open for Ontario Sired runners he was beaten a head by Reckless an Wild and Theydontlikemyname. He looks like he should fit well here. #3 COLE MINER is two-for-two this year, with a win at a higher, optional-claiming level and a dead heat with Waving Sandy Home in a Starter Allowance. He has hit the board in five of his six starts at 350 yards and brings solid form into today's event. #1 WAVING SANDY HOME exits the dead heat with Cole Miner on June 26. She kept respectable form against solid runners like Deal a Fortune, First Lady Katy and Blazin Ivory last year and could end up with a clear running path along the inside today. The Daily Double starts here.

Race 2: 6-5-1
This race begins the early Pick 3. #6 ROUGE RIVER CARTEL finished fifth in a race won by Country Boy 123 on Canada Day but was placed last for interference. I was quite taken with his as a two year old, and although his form this year doesn't appear as great I still think he's got some kick. #5 COOL ALLEY raced here twice last year, finishing third behind Tres Sea and Itoldyouilikeroses and then a green fifth in the John Deere Juvenile Challenge. He broke his maiden in an Oklahoma-bred $10,000 claimer at Remington, finished third for that tag facing non-winners of two, then returned here in the Country Boy 123 race where he stumbled at the start. The last race is certainly forgivable and the Remington form makes him look quite threatening. #1 DO U ZOOM has a case of seconditis, finishing second in half of his eight career starts. He was beaten only a head in last year's Alex Picov Memorial Futurity. In his most recent start he overcame a slow start to dead heat for the place money. A better break can make him a big win threat here.

Race 3: 6-5-2
#6 JESS KISS MY DASH had to spend a lot of time standing in the gate as multiple horses were scratched late on June 26, broke a bit slowly but still outgamed his competition and got up for the win. He's a full brother to Jesskissmytexas, who finished a very close second in Sunday's Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity. He's a solid horse and another win would be no surprise. #5 SPEED OF LIFE finished sixth in the Cole Miner/Waving Sandy Home race on June 26, but was beaten only a 1/2 length by the winners. She takes a drop from a $5,000 starter allowance to an Ontario Sired NW3, a significant move to an easier level. She should be able to run well here. #2 DM AURORA has been very solid this year, with a win and two seconds in four starts. Two back she finished second behind Theydontlikemyname who returned to finish a very narrow second in the Ontario Sired open race on July 10. She's consistently been a good finisher and although her only start at the distance was not a good one, I think 400 yards should suit her well.

Race 4: 3-8-4
This race kicks off the $.20 Pick 4! #3 DASHING OUT OF VEGAS debuted in a $7,000 maiden claimer on June 26 but took himself out of the race as he broke very slowly. He is a full brother to Home to Vegas, who was an impressive winner a few weeks back. Hopefully he gets out of the gate well today. #8 BUSTER BRI loves to finish second, with 10 place finishes in 18 career starts, several of which have been narrow defeats. It's clear that he should eventually get the job done, and this field doesn't look too salty, but tread carefully betting him to win at a short price. #4 LIME KILN LANE debuted with a fourth place finish in a race won by Platinnum, who came back to be a good second in a tough NW2, and followed that up with another fourth facing Ontario Sired runners. He faces Ontario breds today and could improve as he gains experience.

Race 5: 6-2-3
#6 DEAL A FORTUNE didn't show much in his first two starts of the year, but dropped into a Speed Index race and finished second behind Storytime Blue, who returned with another impressive win on Sunday. He's a capable horse; he had two wins last year as well as a solid third in the Adequan Derby Challenge which was won by Seize the Win. He certainly doesn't look outclassed. #2 ILLBEGONEFLYING kicked off the season with a respectable fourth in a QROOI Overnight Series Mares Open, broke poorly on May 29, and returned on July 3 with a win at the Speed Index level. She has been a victim of plenty of poor luck at the start but has proven that when she gets away well she is a game runner. #3 THIS GIRL IS WILD was a close second behind Illbegoneflying after two even efforts to kick off the year. She's not a consistent type but she showed that she can run well at this level and can grab a piece of the action today. Late Pick 3 wagering is offered here.

Race 6: 8-2-1
This race is a 110 yard "Gridiron Gallop" as well as the start of the Late Double. #8 ARCTIC FAME has had two starts at this distance, with a third and a fourth place finish where he was fractious in the gate. He has been a very good breaker in most of his recent starts and draws outside, which is good for a horse who can be restless in the gate. Hopefully he gets out clean. #2 RANDOM AUDIT had two very narrow runner up finishes at this distance to kick off the year before finishing a half length back in another 110 yard race topped by Sign it Down and One Kool Wave. She raced okay in a NW3 on July 10 but certainly has to be considered here given her 110 form. #1 PLATINNUM was an easy maiden winner on June 5 before finishing a good second against NW2 on June 26. She makes her first 110 yard attempt here but seems to have solid gate speed.

Race 7: 4-5-2
Today's feature is a 350 yard open for older horses. #4 SIGN IT DOWN has been terrific this year, winning the QROOI Overnight Series Mares Open, finishing third in the Picov Maturity behind First Down the Track and One Famous Glass, then winning a 110 yard open over One Kool Wave despite a stumble at the start, a very impressive feat. I've often overlooked her as the "other" horse when compared her stablemated, First Down the Track and One Kool Wave, but she's always been respectable and really seems to be coming into her own this year. I think she'll be tough. #5 THE FDD MAP had three wins in six tries last year and never finished worse than third. He made his 2016 debut on Canada Day with a close second behind First Down the Track, finishing 3/4 of a length in front of One Famous Glass in third. He is one of the most solid, hard knocking horses in the province and a win today should come as a surprise to no one. #2 CARAWAY BLUE took a pair of Starter Allowance victories to kick off the season, then ran in the Sign It Down-One Kool Wave 110 yard race where he finished fourth by a 1/2 length. Although I have nothing but respect for this veteran and I don't think he's totally without hope today, the jump from the Starter Allowances to the Open ranks is a tough one.

Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Ajax Downs July 17 Selections

After last week's John Deere Juvenile Challenge, the older horses will highlight today's card at Ajax Downs. Race 7 is the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity which features some of the best the Ontario breeding program has to offer. First post is at 12:55 ET. Here are my selections.

Race 1: 4-2-3
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #4 FIRST ELEMENT caught a tough field on June 12 when making his first start in almost a year. Although he finished last, I didn't think he ran too badly. He stretched out to 400 yards and has had success at 440 and 550 yards in the States. Hopefully he improves in his second start off of the layoff. #2 MEMORIES TIMES SIX won a trial to the Picov Maturity four back but did not fare well in the final. He has been a close third in both of his two most recent tries, last time in a 110 yard race behind Sign it Down and One Kool Wave. Three of his six wins have come at 400 yards. #3 OURFIRSTORPHAN has raced very well in both of his starts this year, most recently finishing a close second behind Fly Fast For Kayley. He ended the 2015 season with a close second behind Stakes winner Sm Chicks N Garters. He's been on the board in 28 of 47 career starts. The Daily Double begins here.

Race 2: 7-3-6
This race kicks off the early Pick 3. #7 HELLFIRE N BRIMSTONE makes his career debut here and hasn't caught the toughest field in the world. He has two works from the gate prepping for this debut and I've thought he's looked good both times. The outside draw should be good for this first timer. #3 HAMMER TYME debuted in the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby trials and finished fifth in a race won by Ice Fishn. That was not a bad race at all, he earned a 48 speed figure, and he now has the benefit of experience. He looks like the one to beat. #6 MISS SIXARUN LADY raced twice last year and was not bad both times, debuting with a runner up finish. She did not have anything to offer in her first start of 2016 but that was a tougher field. She can get a piece of it here.

Race 3: 4-7-5
#4 CRUWYSN THE ARCTIC had a troubled trip in the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity trials and returned in an Ontario Sired open last week where he finished fourth by less than a length. He is more than competent and gets an easier field today. #7 MARTHAS JESS GOLD made her 2016 debut in the allowance race topped by Panther Hero, Itoldyouilikeroses and Kool Kinda Ivory where she raced okay to be sixth. She isn't super consistent but she did get two wins last year (three if not for a disqualification) and doesn't get such a stacked field here. #5 STORYTIME BLUE snapped a cold streak two weeks back with an authoritative score over Deal a Fortune. I'm not sure if she can duplicate that effort but if she can, watch out. If not, she can still be competitive.

Race 4: 3-6-4
This race begins the $.20 Pick 4! #3 NO CERVEZA FOR YOU scored her maiden win in a QROOI Overnight Series Maiden on June 26 in her third career start. In her first start she was a good second behind Albertt, who has won three races this year. She's a nice filly who seems to have a good future. #6 EYE SAID IM NED made his first start of the year in a NW2 since the date and didn't show too much. He now drops in to a straight NW2 which should help. He had some decent efforts last year, including a third place finish by only a neck on August 2. He might go a bit overlooked here. #4 GRASSHOPPER FLATS had some issues in the gate earlier in the season but dropped in for $7,000 claiming, stayed calm and took an easy win on June 5. That was not a great field but he won exactly how he should have. He deserves a look in this spot.

Race 5: 2-3-5
#2 FAVORITE LEADER kicked off the season with a close third on June 19. She returned on Canada Day and once again finishing third, this time behind the ultra-sharp Country Boy 123. She does not catch the toughest of competition here. #3 THATSALOTOFSUGAR raced okay to be fourth in a $7,000 claimer on June 19, then returned in an Ontario Sired Allowance on July 3 and finished third. She can be competitive here. #5 IZA JAZZ GAL broke her maiden for this claiming tag at the end of the 2015 season. So far this year she has raced twice, both at the Speed Index levels and both times failing to be a serious threat. Although she has been loaded late, she does have issues keeping calm in the gate which is probably her biggest hindrance. I think she fits here if she runs here race. The late Pick 3 starts here.

Race 6: 3-10-8
This race is a QROOI Overnight Series Maiden, as well as the start of the Late Double. #3 VALIANT STOLI TIME finished second behind Country Boy 123 in the AQHA Challenge Maiden trials before finishing fourth in the final. He came back to finish third behind Challenge Maiden runner-up Memory of Jay, just missing second by a head. To me it's just a matter of time before this gelding gets the breakthrough win. #10 EYESA WILD BOY finished second behind No Cerveza For You in the QROOI Overnight Series Ontario Sired Maiden last time out. He has been on the board in six times in his eight starts, including five second place finishes. He's well bred and game, it wouldn't surprise me to see him finally get the job done. #8 PYC TRICKIE LADY kicked off the season with a narrow second place finish but was very even in the AQHA Challenge Maiden trials and final. She rebounded a bit on July 3, breaking well and just getting outkicked. She can leave fast, and I think the cutback to 300 yards is in her favour.

Race 7: 7-3-5
Today's feature is the $56,750 Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity. #7 JESSKISSMYTEXAS is the king of the Ontario Sired division right now. He should have won last year's OSS Maturity but broke poorly and could not get up. He wrapped up 2015 with a close third in the Alex Picov Memorial Championship behind US invaders Jettastic and Mesa Marvel. He returned on Canada Day and scored an easy win in his trial. If he gets out well, he won't be easy to beat. #3 EMBRACE EXTRAVAGENCE was an okay third behind Jesskissmytexas and Im Aquicktrick in the trials after a disappointing fifth in the Picov Maturity trials on May 22. The 2015 Picov Derby winner has yet to return to her three year old form but she seems to be moving in the right direction. If she can find her best effort she could give the favourite a run for his money. #5 FIESTY ICON finished second behind Embrace Extravagence in the Picov Derby last year before going on to win the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. He was an easy trial winner last time out after a better than it looks sixth in the very tough Picov Maturity. He's earned over $100,000 and has won half of his 14 starts. It's tough not to respect him.
 
Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Ajax Downs Selections July 10

Sunday is upon us and that means another card of racing at Ajax Downs! Last week we saw Alakazaam keep his winning streak alive in the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby, and this week the two year olds will take center stage. The feature today is the John Deere Regional Juvenile Challenge and it has drawn a field of eight, including three shippers from Indiana Grand for trainer Anthony Cunningham. First post is 12:55 ET, here are my selections.

Race 1: 4-5-2
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #4 DASHING SUGARMAN reared up at the start in his first start of the year and was never a factor. He had three wins last year, each time closing to get up late. The 400 yard distance should be good for him, hopefully he can get away well. #5 SOXY N I KNOW IT caught some tough fields as a two year old, but came to the Speed Index ranks for her first start of 2016 and got up to win despite a stumble at the start. She proved that she fits with this level, hopefully she can be competitive again today. #2 ITSALLABOUTRAMBLIN scored two wins in three tries last year, including a Speed Index win, but has not had any luck so far this year. He was in very tough in an Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity trial last week and now drops to a much more reasonable spot. The Daily Double starts here.

Race 2: 1-3-4
This race kicks off the early Pick 3. #1 WAVIN dropped down the the maiden $7,000 claiming last time out, broke very slowly but flew down the outside to get up for the win. However, she drifted in and caused some interference causing her to be disqualified to third. She was a few lengths the best in that race and catches several of the same foes today. If she breaks well she should be tough to catch. #3 BODACIOUS VICTORY showed little in three starts in Minnesota and Iowa last year and has been a non-factor in two tries here. She has caught horses like Country Boy 123 and Memory of Jay, who are a lot tougher than the field she catches here, but she will still need to show improvement. #4 FLEET SELECT finished second behind Grasshopper Flats two starts back, then finished third last out behind an improving Bold Moon Arising. In four starts for this claiming tag he has always been competitive and I see no reason why today should be any different.

Race 3: 6-2-5
#6 WILD BOYZ VICTORY is only one for 20 in her career, but consistently puts in good efforts, hitting the top three 10 times. Her three starts this year have been respectable efforts, two of which being second place finishes. This field doesn't look too tough. #2 SHAKE SOME SUGAR is a very on and off type horse, he runs a lot of nondescript, even races but once in a while throws in a big one. Last time out he was just run down by Jess Kiss My Dash, a full brother to Jesskissmytexas. Last year he had a good third behind Kool Kinda Ivory and Albertt in August. He's capable, it's just a matter of whether or not he'll show up. #5 PAGRANAS WINNER qualified to the AQHA Challenge Maiden but was a non-factor in the final. She managed to get her maiden win last week over Bubbles Cartel Gal, a Stakes qualifier at Hialeah earlier this year. She has been earning competitive speed figures and has a chance to double up today.

Race 4: 4-2-3
This race is the start of the $.20 Pick 4! #4 ROCKIN MISS KITTY has been in very tough in her two starts at Ajax. First out she caught One Kool Wave, and next out she faced Caraway Blue. She was scratched at the gate on June 26 but returns now and gets to face a straight non-winners of two group for the first time in Ontario. #2 RICH AND ON FIRE finished a rallying second behind Itoldyouilikeroses two back but put in an even effort last time out on June 12. He was a winner at Ruidoso last year and hopefully can turn his form around today. #3 MAGIC OF CORONA ran a good third in his first Ajax start on May 8. In his most recent try he finished fifth along the rail but was beaten less than a length for the win. He certainly looks like he should be competitive here.

Race 5: 4-3-8
#4 PASSUM LANE started to show signs of life late in the season last year and has been knocking on the door in all three of his start this year. Last out he was beaten only a neck, and the start before that only a head. It seems like it's only a matter of time before he gets that first win. #3 BRUTUS BE GOOD finished a neck behind Passum Lane to be third in his career debut on June 12. He definitely showed run but he threw a wreck in the gate on return and had to be scratched. He has had some gate schooling since then and hopefully will be able to stand well, because he seems like he has some ability. #8 FAMES WINNER finished second in his first two starts this year, but caught a tougher group last time out and finished fourth behind No Cerveza for You. He looks like a contender in this group.

Race 6: 1-6-3
#1 ALBERTT scored back-to-back wins on May 22 and June 5 before entering in the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby trials. Unfortunately he was shut off at the start and lost all hope of qualifying to the final. This isn't the easiest NW3 out but he's been pretty game this year. #6 RANDOM AUDIT has raced three times this year, all going 110 yards, and has been running very well, just narrowly missing in her first two tries. Last time out she caught Sign it Down and One Kool Wave but was beaten only a half length. She returns to a conventional distance and gets in easier. #3 PICKIN WILD COTTON closed late to win a $10,000 claiming NW2 two starts back before finishing a non-threatening fourth in an Ontario Sires Stakes Derby trial. He raced very well in last year's Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity and if he breaks well he has a shot at an upset here. Late Pick 3 wagering begins here.

Race 7: 3-2-5
Late Double wagering is offered here. #3 CRUWYSN THE ARCTIC made his 2016 debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity trials last week but was shut off at the start and did not qualify to the final. He's a classy old horse; he won last year's OSS Maturity and has earned over $83,000 in his career. If he breaks well, don't be surprised to see him pull the upset. #2 RECKLESS AN WILD exits a narrowly beaten third place finish behind Dm Paid In Cash and Yawl Keep Textin, who are respectable foes. He was a winner on May 29 and is a two-time Stakes winner with nearly $120,000 earned. #5 FLY FAST FOR KAYLEY has two wins in three tries so far this year with the lone defeat being a runner up finish behind Reckless and Wild by a head. He beat that foe last out on June 12. He's in the best form he's even been in right now so it's tough to discount him.

Race 8: 8-6-5
Today's feature is the John Deere Regional Juvenile Challenge. #8 ONE FAST EFFORT is a very well bred runner, by three time Grade 1 winner One Famous Eagle out of a First Down Dash mare Tiny First Effort, who was a Grade 1 winner who won eight of her 19 career starts. He got a rough trip in his debut at Indiana and didn't show a lot, but came back to post a very sharp 220 yard gate workout in 11.54 on June 28. He may benefit from the outside draw. #6 LUMMIS FIRST is a son of the great First Down Dash out of a mare who won an All American Futurity trial in 2008. He debuted with an okay fourth place finish on June 19 and looks to improve here. He's certainly bred well enough. #5 RPAINTED PISTOL held on to win his debut at Remington on March 17 but broke poorly and trailed in a trial for the Remington Park Futurity. He is a son of Pyc Paint Your Wagon out of Grade 1 winning mare Rdustys Chick, and I've though he's looked quite good in morning training. He's the only runner here with a win under his belt.
 
Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!