Sunday, 29 May 2016

Ajax Downs Selections May 29

Sunday is upon us and that means another race day at Ajax Downs! We have six Quarter Horse races today, highlighted by a QROOI Overnight Series Open for Ontario Sired three year olds, which features a very nice group. First post is 12:55 ET, here are my selections.

Race 1: 3-4-1
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #3 KOOL KINDA IVORY won despite flipping in the gate on debut last year over Albertt, who was a solid winner here last week. He returned with a troubled but respectable fourth behind Alakazaam in a Futurity trial, then showed good speed despite being bumped to finish second in an allowance with a very competitive speed figure. This is a horse who has been begging for a clean trip. #4 DM PAID IN CASH spent a fair number of starts going 110 yards and breaking just a bit slowly last year, but was generally quite competitive when racing at standard distances. She raced against open mares two weeks back, hopping and veering inwards in front of a slow breaking foe at the start, costing her a lot of early momentum. She really didn't run poorly all things considered. She has always been a capable mare and can definitely contend here. #1 ILLBEGONEFLYING exits the same race as Dm Paid In Cash, the mares open on May 15. She broke very smartly from the outside gate but was just outkicked late by classier foes. I'm not sure the move to the rail post will be particularly beneficial but she's second off the layoff and could be a big price. One to consider. Today's Early Double starts here.

Race 2: 2-1-5
This race begins the early Pick 3. #2 SNOW STORMING caught very tough fields in both of his starts as two year old. She debuted in the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity trials, caught Alakazaam, Ice Fishn & Rouge River Cartel, and finished an even sixth. She came back in a maiden, caught Alakazaam (again) and Country Boy 123, who was a game winner over to solid U.S. invaders in an AQHA Challenge Maiden trial last week, and raced a fairly game third. They gave her a shot going 110 yards two weeks ago but caught a ridiculously tough field, took a bump at the start and couldn't recover. That was probably a good prep and now gets to a conventional distance and an easier group. We'll see if she moves forward. #1 HOPE RAMBLES ON showed some heart last year, hitting the board twice and qualifying to the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity. She raced on opening weekend, was bumped twice at the start but still finished gamely to be second behind the only horse in the race who avoided trouble. She certainly has a big shot here. #5 FAMES WINNER raced against winners throughout the 2015 campaign but was later DQd from his maiden win in 2014 for a medication violation. In his return to maiden company he bumped at the start but showed speed, dueled and was just outkicked by a horse who had a very fast start. He has every right to win but will almost certainly be a short price.

Race 3: 3-2-5
The $.20 Pick 4 starts here! #3 CHARTED BY DM kicked off 2015 with a narrow second behind The Fdd Map and later had a pair of thirds and win, earning $17,000 for the season. If he gets out well he should be tough, most of the rivals here look a bit slower than him. #2 RECKLESS AN WILD will likely be Charted By Dm's biggest competition. He is a two time Stakes winner, with the 2013 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity & 2014 Ontario Sires Stakes Derby to his name. Unfortunately last year, despite hitting the board in half of his starts, he failed to get a win in eight tries. His speed figures have stayed competitive and he by no means hasn't been racing poorly and has every right to win in this spot. #5 SHARPE DRESSED MAN began 2015 with a win in a Speed Index race, came back with a close second in an Ontario Sired NW3 allowance, but then had trouble in his next three starts, being completely eliminated last time out. If there had been a NW3 allowance for him this week I likely would have picked him to win because he is a capable horse, but this is a fairly big class jump.

Race 4: 6-2-4
#6 PICKIN WILD COTTON impressed me in workouts prior to his debut last August. He kicked off his career with an easy win in an Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity trial over Ice Fishn. In the final he had plenty of trouble with bumps and lugging in but finished a very game fourth (DQd to sixth.) In his final start, the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity trials, he broke slowly and was shut off twice. The rider stood up on his shortly before the wire but he still galloped out strongly. It's rare I mention gallop outs in Quarter Horse racing, but this caught my eye upon watching the replay. He moves to the barn of Bob Broadstock, worked well on May 11 and I suspect he could put in a very big effort today. #2 JESS SHAKE EM has hit the board in seven of her 11 starts. She had a good second behind Jess Wanna Have Fun, who I like, in July and followed that up with a maiden breaking win. She had a very easy breeze prepping for this and goes for connections who have had some success already this meet. #4 DAYTONA 500 looked good in her first two career starts, an OSS Futurity trial win and a runner up finish in the final, but really hasn't been able to continue that momentum. She raced two weeks ago, lunged a bit at the start but had a clear path and never really picked up her feet. We'll see if the ability is still there. Late Pick 3 wagering is offered here.

Race 5: 7-2-4
This race kicks off the Late Double. #7 RICH AND ON FIRE scored a very game maiden win at Ruidoso back in August, breaking very well, dueling, dropping back a bit past the 110y marker but rebidding strongly to get up. He was wiped out due to trouble in his two races after, veering out and bumping two back, then getting pinched back after a few bumps at Will Rogers last time. Hopefully he can get away cleanly. #2 JESS WANNA HAVE FUN was my choice in a race of the same condition on opening day after being very impressed with her training appearances. She drew the rail post that day, veered inwards but had a clear lead for the early yards and just could not keep it going, flattening out to be fifth. She may have needed that start, she was a winner second time out last year, so there's reason to believe she could be sharper today. We'll see. #4 ITOLDYOUILIKEROSES had a very respectable two year old season, a second behind Tres Sea, a win (DQd for a medication violation) over Rouge River Cartel, a third behind Do U Zoom & Speedocracy and an easy win against maidens to wrap up the season. She tried the open mares race two weeks ago, took a bit of a bump at the start and had to shift out a couple times to maintain a path but put in a solid effort. This is a much softer group and she has every right to win.

Race 6: 4-8-1
Today's feature is a QROOI Overnight Series Open for Ontario Sired three year olds. #4 SPEEDOCRACY has yet to miss the board in four starts, qualified to both the Ontario Sires Stakes and Alex Picov Memorial Futurities and had no shortage of trip trouble in either of them. In the Alex Picov, he broke inwards and bumped the foe to his inside, got straightened out but then between the 350 and 330 yard poles, the rival to his outside veered inwards and gave him a solid bump. He managed to pick his feet up to be a very good third. His two gate works this spring have been quite good. Hopefully he gets a clear path throughout this time. #8 ALAKAZAAM ran huge on opening weekend, blowing away a group of Ontario Sired NW2. He took a couple starts last year to figure things out but since then he's been an absolute pro. Had he not been DQd from his trial win on September 21, I stand by my opinion that he probably could have won the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity last year. I'm going to try and beat him at a short price, but he is a really nice race horse, simple as that. #1 ICE FISHN debuted with a solid second place finish behind Pickin Wild Cotton before turning the tables and winning the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity with a strong finishing kick. She returned to finish second behind Alakazaam in the Alex Picov Memorial trials before being placed first. Despite her solid trial run, she was vet scratched out of the final and did not race again in 2015. She returns here off of a quick gate work on April 27. One to consider if you want to try and beat Alakazaam.
Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Kawartha Doug On the Downs Selections May 28

It's that time of year where I get to handicap harness races (because that's my forte) for Kawartha Downs. Last year I began to write the Doug On the Downs tipsheet for the Peterborough area oval and I'm happy that it's returning this year. Tonight is opening night, first post is 7 PM, give the little track a look. If you're in Ontario I strongly recommend a visit to Kawartha, it's a lot of fun. Here is tonight's tipsheet.

Race 1: 5-1-2
#5 COUGAR GAL was non-competitive in her last start, a $10,000 claimer at Flamboro on March 6 where she drew a very poor post. Two starts ago she raced a respectable fourth for $5,000. She qualified here last week, showing early speed but having to deal with broken equipment at the 3/4 marker and finishing in 2.01.2. She had success at Kawartha last year, taking a seasonal mark of 1.57 flat. #1 LILY REI has spent the winter and spring racing at Pompano Park in Florida, hitting the board in eight of 16 starts so far in 2016. She has suffered numerous bad trips down there but was beaten only a nose in her last start. She was vet scratch on May 15. She draws the rail post and should have a fitness edge over her rivals. Despite her win-shy record, she looks like the one to beat. #2 KEYSTONE SAMURAI had a good season last year, taking a record of 26-3-6-5 with a mark of 1.56.2 here at Kawartha. She ended last year's meet with three consecutive runner up finishes behind Carly Hollywood, who at the time was razor sharp. Her qualifying effort looks solid, going in 1.59.1 with a final 1/4 of 28.3.
Race 2: 1-5-4
#1 SEDONA SEELSTER is a new addition to the barn of Doug Hie. He has shown very little in his racing career, the exception being a runner-up finish at Flamboro for $10,000 claiming despite a parked out trip on December 31. He exits a narrow qualifying win in 1.58.4 over Dg Ramtough and Mr Xl, both respectable horses here. We'll see how sharp he is. #5 ROYAL MACHERY had a few solid races here last summer. He has raced twice at Mohawk recently, finishing fourth in 1.55 flat last out on May 5. He was scratched due to sickness on May 16 and now returns at this much lower level. Expect him to be tough. #4 ROSE RUN REBEL has only one parimutuel start under his belt, making a break and showing little at Sarnia in July. He qualified last week, making a first over move past the 1/2 and flattening out in the stretch. We will have to see if he can get a trip tonight.
Race 3: 3-4-1
#3 POWERFUL WOMEN raced against NW$10,000 conditioned foes at Flamboro last time out where she finished sixth. She made a three-wide move at 3/4s and paced the back half of the mile in 59 flat. She makes her third start off of a layoff here and drops back into the claiming ranks. #4 MARITIME GIRL had five wins in 23 starts last year, more than any of her rivals tonight. This year she has not been so lucky, racing 19 times already in 2016 with four third-place finishes. Her last three efforts, which came at Flamboro and London, were all respectable and she drops in class here. Certainly one to consider at 10-1. #1 E L WILDSPIRIT has been racing for $12,000 claiming at Flamboro and has put in quite a few good efforts. Last time out he was shuffled back past the 1/2, swung three-wide at 3/4s, made up some ground but flattened out in the final 1/8th. The class drop and the rail post make him a large threat here.

Race 4: 1-2-6
#1 NORTHERN PRIMA has been racing at Mohawk and showing some kick over the big oval. Last time out he took a shuffle but still came home in 28.2, two back he paced the back half in 56.1, and three back he finished third with a three-wide move at 3/4s. She's got sme form and drops in class. Looks tough to me. #2 TREASURED MOMENTS made three breaks at Flamboro last time out on May 7, but had a pair of decent runner up finishes their prior to that disaster. She has been given three weeks off since then and should hopefully be able to stay flat tonight. #6 E L DARTSMYBOY wrapped up 2015 with some okay races at the higher condition levels in London. He qualified in 1.57.2 aty Georgian Downs last week with a 57.3 middle half. The post isn't great but he seems to have some pace.
Race 5: 5-1-3
#5 LILYSGONECHEATING was a wire to wire winner at London three starts back. She followed that up with a runner up finish, then got a tough trip in a City of London series division. If she gets off of the gate well I expect her to be a factor. #1 CANTAFFORDHOLIDAY made two starts down in London, finishing second first time out then finishing fourth in a City Of London series division, trotting the mile in 2.04.2. She draws well and has the right to improve with experience. #3 CAN EYE GO has been racing in Pennsylvania with no success. She is capable of showing speed off of the gate and with the class drop she may have a shot here.
Race 6: 8-2-4
#8 TEAM LEADER made a break at the start then was swung three wide at the half in London last out. In her previous start at Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago she was beaten only a nose, and before that showed very good finishing kick at Miami Valley Raceway in Ohio. The post will make things tough for her. #2 SILKYS LADY exits the same race in London as my top choice. She was parked every step from the 1/2 marker on and raced fairly well to be fourth by four lengths. She shows a couple of respectable miles at Vernon Downs in New York last fall. She looks like a big contender. #4 BONNIES GEM makes her career debut following two qualifiers at Mohawk. She showed some gate speed in her most recent qualifier where she was beaten a length in 1.59.2. Her talent level is an unknown at this point.
Race 7: 1-5-4
#1 STRONSKI made her first Ontario start at Flamboro last week after campaigning at Northfield Park in Cleveland. At Flamboro he set the pace, met pressure at the 3/4 marker, dueled gamely but missed by a head. I expect him to be on or near the front tonight. #5 CONNERY BLUE CHIP wintered at Pompano and already has a win in 1.53.2 this season. She returned to Ontario after two weeks off in a $6,500 claimer at Rideau, finishing third in 1.56 flat but was placed eighth for interference. He certainly has the speed, expect him to be live. #4 TWANG TWANG finished third and was claimed for $6,500 at Rideau two back, getting parked and going the mile in 1.57.1. He returned for $8,000 at Flamboro but caught the eight hole, finished fairly well but was a non-threatening sixth. Post and class relief make him a player here.
Race 8: 7-1-4
#7 PACIFIC WAVE K invades from Northfield where has caught a few poor post positions as of late. Unfortunately the poor post luck continues here. Last time out he trotted the back half in 57.3, quite quick for a trotter over a half mile track. He already has two wins to his name in 2016, with a mark of 1.57.2 at Miami Valley. #1 SCARY GOOD was racing at Woodbine over the winter and early spring with a few okay miles. On February 5 he finished third in 1.57.3. On March 5 he was fourth in 1.56.4 with a 57.2 back half. He was very win shy last year, just one for 39, but if he's ready off of the layoff he could contend in this field. #4 EXCUSE ME PLEASE has finished second in two of his last three starts, both at Flamboro in similar conditions to what he faces tonight. He is not a super consistent type but can show some speed off of the gate when asked.
Race 9: 3-6-2
#3 P L DANGEROUS has been having a great 2016, compiling a record of 16-4-5-1 with nearly $15,000 banked. Two back at London in an Alliance Claiming Stakes Series divison he got an awful trip and finished fifth, but was claimed for $6,000. He returned at Rideau in a $6,500 claimer, got a first over trip but still finished second by a length in a very quick 1.55.3. If he can show that kind of speed again he will be a big threat. #6 ABERADER MAX has two wins for $8,000 claiming at London so far this year. Three back he was a first over winner in 1.57 flat, a solid time over the London half miler. In his two most recent starts he has not gotten great trips but has raced well regardless. His come from behind style mixed with post 6 may not be beneficial but he certainly isn't lacking in talent. #2 SANTANNAS GAL is winless in 13 tries this year but has some good miles that make her looks tough. Two back she finished second (albeit by six lengths) in a $12,000 claimer at Flamboro. She managed to hit the board a few times at Woodbine back in March in $10,000 claimers. The class drop and good post give her win potential here.
Race 10: 1-5-2
#1 MISTER BIG TOP has been racing in the high level conditions at Flamboro and London as of late. Last time out in London he was fifth by four lengths in 1.56.4. Although he's a win shy type, the class drop and the post make him appealing with an 8-1 ML. #5 EVENING JOB was a winner in an $8,000 claimer at Flamboro two back in 1.56.1. He jumped up for $12,000 last time out and raced an okay fourth (placed third.) He's a very classy old horse, 10 years old, 46 wins in his career, what's not to love? A win tonight would push his career earnings over the $500,000 mark. #2 GALAGHER SEELSTER has returned from a layoff with two starts at Mohawk, both times showing no early speed, rushing up in the third quarter but flattening out late. Last year he took a mark of 1.51.1 at Woodbine. I have to expect he'll be asked for some speed tonight, and could be sharp in his third start off of the break.
Good luck to everyone playing tonight!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Ajax Downs May 22 Selections

We are now in the third week of the season at Ajax Downs and now the big horses are coming out to play. Today's card has eight races, including a pair of trials to the AQHA Challenge Maiden and highlighted by a pair of trials to the $50,000 added Picov Maturity at 300 yards. Some of Ontario's tried and true best older runners and some new faces square off looking for a spot in the final. It's sure to be a terrific day of racing. Here are my selections for the day's races.

Race 1: 5-1-2
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #5 FAVORITE LEADER raced four times last year, each time in the Speed Index ranks, winning twice and finishing second in the other two. In her final start of the year she was an easy winner over two of the rivals she faces today. She breezed on May 13 at Hazel Park prepping for this start. If she retains her 2015 form she will be very tough. #1 WILD BOYZ VICTORY made 10 starts last year, going winless but hitting the board five times. She raced on opening day in a NW2 allowance for Ontario Sired foes, finishing a good fourth behind dead-heat winners Cc Fire N Ice and Dm Aurora. She may be tough second off the layoff. #2 DASH FOR DM finished the 2015 season with back to back wins at the Speed Index level. Although the two fields he beat were not the strongest groups, his form showed a lot of improvement. He has worked twice in preparation for the season. Today's first race starts the Daily Double.

Race 2: 3-5-4
This race kicks off the early Pick 3. It is also the first of two trials to the AQHA Challenge Maiden. #3 FAST BUCK is a new shooter at Ajax Downs for trainer Tom Dunlap. He ran four times in the States last year, with a very close fourth in a maiden and a solid third in a Heritage Place Futurity trial at Remington. He then went to Lone Star, showing nothing in a Dash For Cash Futurity trial but then rebounding with an okay fifth in a Texas Classic Futurity trial. The class drop here is a big one. #5 PYC TRICKIE LADY broke well in her debut at Canterbury last year but failed to sustain her speed. She raced on opening day, breaking very well, dueling, but just being outkicked by Dashing Carter, who had a fitness edge after racing at Remington in April. She draws outside here and has every right to have improve off of an already very good effort. #4 MEMORY OF JAY started off a bit slow last year, but improved suddenly, finishing second behind Canadian Champion Panther Hero in an Alex Picov Memorial Futurity trial then finishing fourth in the final. He may need a start before a peak effort but this seems like the right spot to kick off his campaign.

Race 3: 5-4-2
This race is the second of two trials to the AQHA Challenge Maiden. #5 BUBBLES CARTEL GAL raced three times down at Hialeah this winter, qualifying to the Sunshine State Derby for Florida breds despite some traffic trouble in her trial. She broke fairly well in the final, bumped a few times early but actually wasn't too far beaten for third. Alberta-based jockey Ramiro Sanchez Castillo is named for the mount. #4 VALIANT STOLI TIME, another Jason Pascoe-trainee, raced four times down in Texas last year. In her start three back at Retama he broke very well to be third. Two back at Lone Star he bore in and bumped his inside foe quite hard but still ran respectably. He was a bit even last time, just holding on for show but actually ran his career best speed figure. He has worked twice from the gate in preparation for these trials. #2 COUNTRY BOY 123 debuted in the Ajax Juvenile Challenge, finishing a fair enough fourth behind Tres Sea despite racing greenly. In his final start, he ran a good second behind Alakazaam, who scored an easy win here last week. He posted a bullet work from the gate on May 11.

Race 4: 6-5-4
Race 4 is the start of the $.20 Pick 4. #6 SENATOR LOGAN comes in from Texas for the Dunlap barn. In his debut at Retama he broke very well but flattened out in the final 220 yards. He dropped in for $6,250 claiming and ran a respectable third, but was bumped a couple times after the start in his final start. He doesn't look like he has to beat any world beaters here. #5 RAINAS EAGLE wasn't particularly consistent but ran a few respectable races last year. Her best races were at the beginning of the meet, and she looks like she fits with this group. #4 BUSTER BRI finished second in four consecutive starts to close out the 2015 season. He has hit the board in 11 of his 15 starts with earnings of over $26,000, not bad for a maiden. He could break through today.

Race 5: 5-8-1
#5 CARAWAY BLUE is one of the most consistent, hard knocking horses in Ontario. He has 13 wins in his career and went three for five last year. His speed figures are quite a bit higher than most of his rivals today. I expect a solid effort from his for his first start as a nine year old. #8 CHANNELISLANDFLYER hit the board in eight of his 12 starts last year despite going winless. He raced on opening day, caught One Kool Wave in his return to the races and finished fifth, beaten 1/2 a length for second. He likes to knock on the door and pick up a cheque and there is no reason he couldn't do so here. #1 JJ MAXWELL is another very consistent, classy old gelding. He faced $7,000 starter allowance company on opening day at this distance, and although he had to work hard for it, he got up late to be up for the win. He looks for his 10th career win here and should not be counted out.

Race 6: 4-3-8
This race is the first of two trials to the Picov Maturity. #4 EMBRACE EXTRAVAGENCE is a terrific mare. She crossed the wire first in her first four starts, the fourth being the Picov Derby, in which she beat QROOI Horse of the Year Fiesty Icon, who went on to win the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. Her final start of the year, a QROOI Overnight Series race for Ontario Sired three year olds was a bit of a disappointment, but it certainly was not bad and it is very unrealistic to expect horses to put in monstrous efforts in each and every start. She has looked great in both of her workouts prepping for her return and I think she's the one to beat. #3 DEAL A FORTUNE is a gelding I've become a bit of a fan of. He finished second behind Embrace Extravagence in their Picov Derby trial before finishing seventh in final. He wrapped up 2015 with a very solid runner up finish behind First Down the Track (before being DQd to eighth) going 110 yards. He returned last week going 110 yards again, but took a stumble at the start, eliminating his chances at the super-sprint distance. If he breaks well he could definitely be a contender here. #8 THE FDD MAP was still as solid as ever last year, winning three of his six starts and never losing shamefully, running great behind horses like First Down the Track, Mitford and Sm Chicks N Garters. He has 11 wins and over $207,000 in the bank; he always has a shot to win, it's as simple as that. The late Pick 3 starts here.

Race 7: 5-7-2
This race is the second of two trials to the Picov Maturity. #5 FAST MAN VIC, al half brother to multiple Graded Stakes winner, Fearles Fred, may be the new 'big horse' here at Ajax Downs. This gelding campaigned down at Indiana last summer, qualified to three Derbies there, finishing second in one of those events, never embarrassed himself, but unfortunately had to deal with company like Seize the Win, Mavara Vegas and Parti Favor. Those aren't horses who are particularly easy to win against. He then went down to Hialeah and scored back to back to back wins in NW2, NW3 and NW4 company, beating G3 Harrah's Futurity winner Mayleen Pyc easily in the NW3. After the NW4 win, Full Circle Racing purchased him and gave him a try in the Miami-Dade County Stakes. In that field he caught Jessies First Down, already a Stakes winner and Graded Stakes placed runner who has since won the G2 Sam Houston Classic, and Grade 1 placed Rc Me Leaving You, who scored two wins in three tries at the Sam Houston meet after the Hialeah Season. Despite the terrific company, Fast Man Vic ran a very good third. I was there that day and was quite surprised at how well he ran. He had a gate breeze on April 27, not breaking perfect but immediately recovering and galloping out far. I like this horse. #7 FIRST DOWN THE TRACK might end up making me eat the paragraph I just wrote about Fast Man Vic; she is a monster in her own right. She has banked over $210,000 in her career, finishing first or second 21 times in 32 starts. She's a very alert breaker with a lot of class. She also breezed on April 27 from the gate; she looked tremendous as she always does and we got her slightly faster than my top choice. Very tough to discount her. #2 ONE FAMOUS GLASS defeated Sm Chicks N Garters in the Picov Maturity trials last year in his first start off the layoff before finishing a very solid third in the final over a sloppy track. He's a tough horse not to respect, 12 wins in 25 tries, a fourth place finisher in the Grade 1 Leo Stakes at Remington back in 2014, beaten less than a length in last year's Alex Picov Memorial Championship. He always warrants a long look, and he was successful in these trials last year. It wouldn't surprise me if the wagering public overlooked him a bit in favour of my top two. Late Double wagering is offered here.

Race 8: 10-6-2
#10 NO CERVEZA FOR YOU will debut here for the trainer/jockey combo of Don Reid and Brian Bell. She has worked twice this spring prepping for this debut, going in solid times in both breezes. Her dam, Cerveza For Me, won the Princess Futurity in 2010 by a full length. The outside will likely be a beneficial post position for a debut runner in a full field. #6 EYESA WILD BOY is a nephew of One Famous Glass' (R7.) This gelding raced five times last year and hit the board in four of those tries. He wasn't always a perfect breaker last year, but it was his first year on the track and it wouldn't surprise me if he has done some maturing from thee to four years old. He certainly would not surprise me here. #2 ALBERTT ran a very good second on debut last year. He made his second start on opening weekend going today's distance, breaking very well from the rail post but flattening out midrace. If he can break that well here but sustain the early momentum, he could pull an upset. That fitness edge may be all that he needs.
Good luck and thank you to everyone playing today!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Ajax Downs Selections Sunday May 15

Happy Sunday! The second card of the 2016 Quarter Horse season at Ajax Downs in here! We have seven races today, including a 110 yard dash and a QROOI Overnight Series Open for fillies and mares going 250 yards. We have some very competitive events, be sure to take a look. Here are my selections for today's races.

Race 1: 1-2-3
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #1 IZA JAZZ GAL was a filly I followed throughout the 2015 season, I thought she had shown some pump in her pre-debut workout, then had a fair bit of bad luck in several starts. She eventually scored an easy win for a $5,000 claiming tag but then closed the season out facing a respectable group of non-winners of three. She catches a soft looking group here for her first start off of the layoff. #2 MOMMYSSWEETSECRET scored two consecutive wins in 2014 but lacked such luck last year, going winless in eight tries. That being said, she ran several good races and also caught a few fields that would absolutely tower over today's competition. Her best form last year was at the beginning of the season which may be a sign of a big effort today. #3 FLEET SELECT is a maiden facing winners here, not a particularly exciting proposition. He raced five times last year and had trouble in every start, but did show some ability. I wouldn't advise betting on him at a short price but if he can get away cleanly I would have to guess he could be competitive here. Today's first race begins the Daily Double.

Race 2: 1-2-4
This race begins the early Pick 3. #1 RUNAWAY RANGER debuts here for the stable of Bryn and Carol Robertson with two gate works in preparation. His dam was unraced but is by the great Pyc Paint Your Wagon; she has already produced Fastazexpress, who won her career debut and finished a respectable fifth in the 2014 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity. He certainly has not caught the toughest field in the world. #2 WINNER ON A LARK had one race as a two year old, a trial for the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity, finishing fifth of six with some trouble at the start. Although it does not look like a good line on paper, I really do not think it was any worse than any of the races her competition have been running. Her dam had plenty of success here on the old 'J' track and if this filly has matured at all from two to three she should be tough here. #4 IFWISHESWEREFISHES scored two runner up finishes in four tries last year, qualifying to the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity. Her last race was not an encouraging effort but her best races make her a big factor in this spot.

Race 3: 2-6-1
#2 DAYTONA 500 was an easy winner on debut before finishing a strong closing second in the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity. She returned in a trial for the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity, facing the very tough Panther Hero, had a good break but ended up having some trouble finding clear path. In her final start in October she was fractious, took a bump at the start and never got rolling. She definitely has some ability, and I'm hoping the winter layoff did her some good. #6 ALAKAZAAM hinted at ability in his first two starts, breaking poorly but picking it up late, and then really put it together for his last two starts. He beat OSS Futurity winner Ice Fishn and Rouge River Cartel in a trial for the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity on September 21. He would have qualified to the final but was disqualified for interference. I don't think it's absurd to think he could have won the final, as he returned in a Maiden on October 12, winning that edging away late with a 66 speed figure. He is probably the best horse in this race, but there's a chance he may need a start off the layoff and he will likely be a short price. #1 KINDA LIKEA LOVESONG showed some late run in her debut, then dropped in for the $7,000 claiming tag second time out. In that start she hopped shortly after that start and left herself with a good bit of work to do but flew in the final 110 yards to get up. Trainer Joe Tavares claimed her out of that race for the Picov Cattle Company and hope to have success with her here.

Race 4: 2-3-4
The $.20 Pick 4 kicks off here! #2 GRASSHOPPER FLATS has raced four times in his career and has yet to put in a poor effort. In his debut as a two year old he finished fourth behind Jumping Guitar and Fiesty Icon, who both went on to be very successful high level horses, the latter being named the 2015 QROOI Horse of the Year. This gelding made his last start of 2015 in July, breaking out and being bumped a few times at the start but running gamely throughout. He returns with a solid gate work on April 27 and drops in for $7,000 claiming. #3 FAMES WINNER was a winner at the end of the 2014 season and spent last year campaigning against winners but was DQd from his win for a medication violation and now has regained the maiden condition. He had some solid races last year including a neck-beaten second in a NW2 on September 28. The drop to maiden $7,000 claiming is a big one. #4 TOO DAMN TOUGH had a start back in June and caught a tough field including Tres Sea and Itoldyouilikeroses, was fractious in the gate and faded in the late stages. She has breezed twice prepping for this race.

Race 5: 2-5-7
#2 R ZOOMING LADY scored two wins to kick off her 2015 campaign, an easy maiden win over Cartels Fast Money, who I quite like, and then a NW2 over Blazin Ivory, winner of the AQHA Challenge Maiden. She then returned in a very tough allowance where she finished fourth behind multiple Stakes winners First Down the Track and The Fdd Map. She seems like the fastest horse in this race, we'll see if she can return to last year's form. #5 I AM SWEET LOVE won a Speed Index race in her first start of the 2015 season and followed that up with a runner up behind the very tough Caraway Blue. She kept good form through the first half of the meet but tailed off a bit in the fall. The winter freshening was probably good for her. #7 DONTTELLMEMYBUSINESS raced six times last season and was competitive in all but one of those efforts. In terms of speed figures he is the closest to R Zoomin Lady in this group. This race begins the late Pick 3.

Race 6: 5-4-8
Today's sixth race is the first of two featured events today, a 110 yard Gridiron Gallop! #5 A PHENOMENAL CHICK returns to Ajax after a winter campaign at Hialeah Park. In her first three South Florida starts she broke very well, showing the kind of speed that she'll need for 110 yards. In her final start at Hialeah she caught a tough field headlined by Ratifys Egyptianking, who had already won her two previous starts and went on to win an allowance race at Sunland Park in New Mexico. She may go a little overlooked in this race but I certainly think she is worth considering. #4 EYESA ZOOMN is a tough horse to not love, he is the absolute definition of class. In 33 career starts he has amassed 13 wins and 10 second place finishes. He closed up the 2015 season with a pair of races at 110 yards; first time he finished second behind Cartels Fast Money, who as I said before I am a fan of, and then second time out third behind First Down the Track and Deal a Fortune despite being bumped midrace. He was placed second in that start. To put it simply; he's very fast and very classy. A serious contender. #8 DEAL A FORTUNE is a very solid gelding. He won his first two starts at Ajax, finished a very game third behind Seize the Win and Eyesa Speedy Simon in the Adequan Derby Challenge, then finished second behind Embrace Extravagence in a Picov Derby trial. After disappointing in the final, he tried 110 yards, finishing a very good second behind First Down the Track before being DQd for interference. He is probably the one to beat; however, I worry that from the outside post he could break outwards and lug out, costing him enough ground to get beat at a short price. If he keeps straight he should be tough. This race begins the Late Double.

Race 7: 7-2-5
Today's finale is a QROOI Overnight Series Open for Fillies and Mares. #7 A GAME DASHER is a new face to Ajax after racing in Louisiana last year. In her debut at Delta she got away well, dueled and raced gamely throughout to be second, well clear of the third place finisher. She returned at the Fair Grounds, broke great and drew away for a very quick win. then ran a very good third (placed second) at Evangeline Downs. I would rather see her facing non winners of two but at a price I think she could be competitive here. #2 CARTELS FAST MONEY has already been mentioned twice in previous races' analysis today and now shows up in a race. She is a terrific breaker, she just rockets out of the gate. In nine starts last year she broke first in five of them and second in two more. This is her first try in the Overnight Open ranks but this is one of the easier groups of that class and is worth a look. #5 SIGN IT DOWN raced against the toughest horses on the grounds through most of the season last year and certainly didn't embarrass herself; she was competitive with The Fdd Map, Mitford, Sm Chicks N Garters and even managed to beat First Down the Track on one occasion. Her best effort is certainly good enough to win this race.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Ajax Downs Opening Day Selections

It's that time of the year; Quarter Horse racing at Ajax Downs resumes for the 2016 season on Sunday, and frankly I couldn't be happier about it. For the third year my Four-Forty selections will be in the live racing program and I will also be posting them here. We have six races to begin the meet, with first post at 12:55 ET.

Race 1: 4-2-1
Happy Mother's Day and welcome to 2016 season of Quarter Horse Racing at Ajax Downs! #4 DASHIN CARTER debuted here in October, was bumped entering the stretch and showed solid late kick. He returned in April at Remington for a claiming tag, broke in but showed solid speed and was game throughout. He has a fitness edge over his foes here. #2 PYC TRICKIE LADY raced in a Futurity trial at Canterbury Park in Minnesota back in June. In that start she broke well but was forced outwards early and lost any momentum she may have had. She has worked twice from the gate prepping for her Ajax debut and has hopefully moved forward from two to three years old. #1 WAVIN caught one of the toughest 2yo maiden races of the 2015 season in her debut in August. She returned in late September, had unfortunate luck including the rider losing his irons, but still appeared to finished up well. She was a bit green in her gate work on April 20 but can certainly improve as she matures. Today's first race offers Daily Double wagering.

Race 2: 3-1-4
Race 2 begins the early Pick 3. #3 JJ MAXWELL is a very classy veteran of the Starter Allowance ranks with just under $100,000 in career earnings. He has proven to be effective when making his first start off of the winter layoff in several previous years and kept solid form throughout the 2015 season with the exception of his September 7 start. Jockey Neil Husbands is new to the Ontario Quarter Horse colony and looks for some early success here. #1 WAVING SANDY HOME showed class as a two year old back in 2014, finishing third in the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity after winning a trial for that event. Last year she won her first start off of the winter layoff from the rail post, the same post she has today, and followed that up with a solid third behind the very respectable Deal a Fortune. She looked good in her gate work on April 25; I expect her to be ready. #4 IM PRETTY FAMES won the first race of the season last year and looks for more early season success in 2016. She is a nine year old veteran with 48 starts under her belt and showed that she was still quite game throughout the 2015 season. Certainly one to consider.

Race 3: 1-2-7
This race kicks off the $.20 Pick 4! #1 CC FIRE N ICE drew the rail in his 2015 debut, a QROOI Overnight Series Maiden for Ontario Sired runners, broke like a pro and was confident throughout. Factoring in the bad luck he had in a few starts his season was fairly solid last year, he did manage to qualify to the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby, and he's shown he can race well off the layoff. 10-1 would be a significant overlay. #2 DM AURORA is a horse who drove me crazy last year; she broke poorly or was bumped so many times but consistently finished up very well. She had a good gate work on May 2 and if she's fit enough off the layoff and manages to break clean she can be a factor here. #7 CARAWAYS ZOOMTO FAME was showing a bit of run in the early season last year and finally put it together in August, stringing together five consecutive top three finishes including an impressive win on October 12. If he's ready off the layoff he could grab a piece of this.

Race 4: 1-7-6
#1 JESS WANNA HAVE FUN began her career in 2014 at Turf Paradise in Arizona where she qualified to the Desert Classic Futurity in which she was beaten less than a length. She ran quite a few respectable races last year including a nice maiden win in July. She has really caught my eye training this year, she looks absolutely terrific and worked very well in company from the gate on April 25. The big question is whether or not she will run as good as she looks. #7 MAGIC OF CORONA makes his Ajax debut after spending the last two years campaigning in the States. He won his debut as a two year old at Remington Park but has been disappointing ever since, going from Futurity and Derby trials at Ruidoso, Lone Star and Remington to the Allowance ranks at Prairie Meadows. He had no excuse in his last start in Iowa but hopefully the class drop will help him. He showed improvement from his April 18 to April 27 workouts and probably shouldn't be completely ignored at a long price. #6 SEIS ZOOM raced twice as a two year old, scoring an easy win in the maiden ranks second time out in a field that included next-out winner Kinda Likea Lovesong. She will have to be able to handle older foes here. Late Pick 3 wagering is offered in this race.

Race 5: 5-2-7
Today's fifth race is the start of the Late Double. #5 PIRANHAAA kicked off 2015 with a good third place finish in a Picov Maturity trial behind One Famous Glass and Sm Chicks N Garters, two of the best horses in Ontario last year. After that he was plagued with trouble at the gate and was shut down for the season after a disappointing effort in a high Speed Index race. He has breezed twice in company prepping for this season and both times looked quite good while outworking his company. With his back class I am absolutely happy to give him a shot here. #2 ONE KOOL WAVE makes his first start since September 2014 with a pair of very quick breezes. He's a tough horse to argue against, 19 wins, three track records and just under $330,000 in earnings to his name is an incredibly impressive resume. The hope to beat him is that he will need a start off of the long layoff, but there's a good chance he will be just fine and if you get 5-1 on him he's probably worth betting. #7 CHANNELISLANDSFLYER went 0-for-12 last year but managed to hit the board in eight of those tries. He is very good at grinding out cheques at class levels similar to this.

Race 6: 4-1-8
#4 BLUE SPEEDO faced some very tough company as a two year old. In his second start, a trial to the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity, he finished fourth behind Panther Hero, who went on to win the Futurity, race a respectable sixth in the G3 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship at Lone Star and was named the AQHA Racing Canadian Champion of 2015. This colt had a solid gate breeze on April 25 and makes his first start against Ontario Sired foes. #1 ALBERTT raced once last year against open maidens and finished a game second behind Kool Kinda Ivory, who continued to race well in tougher company. With two gate works under his belt he should be ready, and he gets to face Ontario Sired rivals here. #8 BOBBY GARROD raced three times as a two year old, each time in Ontario Sired races, and showed improvement each time, ending the season with a respectable third in an Allowance event behind Sugarmans Delight and Kool Kinda Ivory, both winners. We will see how he performs off the layoff.

Thank you for joining us and good luck!