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.