Race 1: 2-1-4
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #2 MAKE ME A MIRACLE made her first start of the year in the QROOI Mares Open on May 15, where she got bumped back a bit at the start, had to steady slightly late in the race but had a ton of run in the last few yards when it was all too late. She may not be quite as classy as some of the foes she meets here but she's capable and she's no slouch. I don't mind her at all in this spot. #1 MEMORIES TIMES SIX won one of the trials to the Picov Maturity over Sign It Down two back. Although he did not race great in the Maturity final, breaking a bit slowly and failing to rally, Sign It Down complimented his class by finishing a good third. His entry mate, #1A Fly Fast For Kayley is in good form, winning a Speed Index race with ease on May 22 and returning with a close second behind Reckless an Wild, who returns here as well. #4 OURFIRSTORPHAN is a real solid grinder, hitting the top three in 27 of his 46 career starts, banking over $133,000 in the process. He raced on opening weekend, finishing third behind One Kool Wave, and was beaten only a neck by Sm Chicks N Garters in his last start of 2015. There's no shortage of class in this one. This race kicks off the Daily Double.
Race 2: 1-2-4
The early Pick 3 begins here. #1 FIRST ELEMENT is new to Ajax Downs for trainer Jason Pascoe. Ignore the work shown from May 30, 2015, that is a misprint. He last raced at Wyoming Downs in an overnight Stake worth just over $9,000. He showed little according to the chart, I don't have a replay to make a judgement off of. In 2014 he was an impressive winner of a Starter Optional Claimer at Zia Park. If I had to guess I'd say he's a horse who's probably had soundness issues but I recall his breeze on May 30 being respectable and at a price I think he's worth a shot. #2 EYESA ZOOMN is a personal favourite of mine, the absolute picture of consistency. He is a 13 time winner, he's earned over $103,000, and he has a terrific record at today's distance of 330 yards, winning seven of eight starts at the distance with one second behind Mitford. He raced a very good third in a 110 yard race on May 15 and could move forward here. #4 PEGASOS ONE UNDERPAR qualified to the Picov Maturity with a fifth in the much tougher of the two trials, broke great in the final and ended up a solid fifth again. He's just another old, classy money maker, winning 11 of his 34 career starts. It's always tough to discount him.
Race 3: 6-5-1
#6 CARAWAYS DASH N FAST had a very solid season last year, only really putting in one poor effort in seven tries. Even in her start where she got beat for $5,000, she was second behind Itz All Good, who had been sitting on a win all year and was probably one of the tougher horses you could reasonably expect to catch for that claiming price. I find her tough to fault, her form is good, her work on May 25 was solid, she should get a late load. I'm on board. #5 ROLLING RING was third behind Alakazaam on May 15, a horse who well outclassed that field. On May 29 he caught another tough field (Itoldyouilikeroses, Jess Wanna Have Fun & Rich and On Fire were a very good top three) and got bounced around a bit at the start, leaving little in the tank late. He drops back in for the tag and faces Ontario-breds as opposed to open foes here. #1 DREAMS ARISING raced against Pickin Wild Cotton, who I was very high on, for this tag on May 29. She hopped at the start, was bumped and in tight most of the way, never really getting the opportunity to run her race. She's shown that if she gets out well she can run a bit, maybe the rail post will help her avoid trouble.
Race 4: 3-4-8
This race is the start of the $.20 Pick 4! #3 DO U ZOOM was beaten only a head in last year's Alex Picov Memorial Futurity, showing he had some serious talent. He went down the Hialeah and tried to qualify for the Sunshine State Derby, but was quite fractious in the gate, broke slowly and failed to rally. He came back in an allowance event, didn't break perfect again but showed some late kick to be third. If he can break better here he should be a big factor. #4 A GAME DASHER showed talent in her three starts in Louisiana last year but was ambitiously spotted in her first start at Ajax, racing in the QROOI Mares Open. Despite the tough competition she raced great to be third behind Sign It Down and Im Aquicktrick. She now gets to face non-winners of two and that certainly can't hurt her. #8 RICH AND ON FIRE raced at Ruidoso last year, scoring a maiden win in his third career start but was plagued with trouble in his other outs. In his Ajax debut he was a late closing, dead-heat second behind Itoldyouilikeroses, who's more than respectable. He draws outside and makes his second start over the surface.
Race 5: 3-1-4
#3 CARTELS FAST MONEY is ridiculously fast from the gate when she's focused and has no shortage of class, her lines show plenty of races against some of the toughest horses in the province. Unfortunately, in her first start of the year, the QROOI Mares Open, she lunged at the break, costing her all chance. She came back to work from the gate a few days later and broke great. She's in tough here but it's not unfathomable for her to win, she just has to break. #1 CARAWAY BLUE avoided trouble at the start that hindered most of his rivals and won easily at this level on May 22. He is everything you can ask a horse to be, classy, fast and focused, and those traits have led him to over $175,000 in career earnings. You don't need to be an expert handicapper to determine that this horse has a shot. He always does. #4 ARCTIC FAME was knocking on the door in most of his early starts of 2015 and then finally scored back to back wins to wrap up the season. He's hit the board in 13 of his 21 starts and is a consistently good breaker. His two works getting ready for his season debut have been very quick. The late Pick 3 begins here.
Race 6: 8-4-1
Late Double wagering is offered here. #8 PANTHER HERO is the kind of horse I could end up writing a novel about. He won both the Ajax Juvenile Challenge and the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity last year before heading down to Lone Star to race in the John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship. In that race he broke great but came out early and caused some traffic, raced gamely the whole way and finished sixth but was placed last for the interference. That was not just a tough race, but probably the toughest race any horse in this field ever has or ever will face. On top of that, he was named the AQHA Canadian Champion of 2015. He's a great gelding. Unfortunately, I don't think the 8-1 morning line will hold up. #4 MS DASHIN CORONA has finished second in both of her starts this year, a head behind Jj Maxwell and a length behind Caraway Blue. It's tough to fault a horse who runs that well against those tough old starter allowance runners. Catching Panther Hero is a tough break after those first two starts but I don't see why she couldn't run well. #1 KOOL KINDA IVORY was a horse I described as "begging for a clean trip" on May 29 and a clean trip he got, winning that Speed Index race with ease. He certainly has some talent, the biggest concern is whether he can stay calm in the gate from the one hole in a nine horse field. If he can he could get a piece of it.
Race 7: 6-3-8
#6 TETE DE JAUNE is one I was high on before his debut last year. I thought he had been working well but when he made the races he drew the rail, was fractious in the gate and broke a step slowly. He has since been bought by his new connections and has put in two good works in preparation for his three year old debut. #3 PASSUM LANE made his 2016 debut on May 22, finishing third behind Albertt and No Cerveza for You. That was probably the best group of maidens we have had this year, and he certainly put in a good effort, easily his best start to date. One of many with a shot in this group. #8 CHARTED TO WIN debuted in a trial for the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity, finishing fourth despite running erratically in the early yards behind Pickin Wild Cotton and Ice Fishn, neither of which are lacking in talent, the latter going on to win the Futurity final. He shows one breeze at Hazel on April 30 and could certainly have matured since last year.
Thank you and good luck to everyone joining us today!