Sunday, 19 June 2016

Ajax Downs Selections June 19

Ontario Sires Stakes Derby trials highlight today's eight race card at Ajax Downs. Alakazaam, who has won both of his starts this year, could end up being the star today (although I am trying to beat him.) First post is 12:55 ET, here are my selections.

Race 1: 4-3-5
Welcome to Ajax Downs! We kick off the card with our first two year old race of the year! #3 LUMMIS FIRST is a cold by the legendary First Down Dash, a six time Grade 1 winner who lost only twice in his 15 race career, who finished racing with a win in the 1987 Champion of Champions. The dam, Lummis, was a modest runner who raced 10 times, her only win coming in an All American Futurity trial. His two most recent works have been solid moves. #3 HOME TO VEGAS has been working well preparing for his debut. His pedigree is not as flashy as my top choice's but it is still very respectable. The sire, Down Home Cash was a local star in the early 90's and although his dam, Cash Into Vegas was not a star by any means, her sire, Gold Medal Jess, is a Grade 1 winner who won quite a few Stakes in California. #5 FREY KOOL is the only runner here who has had a start, racing against Indiana-breds at Indiana Grand on June 7. She drew the rail, took a slight bump and showed little. The fact that she has experience could give her an edge and getting off of the rail is good for a juvenile in my opinion. This race offers Daily Double wagering.

Race 2: 5-6-4
This race begins the early Pick 3. #5 DOWN ON CASH made her 2016 debut two weeks ago but showed little. She's far from incapable, however, hitting the board in six of eight tries last year with two wins. She could easily be more live in her second start off of the layoff. #6 FAVORITE LEADER is lightly race but has done fairly well, compiling a record of 7-2-2-1 so far. She makes her first start of the season here, and was a winner in her first try off of the layoff last year as well. If she gets out well I have to think she will put in a game effort. #4 DM AURORA has been doing very well this year, scoring a dead-heat win and a very narrow second place finish. Last year her biggest problem was that she was breaking slow, but it seems like she has figured it all out now. Hopefully she continues to break clean, because she is a mare with plenty of speed.

Race 3: 6-4-2
#6 THATSALOTOFSUGAR won first time off the layoff last year, knocked on the door in a few other starts and was just plain outclassed in most of the races that look bad. She draws outside and shows she can run well fresh so 10-1 seems fair to me. #4 FAST AND RARE LOVE makes his first start since July 2014. He qualified to the 2013 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity, so he has some back class. Although his work on May 18 was slow it was very easy, very little was asked of him. We'll see if he is ready to go off of the long break. #2 CATES PURDY BUFFALO was in a tough Speed Index race two back, finishing third behind Kool Kinda Ivory and Dm Paid In Cash. He returned last week in a NW2 and once again caught a fairly tough group, Seis Zoom is lightly raced and has done nothing wrong and Do U Zoom was the runner up in last year's Alex Picov Memorial Futurity and was making his first start after spending the winter at Hialeah. This looks like an easier group than he's been catching.

Race 4: 6-5-4
This is the first of three trials to the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby, as well as the start of the $.20 Pick 4! #6 SPEEDOCRACY qualified to both the Ontario Sires Stakes and Alex Picov Memorial Futurities last year, finishing third in both of them. However, he was plagued with trouble in both finals, it's not unreasonable to say he could have won both of them under different circumstances. I chose him in a QROOI Overnight Series race on May 29 as a possible upsetter to the very tough Alakazaam, but he got fractious in the gate and failed to fire. I'm hoping he can stay settled today because it's tough for me to think the talent he had last year is just gone. #5 PICKIN WILD COTTON is a gelding I was very high on last year. He won his debut with ease, then finished a troubled fourth in the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity. He made his 2016 debut in a $10,000 claimer and won with a late surge, just getting up by a head. The water gets deeper here but he showed last year that he can make his presence felt in these trial races. #4 STREAKIN JET SPEED debuted in a $7,500 maiden claimer at Remington on May 30, lunging at the start and showing nothing. I don't love her but as a potential price who could maybe improve with experience I will give her a chance to round things out.

Race 5: 8-9-1
This is the second of three trials to the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. #8 ICE FISHN doesn't look easy to beat here. She finished second behind Pickin Wild Cotton on debut before coming back to win the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity. She made her seasonal debut on May 29 with a very game runner up finish behind her ultra-tough stablemate Alakazaam. If she gets out well it's going to be tough to run her down. #9 TETE DE JAUNE is one I saw potential in before his debut last year. He got a poor trip in what has proven to be a good group in his only start last year. Last week he made his return after putting in a bullet work, but got bumped at the start. He finished up well enough despite the poor luck at the start. It will take a lot of improvement to beat Ice Fishn but this is a horse with some upside. #1 HAL BENT won his first start and came back with a close second behind Speedocracy in an Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity trial, but has since been very unlucky. He got back on track a bit last time out, finishing fourth behind Alakazaam and Ice Fishn in the QROOI overnight series race despite a stumble at the start. Ice Fishn aside this is not the toughest group in the world so he has every right to get a piece of it.

Race 6: 2-7-1
This is the third and final trial to the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. #2 ALBERTT is on a roll right now, scoring an easy maiden win over well-meant first timer No Cerveza for You and then coming back with an easy score in a Speed Index race. He's got ability, and now we get to see if he's ready to take another step forward. #7 ALAKAZAAM romped in a NW2 to kick off the season then followed that up with a driving win over Ice Fishn in a QROOI overnight series race. He's a really nice horse, and he looks like the best horse in all three of the trials. I've been trying to beat him and I'm not going to stop yet, but he is the most likely winner of this race. #1 HOPE RAMBLES ON exits an easy maiden win. She qualified to last year's Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity where she finished sixth (placed fifth) despite plenty of trouble. I would understand anyone who used her instead of Albertt to try and beat Alakazaam, she definitely has some talent. The late Pick 3 kicks off here.

Race 7: 3-2-6
Late Double wagering is offered here. #3 FLEET SELECT was a clear second best behind a class-dropping Grasshopper Flats last time out. All of his races for a claiming price have been very good efforts and his speed figures are very solid for this group. #2 SNOW STORMING faced some tough company in her two starts last year, Alakazaam, Ice Fishn, Country Boy 123 aren't easy foes. She kicked off the year in a tough race going 110 yards and raced okay, then came back to face maidens. She lugged in towards the rail and was kind of even throughout but steadied very late. I don't think she's too bad of a filly and this isn't a tough group, she just needs to break a bit sharper than she has been. #6 BOLD MOON ARISING had shown nothing in previous starts but raced an okay fourth in the Grasshopper Flats race that Fleet Select finished second in. Maybe he's finally put together what racing is about and will continue to improve, who knows.

Race 8: 6-1A-3
#6 MEMORY OF JAY is probably the best non-two year old maiden we have here right now. He won a trial to the AQHA Challenge Maiden but was disqualified for interference and then finished second in the final behind a very game Country Boy 123. He was a near second behind Panther Hero in an Alex Picov Memorial Futurity trial before finishing fourth in the final. If he can get out well he should be tough; his biggest competition is a horse he's already beaten. #1 VALIANT STOLI TIME had a few good races in Texas last year. He finished second behind Country Boy 123 in the AQHA Challenge Maiden trials before finishing a respectable fourth in the final. Memory of Jay does look tough to beat but it certainly isn't impossible for this horse to turn the tables on him and get the win. #3 SENATOR LOGAN was disappointing in his Ajax debut on May 22. He's gotten a month off now and could improve in his second start over the surface. He did run an okay third in a maiden claimer at Lone Star last year. At 15-1 he shouldn't be totally discounted.
Good luck and thank you to everyone playing today!

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