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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!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Ajax Downs Selections July 3

Although I'm hard at work (lol) at Woodbine today for the Queen's Plate, there is still a card of Quarter Horse racing at Ajax Downs which means I'll be paying attention to that. Today's card is highlighted by the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby, where Alakazaam will try to extend his winning streak to five, while trying to earn his first Stakes win. It should be a terrific card. Here are my selections.

Race 1: 3-5-2
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #3 DM PAID IN CASH exits a second place finish behind Kool Kinda Ivory, who came back to finish third behind 2015 AQHA Canadian Champion Panther Hero by 3/4 of a length. Although her three for 33 career record wouldn't suggest it I think she's a pretty nice mare who is long overdue for a win. #5 YAWL KEEP TEXTING has finished third in all three of her starts this year. In her most recent two races she has caught Alakazaam, the favourite in today's Ontario Sires Stakes Derby, who is on an absolute roll. This isn't the easiest Speed Index group to catch but she shouldn't find herself unable to compete either. #2 RECKLESS AN WILD was a narrow winner in his first start of the year, a conditioned allowance event for Ontario Sired runners, but came up a bit even last time out. This two-time Stakes winner may not be as sharp as he once was but he's still capable at this level and can't be disregarded. Daily Double wagering is offered here.

Race 2: 3-6-4
The early Pick 3 begins here. #3 MEMORY OF JAY is the class of this field by leaps and bounds. He was beaten a neck by Panther Hero before qualifying to the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity where he was fourth by a length. So far this year he has crossed the wire first in two of his three tries with a second in the AQHA Challenge Maiden behind Country Boy 123. In terms of speed figures he looks like much the fastest horse here. #6 DM KING CITY was an easy winner over some solid rivals on May 8 in a race where he was one of the few horses to break cleanly, came back a bit evenly and then returned with a decent third place effort on June 5. Although Memory of Jay looks tough, the rest of this field does not look super threatening. #4 FAST AND RARE LOVE made his first start in nearly two years two weeks back with an okay third place finish for $7,000 claiming. He was a qualifier to the 2013 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity so there is some back class and he can improve in his second start off of the layoff.

Race 3: 7-1-2
#7 KOOL KINDA IVORY won a Speed Index race with authority on May 29, then returned to finish third behind Panther Hero and Itoldyouilikeroses on June 12 when breaking from the rail post. He should have qualified to last year's Alex Picov Memorial Futurity but had a poor trip in his trial which hindered his time. If he gets out well I expect him to be tough to run down. #1 DM AURORA is a consistent strong finisher who's been in great form this year. She won in a dead heat on on May 8 and has finished second by narrow margins in her two most recent starts. I think 350 yards is a good distance for her. #2 SHARPE DRESSED MAN was fourth, a 1/2 length beaten by Reckless an Wild on May 29 before finishing third, a head behind Dm Aurora who finished second on June 5. He's hit the board in half of his 10 career starts.

Race 4: 2-3-6
This race begins the $.20 Pick 4! #2 DONTELLMEMYBUSINESS was a decent fourth on May 15, then came back to finish fourth again in the Panther Hero-Itoldyouilikeroses-Kool Kinda Ivory race, showing good speed in that race. He has done well dropping into the Speed Index ranks before. #3 DEAL A FORTUNE had a very nice 2015 campaign, winning a pair of allowance races, finishing third behind Seize the Win in the Adequan Ajax Derby Challenge, qualifying to the Picov Derby after finishing second behind Embrace Extravagence in the trials, and being beaten a neck by First Down the Track in a 110 yard dash. First time out this year, in another 110 yard race, he stumbled badly at the start. He came back in a Picov Maturity trial, was fractious in the gate, took a minor bump early but was very even throughout. His best race is much better than what he showed last time out, we just have to wait and see if he shows up today. #6 CHANNELISLANDSFLYER was even in his first two starts of the season but found some kick to finish second behind the always tough Caraway Blue on June 12. He doesn't win too often but he likes to be close and picks up plenty of cheques. The drop in class helps his chances as well.

Race 5: 8-6-3
#8 FAST BUCK had a couple of respectable races down south as a two year old. In his Ajax debut he finished third behind Memory of Jay before being placed second as Memory of Jay was disqualified. In the AQHA Challenge Maiden, he broke inwards, exchanged a few early bumps and showed a bit of late kick to be fifth. Hopefully he will get a clean trip this time out. #6 BUBBLES CARTEL GAL qualified to the Sunshine State Derby for accredited Florida-breds at Hialeah Park over the winter. Although the top two finishers, Ahs Uncle Si and Shes A Tourist are solid horses, the rest of the field was pretty average for a Stakes race, and she finished sixth, close for fourth. In her first start here at Ajax she was third, 3/4 of a length behind Country Boy 123, but she had a perfectly clear path and the two foes in front of her both bumped at the start. In the Challenge Maiden final, again, she had a perfectly clean trip but she just never fired. Maybe the extra bit of distance will help her. #3 PYC TRICKIE LADY was a very narrow second in her first start here at Ajax. She put in a very flat effort in the Challenge Maiden trials but managed to qualify in spite of the poor run. She exchanged bumps with Fast Buck and never fired in the final. If she can run back to the start on May 8 she could end up surprising here. Late Pick 3 wagering begins here.

Race 6: 1-4-5
The Late Double is offered here. #1 CHARTED TO WIN had one start last year, racing erratically to be fourth behind Pickin Wild Cotton and Ice Fishn. He made his first start of 2016 a winning one on June 12, then returned with a non threatening fifth in an Ontario Sires Stakes Derby trial. He drops into the Speed Index ranks where he should be competitive, and he could offer a good price. #4 DREAMS ARISING finished sixth two back, but was less than a length off of the winner, Pickin Wild Cotton. She came back to win by a neck for $10,000 claiming. She isn't particularly consistent but her good races are competitive with this group. #5 EVERYTHINGPERRYSWEET kicked off the year with a third place finish in a fairly weak Speed Index race, came back to be fourth, 3/4 of a length behind Dreams Airising, then was a non-threatening fourth in a five horse field behind Jess Kiss My Dash last week. She doesn't look too bad considering the 10-1 morning line.

Race 7: 8-7-10
Today's feature is the $73,950 Ontario Sires Stakes Derby! #8 SPEEDOCRACY finished third in both of the 2015 Futurities with troubled trips, and may have been able to win both of them if he had gotten clean runs. In his first start of 2016 he was fractious in the gate and just ran evenly, but he kept it together for his trial and won easily. A win like that may have been a confidence booster for him; his only other win was by a neck and he had trouble in almost every other start. #7 ALAKAZAAM is a perfect three for three this year. He just managed to outnod Hope Rambles On in the trials, and in the start before that just edged out Ice Fishn late. He's as game as they come right now, and another win here shouldn't surprise anyone. #10 ICE FISHN won last year's Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity. She was a close second behind Alakazaam in her first start of 2016. In her trial she was bumped at the start and had to make up some late ground but didn't have too much of a problem doing so. She's yet to finish worse than second and she certainly looks competitive here.
 
Thank you and good luck to everyone joining us today!

Friday, 1 July 2016

Ajax Downs Canada Day Selections

Happy Canada Day! We have a special card of racing at Ajax Downs for the holiday. It's a very strong six race card that includes two Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity trials, a QROOI Sprint Series Gridiron Gallop and a QROOI Distance Series featuring most of the top older horses in Ontario. It's sure to be a terrific day, be sure to join us!

Race 1: 10-2-3
Happy Canada Day and welcome to Ajax Downs! #10 WINNERS REX kicked off the season with a fourth place finish behind Albertt and No Cerveza For You, starting from the inside post and having some interference at the break. He raced evenly in his next start but came back with another solid fourth place finish in a race won easily by Memory of Jay. Although he was 1 3/4 lengths behind Memory of Jay, he was beaten only a 1/4 of a length for second. He draws on the outside part of the track for the first time today. #2 LIME KILN LANE debuted on June 5 with a fourth place finish behind U.S. invader Platinnum, who finished second in a tough group of non-winners of two on Sunday. He drops from open company into Ontario-breds and can improve as he gains experience. #3 TETE DE JAUNE was a bit slow away but had some late run in his start on June 12, then came back a week later to finish sixth in the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby trial won by Ice Fishn, winner of last year's Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity. I've thought this horse has had talent since his early two year old breezes and I'm still not convinced that I'm wrong. We'll see if he shows anything today. The Daily Double is offered here.

Race 2: 6-1-5
This race is the first of two trials for the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity. It also begins the early Pick 3. #6 EMBRACE EXTRAVAGENCE was surprisingly even when finishing fifth in the Picov Maturity trials on May 22. Regardless, I'm still on the bandwagon. I was very impressed with each of her wins last year, that field in the Picov Derby was a very respectable one. She can improve second off the layoff, hopefully she does. #1 JESSKISSMYTEXAS is pretty tough to argue against, he has a terrific record and consistently runs fast races. He wrapped up last year with a very good third place finish in the Alex Picov Memorial Championship behind Jettastic and Mesa Marvel, both multiple Stakes winning American horses. He's usually very tough to beat when facing Ontario Sired company. #5 IM AQUICKTRICK qualified to the Picov Derby last year where she finished fifth behind Embrace Extravagence, then later finished a very good second behind Fiesty Icon in the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. Her first start this year, a second in the QROOI Overnight Series Mares Open was a very solid race, and she now gets back to facing Ontario Sired company. She could go overlooked here.

Race 3: 7-4-1
This is the second of two trials for the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity, as well as the start of the $.20 Pick 4! #7 FIESTY ICON, last year's QROOI Horse of the Year, finished fourth in the tougher of the two Picov Maturity trials before finishing a mid-pack sixth along the rail in the final. His 2015 season was quite impressive, finishing second in the Picov Derby before winning the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby. A win today will push his earnings over the $100,000 mark. #4 PEGASOS ONE UNDERPAR finished just behind Fiest Icon in the Picov Maturity trials but turned the tables in the final, finishing fifth, 3/4 of a length better than that foe. He's got a solid record, it's tough to fault 11 wins in 34 starts, and he also has the highest class rating of the field. #1 EYESA SPEEDY SIMON was the 2014 Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity winner. Although he's only two for 16 in his career, he's had quite a few interesting races. Most notably, in last year's Adequan Ajax Derby Challenge, he finished a very close second behind Seize the Win. That race really impressed me, as I expected Seize the Win to win by at least two lengths on that day. He's got some class and he runs more good races than bad.

Race 4: 1A-7-5
This race is part of the QROOI Sprint Series, a 110 yard Gridiron Gallop! #1A ONE KOOL WAVE is a monster, to put it simply. He has won 20 of his 32 career starts, earned over $337,000 and holds three track records, including at 110 yards. He cruised to an easy win on May 8 in his first start since the end of the 2014 season, and he should be more than ready for this. #7 CARTELS FAST MONEY is a personal favourite of mine. I was really impressed with the way she left the gates early last year and got very excited when she was initially entered to go 110 yards. She proved me right, finishing a close second behind Caraway Blue then coming back to win over Eyesa Zoomn in her two tries at the distance. She has not been too good so far this year but eventually she'll manage to turn her form around and get out of the gate quickly again. #5 CARAWAY BLUE was a winner going 110 yards last year as I previously mentioned. He's got a terrific career record, and he's scored two impressive wins in as many starts this year, both in the starter allowance ranks. He should never be totally discounted. Late Pick 3 wagering starts here.

Race 5: 6-1-2
This race offers Late Double wagering. #6 A PHENOMENAL CHICK had a solid winter season at Hialeah, knocking on the door in her first three tries before finishing sixth in a very tough bunch (Ratifys Egyptianking was a killer down there who went out to Sunland Park and scored another win.) Since returning to Ajax she has raced in two 110 yard races, finishing fifth in both of them, each time catching some tough horses. This field is also tough, but I'm thinking returning to a conventional distance may help her, and she looks like she will be a bit of a longshot. #1 R ZOOMING LADY scored back to back wins last year, but most impressed me with her final start of the season on August 23. She was entered in a tough class that day and I did not have any expectations of her, but despite being fractious in the gate she closed to finish fourth behind First Down the Track, The Fdd Map and Sign It Down, all top notch horses. She had a bullet gate workout back on May 25. I think she's a pretty nice mare. #2 COUNTRY BOY 123 exits an authoritative win in the AQHA Challenge Maiden, where he took a good bump at the start but still drew clear. His two wins this year have been quite visually impressive and he's beat some respectable horses, but I think the water here is a bit deeper than last time out. A serious threat nonetheless.

Race 6: 1-8-4
This race is part of the QROOI Distance Series, a 350 yard open. #1 FAST MAN VIC had a terrific Hialeah winter meet, just missed while closing in the Picov Maturity trials and finished fourth in the final, closing late again. I've noticed in both of his local starts that he seems to lug in a bit early, costing him some early momentum. If he can get out straight, that should make him dangerous. The extra 50 yards he gets to work with today should also help. I also have to mention his entry-mate and older half-brother, #1A Fearles Fred. He has won 16 races, 10 of which were Stakes races, four of which were Graded. He has not raced since finishing second behind Speed Smith at Hazel Park in October 2014. He breezed well from the gate on May 18. We'll see if he's ready off of the layoff. #8 FIRST DOWN THE TRACK was nosed out of the trial win but raced strongly to win the Picov Maturity on June 5. She is as consistent and as classy as they come, 23 top two finishes in 34 starts and $235,000 in the bank. She knows how to win and is already on a roll this season. Tough to argue that she couldn't repeat. #4 ONE FAMOUS GLASS is another horse you'd be hard pressed to find something bad to say about. He wrapped up last year with a sixth place finish in the Alex Picov Memorial Championship but was beaten less than a length for everything. He scored a win in the trials before finishing second in the Picov Maturity behind First Down the Track, but good horses like this have a way of turning the tables and finding their ways back into the winner's circle. He will always give you a respectable effort, if nothing else.
 
Thank you and good luck to everyone joining us today! Enjoy the holiday!