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!