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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Ajax Downs Selections May 21

Back in action at Ajax Downs this week with an eight race card featuring the unofficial start of Stakes season. Today's card is highlighted by two trials for the AQHA Challenge Maiden and two trials for the Picov Maturity. Last week's feature, a $20,000 QROOI Overnight series race for mares was won by Cartels Fast Money, ridden by Tony Phillips for Bob Broadstock. We have several new U.S. imports this week as well as many well recognized veterans. Here are my selections.

Race 1: 1-3-4
Welcome to Ajax Downs! #1 PERFECT TO LOOK AT was competitive in each of his four starts last year, facing some solid horses, most notably Memory Of Jay. He catches a soft looking field for his 2017 debut. #3 NORSE BAY made a start on opening day where she was bumped at the start and finished fourth behind the ultra-impressive Ghost Pines. We'll see if she moves forward in her second outing. #4 GEORGIES MAY KITTY put in some okay runs last year, albeit not in any notable races. She had an easy breeze on May 3 prepping for this start. The Daily Double starts here.

Race 2: 4-3-6
#4 HOPE RAMBLES ON was a four time winner in nine tries last year. She missed the board only twice, and in both of those starts she was shut off at the start. One very notable race was her second behind Alakazaam in the Ontario Sires Stakes Derby trials. She worked well from the gate on May 8. #3 FIRST ELEMENT was a two time winner last year running in consistently good quality fields. His final start was better than it looks on paper, First Down the Track was much the best and this gelding was only a length behind the runner up at the wire. Although his form shows races primarily at 400 and 440 yards he has had success going 300 yards in the past. #6 TRES SEIS SMOOCHES had a rough trip in a very tough optional claimer last week and returns in this softer spot. She showed good form here last year and had success in Alberta in her younger years. She should be able to be competitive.

Race 3: 2-4-1
This is the first of two trials to the AQHA Challenge Maiden. #2 CORONAS CHROME was beaten a neck on debut at Remington. In his third start he was fourth in a Speedhorse Futurity trial behind a horse named Dreamers Liaison, who later won a trial to the Miss Roxie Little Futurity at Indiana and was fourth by half a length in that final. He has had two local gate works in preparation for these trials. #4 ONE DASHIN ROSE barely broke and was outrun in her final start at Will Rogers. She had decent form prior at Remington and Indiana, including a field-best 66 speed figure on September 13. She looks competitive, assuming she breaks with the field. #1 TWO KOOL TO WAVE was an impressive fourth after a bad break in his debut, then continued to run well despite not being able to get the win. I do expect him to win something this year, and if the US invaders prove to be overrated in this field he could be very dangerous. The early Pick 3 begins here.

Race 4: 1-2-4
This is the second of two trials to the AQHA Challenge Maiden, as well as the start of the $.20 Pick 4! #1 FEARLESSLEE debuted with a fourth place finish in the Ruidoso Futurity trials. The winner of that trial, Apolltical Chad, went on to win the Ruidoso Futurity before finishing fourth in the All American Futurity. That trial also contained Sam Houston Futurity winner Just Call Me Carter and eventual stakes-winner Whata Corona, who is five for 10 in his career. His most recent start was a close third for a claiming price at Los Alamitos. He is the class of the race. #2 MARYLAND MAGIC has scored four top-three finishes in seven starts so far in his career. So far in 2017 he has two thirds in three tries at Sunland and Remington, including a run in the slop which should be noted in case of poor weather conditions. He seems like an honest type. #4 FLIRT WITH THE BOYZ put in some good efforts against solid horses as a two year old. She raced on opening day, finishing a very good second behind Ghost Pines, a filly who looks to have a very bright future. Although she catches some tough looking invaders here, she has at least proven she can compete with the high-end locals.

Race 5: 5-8-7
#5 MISS DOCK HILL was beaten a nose in her final start of 2016, a maiden claimer at Will Rogers. She had a solid juvenile season which included a third in a Heritage Place Futurity trial and warrants consideration here. #8 FAST STREAKIN NICK didn't offer much in his first two starts but showed some run in his next two, which were both third place finishes, including a Futurity trial at the Fair Grounds. He wrapped his season up with a non-threatening run in the consolation for that Futurity. His speed figures are respectable. #7 NEX FAVORITE BULLY has shown nothing in any of his starts at his home base of Indiana Grand, but was very game in both of his starts here last year, losing by a head in each of them. I'm not sure he raced against anything too noteworthy in his two starts here, but he may have some sort of affinity for the local surface.

Race 6: 5-4-3
This is the first of two trials to the Picov Maturity. #5 FIESTY ICON did not look to be a serious factor in the top older horse division in his first starts last year, but quickly got back on track with wins in the trials and final of the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity. He then came back to open company for a third place finish in the All Canadian Classic, then a very narrow runner up finish in the Alex Picov Memorial Championship. If he is ready off the bench he is a player here. #4 ONE FAMOUS GLASS has been a winner in these trials two years in a row. It's obvious why one would pick him: he practically always runs well. He's a 14 time winner with nearly a quarter-million in the bank. He won the Alex Picov Memorial Championship last year and always runs well off of the layoff. #3 ONE KOOL WAVE made his return to the races with a light campaign of four starts last year, with two wins, a second and a third. He wrapped things up with a win in the QROOI Sprint series final, and was beaten a neck by his powerful stablemate First Down the Track in a previous QROOI Sprint Series race. He is a very capable veteran. The late Pick 3 starts here.

Race 7: 1-3-7
This is the second of two trials to the Picov Maturity, as well as the start of the Late Double. #1 COUNTRY BOY 123 tasted defeat only once in seven local starts last year, scoring two Derby wins along the way. They took their berth to the Adequan Derby Challenge Championship at Los Al and finished a very credible fourth in the $200,000 final behind Jess Good Reason, who went on to win the G1 Charger Bar Handicap and Toughie, a three time Stakes winner in Alberta who qualified to the Ed Burke Million Futurity as a juvenile. With a clean break, it's tough to anticipate a poor run from this gelding. #3 ALAKAZAAM is hardly a slouch either. He scored six wins in eight starts last year, one of the losses being the start where he dropped his rider at the start. He did outrun Country Boy 123 once last year and finished narrowly behind him in the Derby Challenge despite not breaking perfectly. He's a perfectly capable horse. #7 RUNAWAY CAUSE is not a model of consistency but does throw in some very good runs on occasion. In her 2016 debut she was second behind One Kool Wave. She also ran credibly behind Alakazaam and Fast Man Vic last year. She has a lot of run in her, it's just a case of whether or not she'll show it.

Race 8: 4-3-7
#4 A GAME DASHER won a maiden race at Fair Grounds as a two year old. In her Ajax debut she was a good third behind Sign It Down and Im Aquicktrick in a QROOI Overnight series race, but she then dropped to a NW2 and failed to threaten. She was given the rest of the season off and may be ready to fire off the bench. #3 COLD HARD DASH won in late 2015 as a two year old at Evangeline. He raced only three times last year, finishing second in a maiden race at Delta over a muddy track in June to highlight things. Some of his earlier races indicate that he is not the best leaving the gate but he has put in two good workout times from the gate this spring. #7 ZOXTOBEYOU had a prep at Remington in early April, then was beaten a nose by US invader Miromar on opening day. He finished second behind Home to Vegas and Rpainted Pistol as a two year old and hopes to carry that class over as a three year old.

Good luck and thank you to everyone joining us today!

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