First I will start off with a TBT (Throw-Back Thursday) photo…this image was provided to me by an awesome couple who want us to guess who the jockey is on NATIVE TIGER at Picov Downs – August 17, 1974.

Native Tiger was a son of Northern Native (Nearctic).  In addition to the jockey (who is part of the Thoroughbred community now, there are some recognizable QH people in the photo too!  Leave a comment below if you know who it is! (You need a Facebook account to comment)
























Two-time Ajax Downs HORSE OF THE YEAR COUNTRY BOY 123 returns to racing this Sunday in one of two trials for the upcoming, $50,000-added PICOV MATURITY to be run  June 3.

Ruth Barbour’s giant dark bay, now 5-years-old, will break from post 5 in the second trial, carded as race 4 on the 8-race schedule. Cory Spataro, his regular rider, will be on board the son of Country Chicks Man.

Country Boy 123 won 5 of 7 races last season and $99,017 (US) including the Alex Picov Memorial Championship, All Canadian Stakes and Picov Maturity. He is a career winner of 11 of 19 starts and over $181,000. His rivals in his trial are last year’s multiple stakes winner LS PRINCE, now a 4-year-old, a previous Horse of the Year in Fiesty Icon, the improving Hickerson and Albertt plus Iconic Shift.

In the first trial, race 3 on the card, 2013 Horse of the Year ONE FAMOUS GLASS, who upset Country Boy 123 last year in the Bank of America Challenge, meets four rivals in his season debut including stakes winner ALAKAZAAM, Countrys Comin Bac, Zoxtobeyou and Ms First Prize Pearl.

Post time on Sunday for the first race is 12:55 p.m. The forecast for Ajax Sunday is a perfect 19 degrees and party sunny.


DAY 2 AJAX DOWNS 2018 MEETING (49th year)


Another huge crowd at Ajax Downs for Quarter Horse racing. May 13 was the second day of the 2018 season. Photo courtesy of Rachael Matheson (borrowed from Twitter)

GHOST PINES (inside) edges FISHIN FOR A CORONA in the May 13 feature, the QROOI Overnight series race worth $25,000 – NEW IMAGE MEDIA photo







Mother’s Day at Ajax Downs was a beautiful, sunny day and the crowd was even bigger than that from opening day. Wagering was up 7%  from the corresponding card in 2017 and fans were treated to a superb feature race for some brilliantly quick fillies and mares.

GHOST PINES, owned and bred by Gary McNichol, darted out of the rail position under Neil Husbands and battled Fishin for a Corona all the way to win the  250 yard QROOI Overnight Series race worth $25,000. Making her first start since a successful 3-year-old campaign which saw her win the Ontario Sires Derby, Ghost Pines was well prepared by trainer Michelle Woodley and sped the distance in :13.210, good for a career best 102 Speed Index. The track record for the distance is :13.010 set by Rockish.

It was the fourth win in seven races for Ghost Pines, a daughter of McNichol’s own stallion Fire Finder from the mare Quick Six Lady by Tres Seis.





More from Sunday May 13:

Jockey CHELSEY WILLICK picked up the first two wins of her season by guiding PERFECT TO LOOK AT to victory in race 2, a speed index race for older horses. The chestnut gelding, a 5-year-old owned by Christine Tavares and trained by Joe Tavares, did not have a sharp start from the gate but burst between rivals to win the 250 yard race in :13.550 for an 88 Speed Index. That was the fourth win in 13 races for the son of Junos Back.

Willick and the  Tavares family combined again later with ILLBEGONEFLYING, a  bay 6-year-old mare who upset heavily favoured Home to Vegas in the allowance/optional claiming event at 220 yards. The winner, who raced just twice in 2017, won by half a lengthin :12.130 for a 91 speed index. It was her fourth win in 23 races.

CARNEROS, recently gelded, won race 1, an allowance race for 3-year-olds and upward, with a blazing show of speed under jockey Eddie Walton. The Milena Kwiecin owned, Jason Pascoe trained sophomore was coming off a 6th place finish in a race at Renington Park. Last year the son of Prospect to the Top won one of nine races and was 2nd in the Juvenile Challenge.

Carneros is one to watch for the Picov Derby this year. He earned a 101 speed index for a time of :13.240.

Race 3, a maiden race worth $12,500, was won by SMOAKN GUN, owned by Stephanie Keeble and trained by Greg Watson. Making his first strat as a 3-year-old, the Iced N Oak gelding was ridden by Cory Spataro who got the bay out of the gate quickly to win the 250 yard race in :13.440 for a 92 speed index.

Race 4 was won by JIMMY BOYZ CARTEL who put his sometimes-gate antics aside and darted to the lead and won the 220 yard dash in his season debut under Brian Bell.

The grey gelding was bred by Rachel Cruwys and is owned by James Bogar and trained by Barry Wood. It was the second winner of the meeting for the owner and trainer combo in 2018. Jimmy was winning for the third time in his 13th race and his 86 speed index for :12.240 was the best of his career.

Photo below – jockey NEIL HUSBANDS after winning the May 13 feature on Ghost Pines with partner Cassandra McMillan and their 2-day old daughter Amiah Rose.