**Coming up this Sunday June 10 at Ajax Downs – the final of the BONUS CHALLENGE MAIDEN with a competitive field including exciting fillies PAINT ME SOUTHERN and HIGH RATE OF RUN.

  • June 17 is a special Father’s Day card and June 24 is the first round of the popular HANDICAPPING CONTEST!



$56,000 Picov Maturity lives up to expectations

If the first major stakes race of the 2018 Ajax Downs season is any indication, it is going to be a humdinger of a year for racing fans and horsepeople who love Quarter Horse racing.

The 7th running of the Picov Maturity brought together 9 of the top older horses in the province including champions ONE FAMOUS GLASS, FIESTY ICON and reigning champ COUNTRY BOY 123, the Horse of the Year of 2017 and 2016.

Country Boy 123, Ruth Barbour’s chocolate-coloured 5-year-old, had won his trial by catching up to a sharp Fiesty Icon for a 2013 Speed Index. Meanwhile, Ralph Pearson’s COUNTRYS COMIN BAC, has been on the improve in the last year, and he won his trial over Alakazaam and One Famous Glass.

The 300-yard final was drama-filled from the start when Country Boy 123 broke a step slow from his post 5 and then bumped into Ms First prize Pearl. Fiesty Icon and Countrys Comin Bac darted to the lead while Cory Spataro on Country Boy 123 urged his big guy and in a blink he was battling for the lead.

As Spataro and Country Boy joined the leaders, Spataro lost his whip and went to hands-and-heels urging as the stretch runners, One Famous Glass and LS Prince were roaring up on the outside.

At the wire, Country Boy had won by a neck over One Famous Glass who nosed out LS Prince. Only about 1 length separated the first 6 finishers. The time for the 300 yards was :15.28 for a 105 Speed Index.

It was the 13th win, and second Picov Maturity score, in 21 races for the Michigan bred son of Country Chicks Mann – Very Dashin 123 by Dash Thru Traffic and his 10th win in his last 11 races at Ajax Downs.

Purchased for $7,200 at the Heritage Place yearling sale four years ago, Country Boy 123 has earned just over $201,000.

“It was nerve-wracking up until the last 100 yards or so,” said Spataro. “I dropped my whip halfway down the track and I was kind of scrambling a bit but he’s such a nice horse, such a competitor.”

Barbour, who has a veterinary practice in Hillsburgh and also races and breeds Thoroughbreds with husband Doug Jackson and sister Gail Wood of Woodlands Farm, was in awe of her big gelding.

“Today he had a little bit of adversity against a really great field of horses,” said Barbour. “He took that adversity and was still so competitive. He’s such a cool horse who tries so hard.”

The next possible start for Country Boy 123, at Ajax Downs, would be the July 22 All Canadian Classic, a race he won last year.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Cruwys/chartcaller Ajax Downs


Day 5 of the Ajax Downs meeting had a little bit of everything throughout its 8-race card including plenty of visitors from other tracks.

The day began with the classy mare HOPE RAMBLES ON winning a speed index race, race 1, for Richard Wincikaby and DK Training Centre and trainer Don Reid. Brian Bell rode the 5-year-old chestnut mare by Ramblin On Down – Bottoms Up Corona by Corona Cartel who was bred by DK Training Centre.

It was the 6th win in 22 races for Hope Rambles On who ran 330 yards in :17.18 for  an 86 speed index.

Race 2 was an intriguing maiden allowance race worth $14,400 with two shippers from the recently closed Hazel Park meeting some promising locals.

One of the locals, Milena Kwiecien’s FAVORITE PEARL, a big, grey filly by Favorite Cartel – Super Perla Negra by Super Duper Cooper, was an Oklahoma sales purchase last fall and had raced twice at Remington Park this year for Kwiecien and trainer Jason Pascoe.

Ridden by the visiting Nakia Ramirez, Favorite Pearl collared second-time starter Its Sweet Tobe First, who opened up a large, two-lengths lead, to win by a short nose in an impressive run.

It was the first trip to Canada for Ramirez, who is from Idaho and has ridden at many tracks in the US. Favorite Pearl sped 300 yards in 15.87 for an 85 Speed Index.

race 3 – An optinal claioming race at 300 yards was a virtual re-match bewteen Chrstine Tavares’ mare ILLBEGONEFLYING and the 2016 Champion 2-year-old male Home to Vegas. The former defeated ‘Homer’ when they met on May 13 and the results were the same Sunday as the Joe tavares-trained Illbegoneflying scampred away and would not let Home to Vegas past.

Illbegoneflying, a homebred by Fastazyoufly – Illbegoneinajazz by Jazzing Hi, raced just twice in 2017 with two 3rd place finishes but is now 2 for 2 in 2018. Chelsey Willick rode the winner who posted a time of :15.63 for the distance, a 93 speed index.

Race 4- A speed index race for older horses went to KONA CORONA, who is also 2 for 2 in 2018 following this off-the-pace score for Full Circle Racing and trainer Greg Watson. This homebred 4yo by Wave Carver – Belles a Lady by Corona Cartel, who just won a non-winners of 3 lifetime, held off the incomparable Channelislandsflyer and Reckless and Wild to win in :15.61 for 300 yards, good for a 94 speed index.

The second and third place finishers are both owned by James Bogar and trained by Barry Wood.

Kona Corona is now 4 for 11 in his career.

GLENDA TRAVIS always has incredible images from Ajax Downs. So I stole one – KONA CORONA before his win with Cory Spataro up and Stephanie Keeble accompanying her family’s big grey. Glenda Travis photo




race 5 – HARDTOSTOPATRAIN would not be stopped in this maiden allowance as he broke well from the rail post at 300 yards and fended off favoured Famous Mischief to win for owner and breeder Steve Hunter. The big bay gelding is by Freighttrain B – A leading memory by Special leader and he was ridden by Ed Walton.

Hardtostopatrain was declared a non-starter in his 2018 opener when his gate did not open on time. There was no such issue in this race and he sped the 300 yards in :15.83 for an 86 speed index. Janet Grice trains.

HARDTOSTOPATRAIN…yes indeed. He won his maiden impressively for owner and breeder Steve Hunter who admires the big day. Janet Grice trains and Zac Kennedy lends a hand.

race 6 was an allowance race for Ontario sired 3-year-olds and upward, non-winners of 2 and ‘George’, also know as Firing Red Jess, was up to win for owner George Coleman. This sorrel gelding, trained by Scott Reid and ridden by Cassandra Jeschke, had a troubled beginning to his 2018 opener but had a smoother trip on Sunday. The Mr Jess Tex gelding is a half brother to stakes placed Hickerson. Guylaine Paquin bred Firing Red Jess.

The time of :15.68 was good for a strong 91 speed index.



Race 8, the final event of the day, went to CARNEROS, yet another runner this year who is now 2 for 2 at the meeting. This handsome brown gelding, who ran a 101 speed index in an allowance race win on May 13, was just as impressive in this non-winners of 3, winning in 16.79 for 330 yards, a 97 speed index. An on-rushing Coronas Chrome was a smart 2nd in his season debut for trainer Don Reid.

Carneros, stakes placed last year as a 2-year-old is trained by Jason Pascoe for owner Milena Kwiecien and he is a son of Prospect to the Top – Cakebread and Thou by Valiant Hero.





Mnts  1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

1 Cory Spataro 28 10 3 5 $70,414
2 Brian Bell 29 7 6 4 $54,620
6 Ed Walton 24 6 1 3 $36,644
3 Chelsey Willick 35 5 8 4 $54,389
5 Cassandra Jeschke 25 4 3 4 $37,704
4 Ramiro Sanchez Castillo 31 2 7 5 $38,503
9 Neil S. Husbands 6 1 0 0 $10,452
10 Nakia Ramirez 3 1 0 1 $4,935



  Starts   1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

1 Joe Tavares       37 — 6 7 4 $55,630 –
2 Jason Pascoe     19 — 6 1 4 $30,579
4 Greg Watson      17 — 4 2 1 $28,844
6 Scott Reid           15 — 4 1 2 $27,575
5 Don Reid            15 — 3 2 3 $28,118


Owners by Purse earnings

1 Christine Tavares         27 6 4 3 $43,279 22% 13 48%
2 Milena Kwiecien          17 5 1 4 $27,320 29% 10 59%
3 Big Dog Racing Stable 11 2 5 2 $20,940 18% 9 82%
4 James Bogar                13 2 2 5 $19,972 15% 9 69%
5 Wincikaby,R, DK Training Centre 13 2 2 2 $19,627 15% 6 46%
6 Ruth F. Barbour          2 2 0 0 $19,311 100% 2 100%
7 Heste Sport, Inc         25 0 3 4 $18,715 0% 7 28%
8 Picov Cattle Co.          16 0 3 1 $15,148 0% 4 25%
9 Gary McNichol           2 2 0 0 $13,986 100% 2 100%
10 Marie Broadstock    11 1 3 2 $13,780


Horses by wins

1 Country Boy 123              2 2 0 0 $19,311 100% 2 100% 89
2 Kona Corona                    2 2 0 0 $11,129 100% 2 100% 73
6 Illbegoneflying                2 2 0 0 $8,287 100% 2 100% 75
9 Carneros                           2 2 0 0 $7,324 100% 2 100% 70
14 High Rate of Run          2 2 0 0 $5,350 100% 2 100% 54
14 Paint Me Southern       2 2 0 0 $5,350 100%



Quarter Racers Back Rod Phillips, Support PC Party Announcement on Slots at Racetracks Program

Ajax — Quarter horsemen are celebrating the Ontario PC Party’s commitment to restore the slots at racetracks program, if elected, in Thursday’s election. With more than 1,700 jobs on the line, when the quarter racing industry loses their only racetrack, the PC party plan creates another opportunity to save Ajax Downs.

“Whether through restoring the slots at racetracks program or protecting the Ajax Downs Casino, while allowing Durham Live to proceed, our industry is grateful for the hard work and willingness to find solutions that Rod Phillips and the PC party has shown,” said Bob Broadstock, President of the Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc. (QROOI). “In less than a year, as a candidate for MPP, Ontario Progressive Conservative candidate Rod Phillips has done more to secure the future of the Ajax Downs racetrack than Liberal MPP Joe Dickson has since his government decided to cancel the Slots at Racetracks Program in the first place. Joe Dickson and the Liberal government chose to support the Durham Live project that ensures the closure of Ajax Downs and the end of quarter horse racing in Ontario!”

The PC Party’s plan to restore the slots at racetrack program is an opportunity to make good on PC Party Leader Doug Ford’s support for both Ajax and Pickering hosting gaming sites.

Supporters of the quarter racing industry are working hard to ensure voters in Ajax, Peterborough-Kawartha, Durham, and Northumberland-Peterborough South know what is at stake if these largely rural jobs are destroyed in their communities by the Liberal’s indifference to horse racing and Ajax Downs.

“Voters need to know how badly the current government has let down the quarter racing sector in Ontario and exactly where those 1,700 job losses will be felt if the next government doesn’t clean up the Liberal’s mess,” Broadstock added. “Protecting horse racing is something Ontarians believe in and overwhelmingly support. It will be refreshing to have a government again that is prepared to make that happen.”

In addition to stabilizing the quarter horse racing industry, the PC Party’s plan to restore the slots at racetracks program and ensuring Ajax maintains the current casino at the racetrack will mean the Town continues to receive almost $8 million dollars a year on non-tax revenue that is invested in making Ajax an even better place to live, work and play.

A red roan filly, A STREAK OF FLO, was a newcomer to Ajax Downs on June 3 for trainer Don Edwards. Danielle Dibert rode.