ONTARIO HORSE OF THE YEAR – Quarter Horse Greats
Past Champions

GO SMASHING BABY – a 3-time Ontario Horse of the Year owned by Christine Tavares and trained by Joe Tavares – Photo courtesy of New Image Media


CORRECTION – In a recent news release regarding the 2017 QROOI Awards for Ontario Quarter Horse Racing it was erroneously reported that Country Boy 123 was the first back-to-back Horse of the Year honouree (the release was supposed to say in the last decade).


In fact there have been other multiple and consecutive Horses of the Year in Ontario Quarter Horse history.
GO SMASHING BABY was the Horse of the Year in 2006 and 2007 and also won in 2004. I regret the error.
I would love to fill in some of these statistics if industry members can send me photos of old QROOI Award programs from the 1980s.


GO SMASHING BABY,  a foal of 2001, was bred in Oklahoma by Norma and Jerry Donaghey and was by Smooth Down. She was trained by Joe Tavares for his wife Christine Tavares and she debuted at Picov in June 2003 and was 9-5 to win that maiden race. She finished third and in fact, would race another four times before she finally won her first race.

She would win her next 11 consecutive races on her way to an incredible record of 39-27-10-2 and $148,000 in earnings. The gritty mare regularly competed in stakes events and had numerous triple-digit speed index efforts including a 119 SI in one of her three track record-setting performances. Her regular rider was Brian Bell.

Here are the recent QROOI Horse of the Year Winners:
2017 Country Boy 123
2016 Country Boy 123
2015 Fiesty Icon
2014 Streakinshagginwagon
2013 One Famous Glass
2012 Zoomin After Six
2011 Leanintoit
2010 One Kool Wave
2009 Fast Flung Flloyd
2008 Rockish
2007 Go Smashing Baby
2006 Go Smashing Baby
2005 Eye Dash
2004 Go Smashing Baby
2003 Perfect Task
2002 Raise The Debt
2001 Glimmer Girl
2000 Huricane Caleigh
1999 Darlin Dasher
1998 Famous Last Word
1997 Dash N Victory Rose
1996 Erchle McKinney
1995 One Easy Dash
1994 Easy Grande
1993 Total Approach
1987 Sa So Sa Roma Jet
1986 Sa Jo Sa Roma Jet



(note date correction for OSS Derby)
Final Track Race Name / Distance / Added Money / Age / Gender Nomination Trials
June 3rd Ajax Downs Picov Maturity, 300 yards, $50,000 Added, 4-y-o & up QH April 1st May 20th
June 10th Ajax Downs Bonus Challenge Maiden, 300 yards, $15,000 per plus one third of $10,000 USD as provided by AQHA April 1st May 27th
June 17th Ajax Downs Bonus Challenge Derby, 300 yards, $15,000 per plus one third of $10,000 USD as provided by AQHA April 1st June 3rd
July 15th Ajax Downs Bonus Challenge Futurity, 300 yards, $15,000 per plus one third of $10,000 USD as provided by AQHA April 15th June 24th
July 22nd Ajax Downs All Canadian Classic, 350 yards, $35,000 Added 4-y-o and up (Not trial based) April 15th None
Aug 26th Ajax Downs

Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity, 330 yards, $55,000 Added, 2-y-o Ontario Sired QH


April 1st August 5th
Sept 2nd Ajax Downs Ontario Sires Stakes Derby, 350 yards, $55,000 Added, 3-y-o Ontario Sired QH April 1st August 12th
Sept 2nd Ajax Downs Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity, 330 yards, $50,000 Added, 4 y-o & up Ontario Sired QH April 15th August 19th
Oct 8th Ajax Downs

Alex Picov Memorial Futurity, 400 yards, $75,000  Added

2-y-o QH

April 15th September 17th
Oct 8th Ajax Downs

Alex Picov Memorial Championship, 440 yards, $75,000 Added

3-y-o & up QH (Not trial based)

April 15th None
Oct 15th Ajax Downs Picov Derby, 400 yards, $70,000  Added, 3-y-o QH May 15th October 1st
Training sessions begin at Ajax Downs on APRIL 4 and are every Monday and Wednesday through mid May.
Licensing day is April 11.
For more on schedules and Race-day events please see






HEY YOU! Ontario’s Champion 2-year-old Male of 2017, HAD TO BE IVORY, now aged 3, peers over his stall at Hillerin Farm in Hillsburgh and his baby half-brother, born recently to the mare Had to Be Fandango. The colt is by He’s Relentless. Photo courtesy of Zac Kennedy





THE RIDER‘S BARRY FINN to be honoured
Can-Am Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award
BARRY FINN, owner and publisher of The Rider, Ontario’s Horse Industry Newspaper, will be recognized with the Can-Am Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award at the Can-Am Expo April 6- 8 at the Markham Fairgrounds.
Finn has dedicated  plenty of space in the popular paper to Quarter Horse racing in Ontario.

Barry Finn was born and raised in the Hamilton area, and is the owner and publisher of The Rider, Ontario’s Horse Industry Newspaper. His father, Aidan Finn started The Rider in 1970 and was also Can-Am’s very first Hall of Fame inductee in 2013. Barry Finn 2

Barry has worked for The Rider most of his life. At age 12 he was selling copies of the publication in the grandstands at Quarterama. Over the years, he has worked in every department from circulation and composing to editorial and advertising sales – and reporter. Many Ontario riders have met Barry at various association dinners or other events where he gathered information and took photos for following issue of The Rider.

In 1990, Barry took over active development of The Western Rider and started a sister publication called English Rider. He merged the two papers in 1994 to form The Rider, an all breed, all discipline newspaper and in 2005, Barry became publisher and owner of The Rider. In 2004 The Rider was named OEF’s Media Of The Year that continued for the following five years. Barry was also president of the Independent Publisher’s Association of Ontario for many years.

The Rider is celebrating 48 Years in business this year.



Quarter Horse Racing in Ontario appears regularly in The Rider


Notice is given that the Annual Business Meeting of the Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc. (the “Corporation”) will be held at Ajax Downs, 50 Alexander’s Crossing, Ajax ON, L1Z 2E6 on Saturday April 21st 2018, Eastern Time in the Lower Level Meeting Room, at the hour of 1:00 PM.

Please be advised this is a closed meeting for current 2018 QROOI Members only.

Memberships can be renewed or purchased one hour prior to the meeting start, outside the Lower Level Meeting Room.

You can also purchase your membership through the QROOI Head Office at any time during regular business hours. Membership forms are available through the association’s website at www.qrooi.com on the home page under the Racing Info tab.

If you would like a membership form mailed to you please contact the QROOI Head Office at (905) 426-7050.

For your convenience payment for memberships can be made at the Head Office by debit, credit card, cheque or cash.

You can contact the office by telephone at (905) 426-7050 or by email at qrooiheadoffice@gmail.com.

Payment may also be made at the meeting by credit card, cheque or cash.

Agenda items proposed by QROOI Members must be presented to the organization no later Friday April 6th, 2018 at 5:00 PM.

We look forward to seeing all QROOI Members at this meeting.


Trainers Seminar – Saturday May 5th 2018

Please be advised the QROOI has scheduled their trainers seminar for Saturday May 5th 2018. If you would like to attend please contact the QROOI Head office at 905-426-7050 or by email to Monique at qrooiheadoffice@gmail.com


Mare Breeding Incentive Program

For 2018, a Mare Breeding Incentive Program is being introduced to the Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program (QHRIDP) to encourage the breeding of QH mares and increase the future racing population.

An incentive of $1,000 will be paid to the owner of the mare at time of breeding upon application and provision of proof that the mare is in foal 60 days or more post-breeding.

To be eligible, mares must have been previously enrolled in the QHRIDP, or have raced at Ajax Downs in the past 2 years. The owner and the mare must be enrolled in the Program for 2018.

This change will be included in the 2018 Criteria Book.

A Mare Breeding Incentive Application form is available on the Ontario Racing website, www.ontarioracing.com/Industry/Breeding-Programs/Quarter-Horse-Program.aspx

For further information, please contact:

Kathie Wilkinson
Program Coordinator
Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program
Ontario Racing
Direct: 416-477-5529