The richest Quarter Horse race in Canada is set for Wednesday, the closing day of the Ajax Downs season.
The 22nd running of the prestigious Alex Picov Memorial Futurity for 2-year-olds is up for grabs and the 10 fastest qualifiers from two Trials on October 5 will dash 400 yards for a purse of $93,870.
The Picov Futurity is race 10 on a huge 11-race card that gets underway with a first race post time of 12:45 p.m.
The two Trials winners, Valiant Chick Insnow, who had the slightly faster Trial time of 20.22 for a 90 speed index, and A Shades of Cold (20.31, 88 speed index) figure to duel for favoritism.
Valiant Chick Insnow, a filly bred in Oklahoma by Ajax Downs’ leaning owner Milena Kwiecien of Burlington, is undefeated in two races since arriving in Ontario after five starts in the U.S. A daughter of top American stallion Valiant Hero, Valiant Chick Insnow, trained by Jason Pascoe, held off the closing charge of stablemate Snow Moose and jockey Brian Bell in her Trial win. J.B. Botello will once again partner the filly and the pair drew post position four.
A Shades of Cold, also trained by Pascoe, is the first horse bred by owner Amelie Aubut, who is from Pont Rouge, QC. The sorrel gelding won his career debut before finishing third in the Ontario Sires Futurity and second in the Bonus Futurity. In his Trial victory, the son of Ontario stallion Cold Hard Dash, owned in part by Aubut, pulled away from Maximize and favoured Firstprize Charlotte under regular rider Ismael Mosquiera.
“What I was trying to do in the Trial was to teach him to finish strong,” said Mosquiera. “He was very steady and then he really picked it up the last 200 yards.”
Firstprize Charlotte, an Ontario bred for Richard Wincikaby and trained by Michelle Woodley, is the only stakes winner in the field as she won the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity on August 17.
Tony Phillips, currently leading a tight race for top jockey, is confident Firstprize Charlotte can bounce back from her third-place finish in her Trial.
“It’s a very tough field, but we’ll have our rod and shield,” said Phillips, who is popular for his rap-style interviews.
Phillips has 22 wins heading into the final race day and 241 QROOI points with Ramiro Castillo close behind with 19 wins and 228 points. Brian Bell, just two wins away from 750 career victories, has 17 wins this season and 226 points.
Admission to Ajax Downs is always free.
FIELD FOR THE 22nd ALEX PICOV MEMORIAL FUTURITY
Oct. 26, Race 10; Purse $93,870. For Two Year Olds, 400 Yards.
PP Horse Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Heza Majestic Hero J Scott L Spada 12/1
2 Sw Anninilator D Benitez J Pascoe 10/1
3 Firstprize Charlotte T Phillips M Woodley 6/1
4 Valiant Chick Insnow J B Botello J Pascoe 3/1
5 Francesca R S Castillo C McIntyre 8/1
6 Stanair L Desouza J Grice 15/1
7 A Shades of Cold I Mosqueira J Pascoe 4/1
8 Maximize R Moreno J Pascoe 8/1
9 Walkthruivory D Benitez J Pascoe 10/1
10 Snow Moose B Bell J Pascoe 7/2
With files from Jennifer Morrison