Archive for Latest QROOI News

2022 QROOI Awards Banquet – Saturday February 18th 2023

The QROOI 2022 Awards Banquet will be held on Saturday February 18th, 2023 at the Ajax Convention Centre, 500 Beck Crescent in Ajax. Ticket costs will be $50.00 each which includes HST. You can purchase your tickets at the QROOI Head Office or by credit card. Please contact Monique at (905) 426-7050 or by email at

A group block of hotel rooms for the banquet have been reserved at Ajax Hilton Inn, 500 Beck Crescent, Ajax and Homewood Suites, 600 Beck Crescent To book a room please contact the Hilton at (905) 686-9400 or Homewood at (866) 460-7456.

Press Release – 2023 New Horse Purchase Program

September 22nd, 2022 – The Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc. are happy to announce the Horse Purchase Program for 2023 has been reapproved. The program provides interest free loans to eligible purchasers of racing Quarter Horses destined for Ajax Downs of up to $7,500. These loans are then paid back during the 2023 racing season. At this time we are only approving applicants to a maximum of one loan per owner. The QROOI will review the program in February and depending on interest may open up to more than one per owner at that time.

Please contact Monique McNamara at the QROOI Head Office at (905) 426-7050 or by email at for more information or an application form as soon as possible to ensure that you are part of this exciting program!

Had to Be Ivory Sizzles in Track Record Setting Score in Distance Series

Had to Be Ivory Powers to Track Record Win in Distance Series
Had to Be Ivory and jockey Josh Scott en route to a track record-setting victory in the 440-yard QROOI Distance Series #2 on Sept.21.  New Image Media Photo
AJAX DOWNS, SEPTEMBER 21, 2022 – With an electrifying burst of speed, Ontario Bred HAD TO BE IVORY powered to a track-record setting victory in the $21,190 QROOI Distance Series #2 at Ajax Downs on September 21, remaining undefeated in 2022.
The 7-year-old son of Ivory James – Had to Be Fandango, bred and owned by Carol and Jaime Robertson of Hillsburgh, ON solidified his position as the best Quarter Horse in the country with a one-length score in the 440-yard dash in a time of 21.410, besting the former record of 21.520 set by Mitford in 2013. His final time speed index of 112 is one of the highest marks in recent Ajax Downs history.
Trained by Bryn Robertson and ridden by Josh Scott, Had to Be Ivory broke sharply from post position one and was immediately challenged by the 4-year-old filly Streakinlilwagon, one of five horses entered in the race by Ajax Downs’ leading trainer Jason Pascoe. But in a few strides, had to Be Ivory sped clear of the Pascoe runners and sped to his record-setting victory. Streakinlilwagon finished second, half a length clear of the multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old filly Eye Live for Candy. 
“I’m never really concerned about much with this horse, his record speaks for itself,” said Scott. “When we broke, it was good, I was happy with it. When I asked him to run, he took off and it was all over from there.”
The Distance series #2 win was the 21st victory from 27 career starts for Had to Be Ivory, who was the 2019 Ajax Downs Horse of the Year.
“He’s never won at 440-yards so there was some doubt,” said Bryn Robertson. “Something always went wrong the first couple of times he tried the distance. But today, they weren’t going to beat him.”
Robertson said the gelding’s final start of 2022 would be in the $50,000-added Alex Picov Memorial Championship, also at 440-yards, on October 10. Had to Be Ivory’s earnings stand at over $337,000.
*Racing continues at Ajax Downs on Wednesday, September 28 with a first race post time of 12:55 p.m. Keep up to date with news and events at Ajax Downs on social media and at

$20,000 Distance Series Showdown at Ajax Downs: Ivory vs. Candy

Had to Be Ivory Seeks To Keep Winning Streak Going Against Pascoe Army 
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Ajax Downs’ leading older horse, Had to Be Ivory, will try to remain unbeaten in 2022 in the Sept. 21 Distances Series, Leg 2                 (New Image Media photo)
AJAX DOWNS, SEPTEMBER 20, 2022 – The second leg of the $20,000 QROOI Distance Series at Ajax Downs on Wednesday, September 21 could have Horse of the Year ramifications as champion HAD TO BE IVORY takes on the top 3-year-old filly this year, EYE LIVE FOR CANDY, one of five entrants that leading trainer Jason Pascoe will start in the 440-yard feature.
First race post time on Wednesday is 12:55 p.m. and the forecast is for warm, summer-like temperatures.
Had to Be Ivory, the Ajax Downs Horse of the Year in 2019, is undefeated in four races in 2022, winning the Picov Maturity and Ontario Bred Maturity as well as the first leg of the QROOI Distance Series. The three-race Distance Series is completed by a 770-yard dash around one turn on October 26.
A 7-year-old Ontario bred for Carol and Jaime Robertson, Had to Be Ivory is better than ever this year and has been so sharp, trainer Bryn Robertson had to send him out for a recent workout over the Ajax Downs strip on September 7, speeding 220 yards in a quick 11.87. The big son of Ivory James, who will have regular rider Josh Scott on board, has yet to win at the 440-yard distance, however, after two previous attempts.
The match-up of Had to Be Ivory against EYE LIVE FOR CANDY is sure to be fascinating, A Wyoming bred owned by Burlington’s Milena Kwiecien, the filly has won all four of her races at Ajax Downs in 2022 including the Princess Derby in June and the Picov Derby over the colts. This will be Eye Live for Candy’s first try at 440-yards and she will have her usual rider Ismael Mosquiera up.
Pascoe will also send out four others to try and upend Had to Be Ivory including Kwiecien’s stakes stars MARYLAND MAGIC and SPY FOR THE SENATE and his own stakes winner STREAKINLILWAGON, a 4-year-old filly.
The QROOI Distances Series #2 is race six on the seven-race card. Fans in attendance will also be able to enter a draw to win a share in two horses (all expenses included) as part of the First Line Racing Syndicate for the 2023 racing season.
Admission to Ajax Downs is always free and fans can get up close to the racing action at the trackside picnic tables. You can also watch and wager on the Quarter Horse racing action through and a live stream of the races is available on the Ajax Downs Facebook page.

Sour Candy Takes Bonus Futurity, Third Juvenile Stakes Winner for Trainer Michelle Woodley

Sour Candy Scores Sweet Victory in $27,585 Bonus Futurity For Wincikaby, Woodley
Sour Candy became the third 2-year-old stakes winner for trainer Michelle Woodley in 2022 when he won the Sept. 14 Bonus Futurity. (New Image Media photo)
AJAX DOWNS, SEPTEMBER 14, 2022 – The powerful army of Michelle Woodley-trained 2-year-olds continued its march on Wednesday, September 14 at Ajax Downs as SOUR CANDY charged to a one-length victory in the $27,585 QROOI Bonus Futurity at 300-yards.
An Ontario-bred chestnut gelding Sour Candy was sent off the heavy favourite at 4 to 5 in the field of nine with jockey Tony Phillips riding. The pair broke smartly from post position three and dueled Maximize, one of five entrants in the field for leading trainer Jason Pascoe. Sour Candy edged clear in deep stretch as A Shades of Cold started his rally under Ismael Moquiera but Sour Candy and Phillips safely held on for the victory. A Shades of Cold, an Ontario-bred owned by Amelia Aubut was second with Maximize, owned by Belinda Taggart, finished third. 
The time was 15.770 for an 82 speed index.
“When I saw him in the paddock, I said ‘wow'”, said Phillips, who was riding Sour Candy for the first time. “He looked the part, he’s well built and when he was warming up I could feel he was going to leave the gate first.”
It was the second win in as many starts for Sour Candy, who is owned and was bred by Richard and Linda Wincikaby of New Liskeard, ON.  The 2-year-old by Jess Good Candy won his career debut in a Trial for the Ontario Bred Futurity on June 15 but did not compete in the final.
He won his Trial and we had five qualifying 2-year-olds back in the final so we decide to put him away for a little bit,” said Woodley. “We wanted to  have him sharp and happy for this race and hopefully the Alex Picov Futurity next month. He’s just growing and maturing.”
Woodley, whose own filly Silver Lynning won the Ontario Bred Futurity, also sent out Firstprize Charlotte, also owned by Wincikaby to win the Ontario Sired Futurity for 2-year-olds in August.
*Quarter Horse racing continues at Ajax Downs on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, with a first race post time of 12:55 p.m. Keep up on the news and events at Ajax Downs by following us on social media and at