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Night Leader Shows the Way in $61,020 Ontario Bred Futurity at Ajax Downs – Jennifer Morrison


Night Leader Scores 8 to 1 Upset in $61,020 Ontario Bred Futurity at Ajax Downs
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Jockey Josh Scott and co-owner and trainer Scott Reid celebrate the victory of Night Leader, also owned by John Wilson, in the Ontario Bred Futurity.    New Image Media/Clive Cohen photos
AJAX DOWNS, AUGUST 4, 2021 – NIGHT LEADER unleashed a furious rally midway through the 3rd running of the Ontario Bred Futurity and captured the $61,020 stakes race for 2-year-olds, August 4 at Ajax Downs. Making just his third career start, Night Leader, sent off at odds of 8 to 1, broke smoothly from post seven in the eight-horse field and then flew past favoured First Cold Wave to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths under jockey Josh Scott. First Cold Wave, trained by Jason Pascoe and ridden by jockey Brian Bell held second by a neck over another Pascoe juvenile, Kold Kinda Star with Ismael Mosquiera riding.
Owned by John Wilson of New Liskeard, ON and Scott Reid of Lansdowne and trained by Reid, Night Leader raced the 300-yards on a fast track in 15.739 for an 83 speed index. The son of Ontario sire El Night Shift from the mare Bajillion was bred by Edith Slater and was coming into the Futurity off a second and third-place finish in maiden races. He earned $25,163 for the victory. The bay gelding paid $19.60 to win.
“The first two starts he just needed to get a grasp of what he was supposed to do and today he just put it all together,” said Scott. “I have been getting on all of Scott’s 2-year-olds and I felt I had a knack with this little guy.”
John Wilson was pleased to be back at Ajax Downs to watch his horses race after the track was closed to spectators in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I missed seeing my horses last year but it’s good to be here today. Night Leader is a serious little guy, he doesn’t fool around much. We were proud of him today.”
For Reid, Night Leader was his second stakes winner of the 2021 season, following the victory by George Coleman’s Firing Red Jess, also ridden by Scott, in the Picov Maturity in June. 
Racing continues at Ajax Downs next Wednesday, August 11 with the exciting final of the $50,000-added Ontario Bred Derby
Fans are welcome at the track and can register to attend at First race post time is 1:30 p.m. Keep up to date on Quarter Horse racing at Ajax Downs by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, @AjaxDowns.
Video feed of the August 4 card of racing at Ajax Downs:
Photo below – NIGHT LEADER romps to a 1 1/2 length victory in the 3rd Ontario Bred Futurity.
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$61,020 Ontario Bred Futurity On Tap at Ajax Downs, Aug. 4 – By Jennifer Morrsion

Ontario Bred Two-Year-Olds Compete in $61,020 Futurity
FIRST COLD WAVE, a son of young Ontario stallion Cold Hard Dash, will look to add to his impressive maiden in the Ontario Bred Futurity – New Image Media Photo
AJAX DOWNS, MONDAY AUGUST 2, 2021 – A field of ten Ontario Bred 2-year-olds will do battle for the winner’s share of the $61,020 for the Ontario Bred Futurity Wednesday, August 4 at Ajax Downs. This is the first stakes race for juveniles of the 2021 Quarter Horse season and it will be run at 300 yards and go as race six on the card.
Two geldings from the first crop of Ontario stallion Cold Hard Dash, a son of world class sire First Down Dash, are among many contenders in the field. FIRST COLD WAVE, owned and bred by Robert Bailey of Oakwood, ON was an emphatic winner of his Ajax Downs debut on July 14, leading at every point of a 250-yard dash to win by a length with an impressive 86 speed index. Trained by Jason Pascoe, First Cold Wave had one start at Remington Park in Oklahoma in May for trainer Jason Pascoe before returning to Ontario. Brian Bell is back to ride and the pair drew post position two.
“I had been riding him at the farm and really liked him,” said Bell. “I am a big fan of his family-line; his dam Cassies Carver was a quick one around here.”
Pascoe also sends out KOLD KINDA STAR, by Cold Hard Dash, and he also won his maiden on July 14, surging late to win by a neck with a 77 speed index under jockey Ismael Mosquiera. Kold Kinda Star is owned by Belinda Taggart and he will start from post eight.
Trainer Scott Reid of Lansdowne is well represented in the Futurity with NIGHT LEADER, which he owns in partnership with John Wilson. A son of Ontario stallion El Night Shift, Night Leader and his rider Josh Scott finished a close second to Kold Kinda Star in that July 14 maiden race. The gelding has post nine for the Futurity.
There are also two Futurity starters by first crop sire Maryland Magic, who is still racing and competes in race five on Wednesday. Maryland Magic sired his first winner last week at Ajax Downs, Sw Snowmagicallykool. His Futurity starters are Blazin Magician and Magic Diamond.
*The co-featured fifth race with Maryland Magic has also lured Princess Derby winner Jessaprimadonna, from the barn of Craig Spada.
First race post time on August 4 is 1:30 p.m. Fans can register to secure a spot at the track to watch the races by visiting and signing up through the link. Follow Quarter horse racing in Ontario @AjaxDowns on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. You can watch the live feed from the track on our Facebook page and watch and wager through
Purse $61,020. For Ontario Bred (program Registered) Two Year Olds, Three Hundred Yards.

PP Horse                  Jockey Trainer
1 Keepr of the Stars H M Vanek   J Pascoe
2 First Cold Wave    B Bell           J Pascoe
3 Oh My Gawd          L Desouza    S Reid
4 Rapter                   C Jeschke    S Reid
5 Blazin Magician    R Moreno      J Pascoe
6 Shifting Tides        R S Castillo   S Reid
7 Back Home Fishin C Spataro  C Spada
8 Kold Kinda Star    I Mosqueira J Pascoe
9 Night Leader        J Scott           S Reid
10 Magic Diamond   T Phillips    J Pascoe


Countryfried Chicken Flies to Victory in fastest Trial for Ontario Bred Derby – Jennifer Morrsion

Exciting Ontario Bred Derby Trials Set Up for Fabulous $55,000 Final on Aug. 11
(Left) COUNTRYFRIED CHICKEN and jockey Helen Vanek won the fastest of two Trials for the Ontario Bred Derby on July 28. (Right) HAD TO BE RELENTLESS won the other Trial with Ismael Mosquiera riding. New Image Media and JM photos
AJAX DOWNS, JULY 28, 2021 – Milena Kwiecien’s homebred COUNTRYFRIED CHICKEN won the fastest two Trials for the upcoming Ontario Bred Derby on a beautiful summer afternoon at Ajax Downs. The Derby, for 3-year-old Quarter Horses foaled in Ontario, is worth $50,000 and the final will be held on August 11 for the 10 fastest qualifiers from two trials held Wednesday.
Countryfried Chicken, trained by Jason Pascoe of Pontypool, ON, was quick out of the gate in the second of the two 300-yard qualifiers and held a short lead over his rivals to the finish, edging Twixt of Fate, owned by Englehart’s Richard Wincikaby, by a head. It was 1 3/4 lengths back to Whos Hot Now, a filly owned by Marie Broadstock and Josee Paiment. Ridden by Helen Vanek, Countryfried Chicken, a son of Country Chicks Man, stopped the teletimer in a fast 15.384 for a career best 95 speed index. He paid $3.20 to win as the heavy favourite following the late scratch of early choice Perrier Special.
In the first Trial, HAD TO BE RELENTLESS put in a sustained late run to just grab the win by a neck in 15.508 for a 91 speed index. The bay son of He’s Relentless is owned and was bred by Carol and Jaime Robertson of Hillsburgh and trained by Bryn Robertson. Had to Be Relentless is a half brother to 2019 Horse of the Year Had to Be Ivory, also bred and raced by the Robertsons. Had to Be Relentless paid $3,50 as the public choice.
Whisky James, owned by Anna Rosiak, led late in the race and held second, a neck over Bogie Wheels, owned by Cameron’s James Bogar.
It was a big day for Had to Be Relentless’s jockey Ismael Mosquiera who won four of the nine races on the afternoon, to land himself in a tie for leading rider at the 2021 meeting with Cory Spataro, each with 10 wins. Three of Mosquera’s wins came on horses trained by Jason Pascoe, who also won four on the day to give him a meet-leading 15 victories.
The 10 qualifiers for the Ontario Bred Derby final are listed below.
Racing at Ajax Downs continues next Wednesday, August 4 and fans can register at to reserve a spot to attend the races. First race post time is 1:30 p.m. 
Keep up on all the Quarter Horse news from Ajax Downs by following us @AjaxDowns on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Top 10 Qualifiers for $50,000 Ontario Bred Derby, August 11

Horse                 Race#  Post Pos.  Time  Trainer Jockey Owner
1 Countryfried Chicken  6 3    15.384 1 Pascoe Vanek Kwiecien
2 Twixt of Fate               6 8    15.415 2 Woodley Spataro Wincikaby
3 Had to be Relentness 5 9    15.508 1 Robertson Mosqueira Robertson
4 Whisky James            5 3    15.544 2 Pascoe Spataro Rosiak
5 Bogie Wheels             5 7    15.581 3 Wood Phillips Bogar
6 Whos Hot Now           6 5    15.669 3 Broadstock Mosqueira Broadstock/Paiement
7 Hanover Hill Lynda    5 1    15.797 4 Tavares Bell Picov Cattle
8 Jess Raven                6 2    15.798 4 Reid, S Scott Raven Racing
9 Hanover Hill Theresa 5 8    15.808 5 Tavares Jeschke Picov Cattle
10 Memory of Griffin     5 6    15.843 6 Lehtinen Castillo Lehtinen
July 28 Full card Livestream Video –

AJAX DOWNS JULY 28: Nineteen Starters Compete in Two Trials for $50,000 Ontario Bred Derby

HAD TO BE RELENTLESS is a contender in the first of two Trials for the Ontario Bred Derby on a big nine-race card at Ajax Downs on Wednesday, July 28. By Jennifer Morrsion
HAD TO BE RELENTLESS is a contender in the first of two Trials for the Ontario Bred Derby on a big nine-race card at Ajax Downs on Wednesday, July 28. New Image Media/Clive Cohen photo
AJAX DOWNS, JULY 26, 2021 – A big card of Quarter Horse racing at Ajax Downs on Wednesday, July 28 is highlighted by two Trials for the upcoming Ontario Bred Derby for 3-year-olds foaled in this province. The Ontario Bred Derby is worth $50,000 and the top 10 qualifiers from the 19 horses entered in the Trials will advance to the final on August 11.
The Trials, run at 300-yards, are races five and six on a packed nine-race card that gets underway at 1:30 p.m.
Carol and Jaime Robertson’s HAD TO BE RELENTLESS, a half brother to 2019 Horse of the Year Had to Be Ivory, is one of the top contenders in the first Trial and the Bryn Robertson trainee is coming off a victory on July 14. The flashy bay gelding won that allowance event quite easily despite pricking his ears to look at the fans trackside mid-race. The July 14 card was the first time Ajax Downs had spectators since the fall of 2019. Ismael Mosquiera will ride Had to Be Relentless from post position nine. WHISKY JAMES, recently purchased by Anna Rosiak from the Robertsons, is one of the challengers coming off a sharp third-place finish in his season debut.
There are 10 entrants in the second Trial headed by the big sorrel gelding PERRIER SPECIAL, owned and bred by Erik and Joyce Lehtinen of Uxbridge, ON. Perrier Special ran the best race of his career in his 2021 opener on July 7, finishing a close second in the Distance Series to one of the top older horses, Spy for the Senate with a whopping 96 speed index. Rachael Isaacs rides the gelding from post position one. Other contenders in the field include COUNTRYFRIED CHICKEN, in post three, an impressive winner June 16 for Milena Kwiecien of Burlington but a troubled third in his most recent start. Jason Pascoe of Pontypool trains and Helen Vanek rides. TWIXT OF FATE, a stakes winner at two in 2020, makes his season debut for owner Richard Wincikaby of Englehart and trainer Michelle Woodley. Leading rider Cory Spataro has the mount from post eight.
Fans can register to reserve a spot at Ajax Downs for racing by going to The full card of racing is streamed live on the Ajax Downs Facebook page beginning with the popular Talking Quarters Handicapping Show at 12:50 p.m. And you can watch and wager on the Ajax Downs races at

Track record-setting victory for Jess a Sweet Suprize in the $19,890 Sprint Series – By Jennifer Morrsion

Track record-setting victory for Jess a Sweet Suprize in the $19,890 Sprint Series
Fans at Ajax Downs on July 21 were treated to a track record-setting show of speed by JESS A SWEET SUPRIZE in the second leg of the QROOI Sprint Series – New Image Media Photo
AJAX DOWNS, JULY 21, 2021 – There is a new star at Ajax Downs and her name is JESS A SWEET SUPRIZE, a diminutive but ultra-fast 5-year-old Quarter Horse mare who crushed a top field in the $19,890 QROOI Sprint Series (2) on July 21. The feisty bay gal, who was coming off a win in the 110-yard first leg of the Sprint series on June 16 with a 94-speed index, sped to a three-quarter length win in the 220-yard second leg Wednesday in a track-record 11.747 for a whopping 108 speed index.
Ridden by Cory Spataro of Innisfil, ON for owner and trainer Craig Spada of Ridgeway, Jess a Sweet Suprize was always in command and held off Milena Kwiecien’s Carneros, who held the former track record of 11.780, for the victory, the sixth of her career. Night Fishn, another mare, finished third for Mary Schrama of Peterborough.
Three-time Horse of the Year Country Boy 123, the race favourite, lunged up in the air at the start of the race and finished ninth.
Jess a Sweet Surpize, the 3 to 1 second choice, paid $9.20 to win.  
“She’s a fire-breathing dragon on post parade,” said Spataro. “She was out there bucking and kicking. In the starting gate, she was so focused, I was just waiting for them to hit the button and open the gates because I knew she would be out of there fast.”
Jess a Sweet Surprize is the only foal of her late dam Jess Curl My Prize and was bred in Iowa by Erin Chrisman and Pattie Marshall.
“She’s so happy and in the best form of her life,” said Spada, who was registering his ninth win of the season, just behind leader Jason Pascoe who has 11.
Spataro also won on 2019 Horse of the Year Had to Be Ivory on Wednesday in an allowance/optional race and leads all Ajax jockeys with nine victories.
The third leg of the Sprint Series is scheduled for September 8.
Jess a Sweet Suprize with owner/trainer Craig Spada (far right), jockey Cory Spataro and his team Matt Storms and daughter Lauren Spada.
Racing at Ajax Downs continues Wednesday, July 28 with a first race post time of 1:30 p.m. Fans who would like to attend the races can register on-line at
Follow Quarter Horse racing at Ajax Downs on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (@AjaxDowns) You can watch the entire card of racing from the live stream on the Ajax Downs Facebook page. The QUARTER RACING OWNERS OF ONTARIO can helo you get involved in owning a Quarter Horse or joining a syndicate. Visit them at
July 21 card of racing live stream video, all races and interviews: