Archive for Press Release

Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Announce Champions of 2020

Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Announce Champions of 2020

March 5, 2021
Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Announce Champions of 2020

Rick Crispi wins his first High Point Owner Award

by Jennifer Morrison

It was the final day of racing for the 2020 Quarter Horse season at Ajax Downs and owner Rick Crispi of Guelph, Ontario was in second place for the season’s High Point Owner Award. His horses had raced well all season under the guidance of trainer Tom Dunlap but it was going to take a victory by Crispi’s homebred Jess Carolinas Award in the final stakes race of the season, the Ontario Sired Stakes Derby, to get the title.

Jess Carolinas Award obliged, putting his head in front at the finish of the $54,000 Derby, lifting Crispi to his first ever Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Award for top owner.
“I was watching the race on the computer with my wife Donna and we hugged and danced around the room,” said Crispi. “Great fun.”

Crispi had previously raced horses with friend Don Salzsauler as Ivy Lane Racing before going out on his own six years ago. In 2020, his 15 starters won 14 races from 80 starts and collected 159 QROOI points edging out last year’s top owner James Bogar.
Jess Carolinas Award, produced from Crispi’s mare Jess Carolina, was the year’s High Point 3-year-old colt or gelding.

“To be successful in racing you need really good horses and just as importantly, a great trainer,” said Crispi, “Tom Dunlap is not only gifted with talent and experience, he is a very positive throwback to a time when people could be counted on to support and help one another.   Tom did a truly wonderful job in 2020 as he has every year.”

Dunlap, runner-up to Jason Pascoe for High Point Trainer, was assisted on race day by Ontario horseman Greg Watson as Dunlap, who trains the horses in Michigan, was unable to come to Canada due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Hats off to James Bogar and all the other committed and talented owners, trainers and jockeys at Ajax Downs,” said Crispi. “It was my time in 2020 and I recognize clearly, that with the talent at the track the last few years, while I will be competing hard with Tom, any one of many others could also win High Point Owner in 2021.  That’s what makes it all so exciting.”

The board of directors of the QROOI announced the champions of 2020 on March 5 and is presenting trophies to winners and runners-up on a personal basis as the annual awards ceremony and dinner could not take place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Points are awarded to horses owned by QROOI members based on top four placings in all categories of races.

On Feb. 26 Fiesty Icon, owned and trained by Rick Kennedy, was named the 2020 Horse of the Year. The Ontario sired and bred gelding, who turned nine-years-old in 2021 was also the High Point Aged Male with 39 QROOI points.

Ed Walton won his first High Point Jockey title in 2020, collecting 356 points with 35 victories in just 20 Ajax racing dates. Walton has been among the top riders in Quarter Horse racing for over 30 years, although he was away from riding for 14 years prior to 2009.

In 2020, Walton partnered up with stakes stars such as champion Country Boy 123, Ecs Greys Anatomy, Twixt of Fate, Fiesty Icon and Hanover Hill Chalsee. He also entered the AQHA the record books as the rider of Carneros, who set a world record for 110 yards on June 16 of 6.770.

The horse with the most QROOI points of the 2020 season was the Ontario-bred 3-year-old filly One Kool Dynasty. Owned by Belinda Taggart and bred by William Taggart, One Kool Dynasty had a superb season with four wins from 10 races including the Princess Derby and 44 QROOI points.

One Kool Dynasty’s trainer Jason Pascoe won his second consecutive High Point Trainer title with 279 points from a meet-leading 23 wins. Pascoe’s runners earned $380,932 and also included the 2020 High Point 2-year-old filly Streakinlilwagon, whom he also owns and bred with partner Byranne Langford, Sprint Series champion Carneros and Distance Series winner Spy for the Senate.

The 2020 racing season was a big one for Norm Picov’s Picov Cattle Company, the High Point Leading Breeder (143 points) which bred Horse of the Year Fiesty Icon and bred and raced stakes winners Hanover Hill Chalsee and Hanover Hill Theresa. The 58 Picov-bred starters earned $212,948 and finished in the top three 31 times.
Chantelle Bourgeois won High Point Owner/Trainer with 64 points and her homebred Shake It Twice from the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity.

Carol and Jaime Robertson’s Ontario-bred Had to Be Relentless was the year’s High Point 2-year-old colt or gelding with 27 points and owner/trainer Craig Spada’s Jess a Sweet Surprize led all aged mares with 20 points.
The 2021 racing season at Ajax Downs is set to begin Mother’s Day, May 9, the first of 25scheduled  dates.

List of QROOI Award Winners 2020

Horse of the Year        Fiesty Icon
Bruce Lawrence -Hi Point Trainer      Jason Pascoe
Runner-Up Trainer     Tom Dunlap
High Point Owner/Trainer      Chantelle Bourgeois
Runner-Up Owner/Trainer     Ruth Barbour
High-Point Jockey      Ed Walton
Runner-up Jockey      Cory Spataro

High Point 2 Yr Old    Had to Be Relentless  Carol and Jaime Robertson
High Point 2 Yr Old Colt/Gelding (27)           Had to Be Relentless  Carol and Jaime Robertson
Runner-up 2 yr old Gelding/Colt (18)            Twixt of Fate  Richard Wincikaby
High Point 2 yr Old Filly (25)            Streakinlilwagon          GFR Equine Services
Runner-Up 2 yr old Filly (14)            Jess Raven      Raven Racing Syndicate
Runner-Up 2 yr old Filly (14)            Ah Candyland Richard Wincikaby

High Point 3 Yr Old    One Kool Dynasty     Belinda Taggart
High Point 3 Yr Old Gelding/Stallion (30)      Jess Carolinas Award Rick Crispi
Runner-up 3 yr old Gelding/Stallion (27)       Eazy Street     Carol and Jaime Robertson
High Point 3 Yr Old Mare (44)          One Kool Dynasty     Belinda Taggart
Runner-Up 3 yr old Mare (33)           Hanover Hill Chalsee  Picov Cattle Co

High Point Aged Horse           Fiesty Icon      Richard Kennedy
Hi Point Aged Gelding/Stallion (39)   Fiesty Icon      Richard Kennedy
Runner-up Aged Gelding/Stallion (38)            Spy for the Senate      Milena Kwiecien

High Point Aged Mare (20)    Jess A Sweet Suprize  Craig Spada
Runner Up Aged Mare (19)    One of My Favorites  Rick Crispi

High Point Point Owner         Rick Crispi
Runner Up Owner      James Bogar

High Point Ontario Breeder    Picov Cattle Company
Runner Up Breeder     Christine Tavares

Rick Crispi (left) with Greg Watson, who assists trainer Tom Dunlap (Laurie Overton photo)

PRESS RELEASE – QROOI’s Ontario Stallion Season Auction for 2021 a Success, Prospective Quarter Horse Breeders Enthusiastic

By: Jennifer Morrison
The second year of the Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario’s Stallion Season Auction was another success as Quarter Horse owners, breeders and stallion owners, experienced and new, are excited to help grow the industry.
Total bids on Ontario stallion seasons for this year increased almost 20% from the 2020 auction.
Proceeds from the on-line auction, which still has several stallion seasons available for bidding, will include a 2024 Stallion Auction Futurity Stakes race at Ajax Downs.. All offspring by stallions that donated a breeding through this program will be eligible. Proceeds from the auction will be divided as follows: 30% to the stallion owner whose foals win the race, 30% to the owner who won the race if that owner purchased a breeding to the sire of the winner and 40% will go to fund the purse. Those purchasing a season will receive a free nomination and sustaining payments into this stakes race.
The 2020 Stallion Season Auction’s proceeds are earmarked for a 2023 Stallion Auction Futurity Stakes race.
“It’s a great opportunity for someone just getting into breeding to reach some great stallions at a discounted price,” said young horsewoman Brooke Sisson. “It’s always nice to have a chance to save some money and to top it off, you get the opportunity to race your foal in a stakes race.”
Sisson purchased two seasons; one to Fire Finder for $600 for her own mare and the other, for Look at Magics Form, for “a friend of mine and her mare.”
A season to one of the newest stallions in Ontario, Peighnt Your Fate, a son of successful North American stallion PYC Paint Your Wagon, topped the auction at $1,300. Sean Slater purchased the season to the talented horse from owner Richard Wincikaby.
Patricia Ball bought a season Spy for the Senate, one of the top older horses at Ajax Downs in recent years, for $1,000 from owner Milena Kwiecien.  “I bought the season to him for my mare This Cartels Girl and last year bought one to Maryland Magic for my other mare Rose Rage. I am ready to get back into breeding again.”
For more information and to see the stallion seasons still available, visit to see the list of stallions being offered in 2021 and their current bid price. Contact the QROOI head office in order to place a bid at 905-426-7050 or

Horse of the Year FIESTY ICON

Fiesty Icon Horse of the Year 2020AJAX DOWNS, FEBRUARY 26, 2021 – Rick Kennedy’s exceptional gelding FIESTY ICON was voted the 2020 Horse of the Year at Ajax Downs by the Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario it was announced Friday. Feisty Icon was 8-years-old last year but had arguably the best season of his remarkable career that included a Horse of the Year title in 2015 when he was a 3-year-old.

Read More →

TRAINERS MEETING May 14, 2020 1:00 PM

We are looking forward to our first virtual trainers meeting to be held this Thursday.  We will be using Microsoft Teams for the meeting, please click the link below to join our team and install the software.
We will be available to test everyone’s connection to the meeting starting at 11 am on Thursday morning.  Please advise the office that you intend to join the meeting and setup the software so that we can ensure a prompt start time at 1pm.
We intend to discuss the COVID 19 protocols that will be in place when we start training/racing in 2020.  We believe that these protocols and your support/adherence to them are critical to ensure that we have a safe environment for all participants.
The meeting will provide a detailed slide presentation and there will be time for Questions and Answers, we look forward to hearing from you all on Thursday.

Ontario Racing has been successful in securing an aid package

The QROOI Board of directors is pleased to announce that Ontario Racing has been successful in securing an aid package for the Ontario Horse Racing Industry. We have attached their official notice below. Although the plan is not perfect, it is meant to ensure that all horses continue to train and receive the type of care that Ontario horse people are proud of. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire team at Ontario Racing, Ontario Lottery and Gaming and our Provincial government. Most notably to the Honorable Minister of Finance Rod Phillips for providing his support and moving the process along quickly during this unprecedented crisis and to Ontario Racing Management Katherine Curry for her continued dedication to providing a solution to support all three breeds of horse racing in Ontario.

The QROOI would like our membership to continue nominating horses for the stakes program without the requirement for payment of any fees. We intend to make decisions about our racing and stakes program once a more definitive timeline can be established for our return to racing.

We trust that you are all practising social distancing and protecting your families during this most difficult time.

Should anyone have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Ontario Racing News

Purse Funds of Cancelled Races to continue to support Horsepeople

Ontario Racing is pleased to notify industry participants that – by application – horsepeople will have the opportunity to access certain purse funds that remain available under the Funding Agreement with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) as a result of the suspension of live racing in the province due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These funds were already committed to the industry through the Funding Agreement for Live Horse Racing between Ontario Racing and OLG. To enable this access, Ontario Racing, OLG and the other parties to the Funding Agreement have entered into an amendment to the Funding Agreement, a copy of which will be posted on the Ontario Racing website.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario Racing created a task force to address the financial impacts on the horse racing industry. The Ontario Racing Task Force has worked closely with OLG to structure the below interim process which is available to all three breeds – Standardbred, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive funds pursuant to this interim measure, owners must complete an application which must be submitted to Ontario Racing Management Inc. (ORM). Eligibility requirements for this program include the following:

  • Horses must be trained and raced by an Ontario-based trainer with a valid AGCO license
  • Certification that the horse is resident in Ontario, or has completed a Stall Application for the 2020 race season, or is otherwise verified to be coming to Ontario for the 2020 race season
  • The horse’s first start following the resumption of racing in Ontario must be at an Ontario track, unless otherwise approved by Ontario Racing
  • Horses must be at least 3 years old, and either have not yet raced or have raced since January 1, 2019

Subject to meeting the above eligibility criteria, for the months of April and May, should racing continue to be suspended, racehorse owners will be eligible to receive the following payments, each of which is estimated to cover half of the monthly costs associated with boarding, feed and training fees (veterinary, blacksmith, shipping, and other fees are not included in this estimate):

Thoroughbreds $1,500/month
Standardbred $1,000/month
Quarter Horse $750/month

Horse owners can apply for payments under this interim measure by submitting an application form to Ontario Racing, c/o Sarrah Young Application forms will be available on the Ontario Racing website.

Standardbred horses that were qualified to race during the last week of March will be eligible to each receive $300, and drivers and trainers will receive 5% up to an accumulated maximum of $25,000 for each group.
If the suspension of live horse racing in Ontario as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic continues beyond May 31, 2020, the Task Force intends to present a revised proposal to OLG for the reallocation of purse funds under the Funding Agreement, which will include payments for 2-year-old racehorses as well.

Ontario Racing will continue to pay the 1.5% of purses to the horseperson’s associations so they can continue to offer benefits, benevolence activities and additional assistance to those in need.

Click here for the application link