Horse of the Year HAD TO BE IVORY Returns in Norman Picov Maturity at Ajax Downs

Norman Picov Maturity Highlights May 17 card at Ajax Downs
The remarkable Had to Be Ivory makes his 2023 debut in the May 17 Norman Picov Maturity at Ajax Downs.
 Laurie Overton photo
AJAX DOWNS, TUESDAY MAY 16, 2023 – Superstar Quarter Horse HAD TO BE IVORY, the 2022 Horse of the Year at Ajax Downs, makes his 8-year-old debut on Wednesday, May 17 in the $30,375 Norman Picov Maturity for 4-year-olds and upward at 300 yards. The Norman Picov Maturity is the final dash on a six-race card on Wednesday with a first race post time of 1:30 p.m.
Had to Be Ivory, one of the richest Ontario-bred Quarter Horses in history, comes off a spectacular, undefeated season in which he won all six starts, five stakes events, and set two track records. Owned and bred by Carol and Jaime Robertson and trained by Bryn Robertson, Had to Be Ivory was also named the Canadian Champion of 2022 by the American Quarter Horse Association. The son of Ivory James has 22 career wins from 28 starts and comes into the Maturity off two fast workouts.
Josh Scott will ride Had to be Ivory from post position 2 in the 7 horse field.
Set to take on the champ is last year’s High Point 3-Year-Old Filly EYE LIVE FOR CANDY, winner of the Picov and Princess Derbys in 2022 and third behind Had to Be Ivory in the Alex Picov Memorial Championship in October. A Wyoming bred by A Revenant, Eye Live for Candy is trained by Jason Pascoe of Pontypool, ON, and owned by Milena Kwiecien. JB Botello will ride the filly from post five.
The top two 3-year-old colts of 2022, FIRST COLD WAVE and NIGHT LEADER will be meeting Had to Be Ivory for the first time. First Cold Wave, owned by Robert Bailey, was the 2021 Horse of the Year and last season won the Ontario Bred Derby.  The Ontario sired and bred son of Cold Hard Dash was nosed out in his final outing of last season, the Ontario Sired Derby, by NIGHT LEADER, owned by John Wilson. Diego Benitez will ride First Cold Wave for the first time and Cary Furlonger is the regular rider of Night Leader.
This is the second racing day of the 2023 Ajax Downs meeting which takes place on Wednesdays and one ‘Special Event’ Sunday each month in the summer. Admission is always free at the fan-friendly track. You can also watch and wager on the exciting races at For more news and events, check out and follow us on social media, @AjaxDowns.
10th NORM PICOV MATURITY (Race 6, May 17)
Purse $30,375, 300 yards, 4-year-olds & upward
Post Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 JEZZABELLA Jose Cruz  James Bogar 10-1
2 HAD TO BE IVORY Josh Scott Bryn Robertson 3-1
3 FIRST COLD WAVE Diego Benitez Jason Pascoe 5-1
4 PRETTY RUNAWAY Tony Phillips James Bogar 7-1
5  EYE LIVE FOR CANDY JB Botello Jason Pascoe 4-1
6 BODHI Alexis Sanchez Lauren Spada 15-1
7 NIGHT LEADER Carly Furlonger Scott Reid 9-2