Fans flock to Ajax Downs to welcome back the Quarter Horses
MARYLAND MAGIC (far left) zips out of the gate to win the 110-yard Gridiron Gallop on opening day of the 2022 Ajax Downs, Ontario Quarter Horse season May 11 – Laurie Overton Photo
AJAX DOWNS, WEDNESDAY, MAY 11. 2022 – On a warm and sunny Wednesday afternoon, fans flocked to Ajax Downs to welcome back the Ontario Quarter Horses on the first day of the 53rd season of racing. For the first time in two years, Ajax Downs was able to begin its racing season on its usual early May date May after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start, and shortened the seasons in 2020 and 2021.
Fans and horsepeople alike were excited to be back for the first of 25 racing dates, which will include one special event Sunday each month through September in addition to its Wednesday race days.
Opening day also marked a successful return to the races for the 8-year-old stallion MARYLAND MAGIC who won a thrilling photo finish in the 110-yard Gridiron Gallop for his 14th win in a stellar career. Owned by Burlington’s Milena Kwiecien, Maryland Magic ended his 2021 campaign with a victory in the prestigious Alex Picov Memorial Championship at 440 yards. Maryland Magic, who also has started a successful stallion career in 2018 with his first crop of foals racing last season, is trained by Jason Pascoe and was ridden by Ismael Mosquiera.
“He’s a horse of a lifetime, really,” said Pascoe, Ajax Downs’ leading trainer of 2021. “He’s a perfect gentleman and he loves what he does.”
Trainer Scott Reid and jockey Carly Furlonger combined to win two races on opening day taking the first race of the season with the grey filly DAWNS EARLY LIGHT, purchased last fall from a sale in Oklahoma by owner John Wilson, and race three with Ontario-bred Rapter, who won a $13,000 allowance race for owners Reid and Colleen McCracken.
Other winners on opening day included PRINCESS LEIA, an Ontario sired and bred 5-year-old mare owned and bred by Marie Broadstock, trained by Bob Broadstock, and ridden by Ramiro Castillo and Craig Spada’s SCARLETTS CARTEL, who won a 3-year-old allowance race under jockey Helen Vane, the third woman rider to win on the afternoon.
Racing continues at Ajax Downs Wednesday, March 18, post time 1:30 p.m., and then on Sunday, May 22 (post time 12:55) which is Fan Appreciation Day.
You can view the entire 2022 racing schedule here.
Keep up to date on racing news and events at Ajax Downs by following us on social media @AjaxDowns and at www.ajaxdowns.com. For information on how you can become an owner or part-owner of a Quarter Horse, contact the Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario at www.qrooi.com.
Photo below – Ramiro Castillo gives the thumbs up after guiding Ontario sired and bred PRINCESS LEIA to victory in race 2 – Laurie Overton photo