Blog Breeders Post

Cnd Bred AQHA Horse of the Year Had to Be Ivory Stretches Winning Streak to Seven

Ontario-bred Had to Be Ivory has his ears pricked as he easily wins the $30,375 Norman Picov Maturity on May 17. (Clive Cohen/New Image Media photo)
Jockey Josh Scott takes a victorious leap off Had to Be Ivory (Clive Cohen photo)
AJAX DOWNS, MAY 18, 2023 – Making his 8-year-old debut, reigning Horse of the Year HAD TO BE IVORY showed no signs of slowing down as he romped to an easy 1 1/4 length win in the $30,375 Norman Picov Maturity at Ajax Downs on Wednesday. This was the fourth time Had to Be Ivory, owned and bred by Carol and Jaime Robertson of Hillsburgh, ON, has won the Maturity, the first stakes race of the Quarter Horse season.
“It’s incredible,” said jockey Josh Scott to Ajax Downs’ guest interviewer Terry Johnson, the popular host of the morning show on CKDO Durham radio. “The energy he has, he just keeps getting better.”
Trained by Bryn Robertson, Had to Be Ivory was bet down to 2 to 5 in the seven-horse field which included a pair of champions half his age: 2021 Horse of the Year First Cold Wave and the champion 3-year-old filly of 2022, Eye Live for Candy, both trained by Jason Pascoe.
After breaking quickly from post position two, Had to be Ivory was quickly in front of his rivals and never challenged. First Cold Wave finished second for owner Robert Bailey and Eye Live for Candy finished fast for third. The time for 300 yards was 15.364 for a 97 speed index.
It was the seventh straight victory for Had to Be Ivory dating back to his undefeated 2022 campaign. The son of Ivory James – Had to Be Fandango has won 23 of 29 career races and his earnings are over $376,000, making him one of the richest Ontario bred Quarter Horses in history.
“He’s never been worse than fourth in his career,” said Bryn Robertson. “He’s just a sweetheart at the barn and easy to handle. He just does everything right.”
*The combination of owner Milena Kwiecien, trainer Jason Pascoe and jockey JB Botello won two races on the May 17 card. SW Snowmagicallykool, a daughter of Kwiecien’s stallion Maryland Magic (who still races), won race 2 while Spy for the Senate, who doubles as a stallion and racehorse, won the fourth-race allowance event for his 13th career victory.
*Racing continues at Ajax Downs next Wednesday, May 24 with the final of the Open Derby for 3-year-olds. First race post time is 1:30 p.m. Don’t forget to check out all our race dates and special events at and follow us on social media, @AjaxDowns.


Blog Breeders Post

What’s Good for Your Breeding Business Can Also be Good for Your Community

Promotion and marketing of one’s breeding program is an ever evolving field in today’s world. Ryan Fleetwood of Fleetwood Farms Quarter Horses based in southern Alberta has found a way to market a chosen foal each year, and benefit a local charitable organization. Fleetwood discovered that the Alberta government allows raffles to be conducted when applied for by a charitable organization, so he approached one local group in 2020 with the idea to do a percentage split if they’d get the raffle license and he would do the marketing to sell tickets. It worked and that first year they sold out $10,000 worth of tickets in 16 hours! In 2021, with the same agreement with another home town charitable organization, they sold out $15,000 worth of tickets in a matter of days.

Fleetwood is fourth generation rancher and AQHA breeder on their ranch near Champion, Alberta. Ryan and his wife Brandy are raising their children on the same place and in the same house as 4 generations of Fleetwoods have lived in before them, and their community is important to them. Fleetwood says “the beauty of this is that money is coming in from outside of the typical area that would pay taxes or donate to support these types of groups because it is through the Fleetwood Farms Quarter Horses network that the tickets are sold.” Frankly, at $50 for a 1/300 chance of winning a foal, the price is great and the odds are even better. It’s a price many people can afford for the chance to win the foal and even if they don’t win, they are satisfied to know that some of their purchase price is going to support a worthy cause.

It’s a win, win, win situation for all involved! In today’s world, it is important that people support local charities and stay involved inside their own communities, in a day and age when they really don’t have to. If you have something to market, think outside the box!



About Ryan Fleetwood of Fleetwood Farms Quarter Horses:

Ryan is an AQHA Professional Horseman, and has been honoured by AQHA’s Legacy Breeder’s program as a Twenty-five year breeders as of 1999.
Fleetwood Farms Quarter Horses won CQHA’s  “Best Remuda Award” in Canada 2021.
Blog Breeders Post Youth Post

Spooks Big Bang & Brianna Carr

Brianna Carr & Spooks Big Bang the 2020 Virtual Youth World Cup Reining Bronze Mentalist & "Bubba's" owners Brian and Giselle Aebly.
Spooks Big Bang (Spooks Gotta Gun x Licky Little Latte) is a 2012 AQHA stallion with NRHA lifetime earnings in excess of $39,000

In December 2020, seven youth from across Canada competed in six events as a part of the 2020 AQHA Virtual Youth World Cup. The World Cup was originally scheduled for July 2020 in the Netherlands but due to covid-19 restrictions, the event was cancelled and rescheduled to a virtual format. Under the guidance of the team coach, Della Cryderman, and team manager, Karen Westerback, riders participated in all-round events such as reining, ranch riding, english equitation, showmanship, western horsemanship, and trail. 

My name is Brianna Carr and I had the honour of being on team Canada 2020 and competing with the amazing stallion, Spooks Big Bang (Bubba). I rode Bubba in both the ranch riding and the reining, and I was fortunate enough to be awarded an individual bronze medal in the reining with him.

 Spooks Big Bang (Spooks Gotta Gun x Licky Little Latte) is a 2012 AQHA stallion with NRHA lifetime earnings in excess of $39,000. Bubba has been shown in open aged events with Locke Duce, non pro aged events with Pearl and Giselle Aebly, and now in youth events with myself. Some of Bubba’s biggest achievements include 2015 L2-L3 NRHA Futurity finalist, 2015 Reining Alberta L4 open champion, 2016 Big Sky Reining Classic L4 open and 4-year-old derby champion, and 2018 non pro prime time high point at the NRHA Derby.

Bubba is an extremely well-mannered stallion and is truly one of the nicest horses I have ever had the pleasure to ride. He is stunning and completes manoeuvres with grace and ease. Before the competition I had only rode Bubba once due to snowy conditions but his kind personality and willingness to please made him very easy to get along with. The NRHA definition of reining states that a horse should be “willingly guided” and Spooks Big Bang demonstrates this with ease. When showing him I was able to have a draped rein and he gave me everything I asked of him without hesitation.

Bubba is an extraordinary athlete, and I am so blessed to be able to compete with him. Though this year presented some unexpected circumstances, this experience was amazing and unforgettable, and I am so glad that I got to experience it with such a special stallion.

The bronze winning run can be found on YouTube at Team Canada Reining. More information about Spooks Big Bang can be found on the Spooks Big Bang Facebook Page.