AJAX DOWNS, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 2022 – On the day that he was presented with the Canadian Quarter Horse Association’s 2022 AQHA Trainer of the Year award, trainer Bryn Robertson of Hillsburgh, ON sent out champion HAD TO BE IVORY to win the $29,880 Picov Maturity at Ajax Downs.
Had to Be Ivory, the 2019 Horse of the Year making his first start as a 7-year-old, was quick out of the gate at the start of the 300-yard dash and caught front runner Countrys Comin Bac in time to win handily by three-quarters of a length in the fast time of 15.214 for a 102 speed index Carneros, owned by Milena Kwicien of Burlington and ridden by Brian Bell, was up for second by a nose over nine-year-old Countrys Comin Bac, owned by Ralph Pearson.
Sent off as the 4 to 5 favourite against a strong field of eight other older horses, Had to Be Ivory paid $3.90 to win. Bred in Ontario, Had to Be Ivory is owned and was bred by Robertson’s wife Carol and daughter-in-law Jaime. The9th running of the Picov Maturity was the son of Ivory James’ 17th win in 23 career races. He now has earnings of over $292,000.
Scott, who was riding Had to Be Ivory for the first time, said the gelding had trained well coming into the Maturity and was sharp and ready for the Maturity. “He was leaning a little bit in the gate but I corrected him and he stood like a statue,” said Scott. “After that, he just exploded out of there and I just let him go.”
Robertson, a longtime member of the Quarter Horse racing scene in Ontario, prepared Had to be Ivory at the family’s Hillerin Farm this winter. “My son, Mike, he gallops him at home, his wife Jaime helps out and my wife Carol feeds the horses. It’s a family affair.”
Robertson received the CQHA Award for his contributions to the Quarter Horse breed in Canada, encompassing all disciplines of sport in addition to racing.
*Two Trial races for the $50,000 Princess Derby were also held on the June 1 card at Ajax Downs and both were won by 3-year-old fillies owned by Milena Kwiecien, trained by Jason Pascoe of Pontypool, and ridden by Ismael Mosquiera.
EYE LIVE FOR CANDY won the first Trial and set the fastest time of the two splits of 17.951 for 350 yards, edging John Wilson’s Oh My Gawd by a neck. The second Trial was won by Ontario-sired SW SNOWMAGICALLYKOOL, a daughter of Kwiecien’s stallion Maryland Magic, who won by a neck in a time of 17.968, the second-fastest time of all fillies in the Trials, over Don Reid’s JTC Lil Moonbar.
The $50,000 final of the Princess Derby, with the 10-fastest qualifiers, will be held on a special Father’s Day card of racing on Sunday, June 19.
*Racing at Ajax Downs continues on Wednesday, June 8
with a first race post time of 1:30 p.m. For more information on racing dates and the special event Sundays, visit www.ajaxdowns.com
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