Firstprize Charlotte take top prize at Ajax Downs Futurity race

Published August 19, 2022 at 6:40 am

Firstprize Charlotte with jockey Tony Phillips grabs victory in the $62,190 Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity at Ajax Downs on August 17  (New Image Media/Clive Cohen photo)

Richard Wincikaby’s homebred 2-year-old filly Firstprize Charlotte dug in and grabbed a narrow victory in an exciting renewal of the Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity at Ajax Downs on August 17.

It was just the third career start for the Ontario-bred daughter of Dashair, who is trained by Michelle Woodley and was ridden for the first time by Tony ‘TP’ Phillips. Breaking from post position five in the 10-horse field, Firstprize Charlotte was away smartly and was just clear of a lot of bumping between her rivals behind her.  The bay filly fended off an early challenge from Adreamtobuildakisson and Daz Cold to win by a neck as the even-money choice.

Daz Cold, owned by Milena Kwiecien and trained by Jason Pascoe, held second over a closing A Shades of Cold, owned by Amelie Aubut.  Firstprize Charlotte sped the 300- yards in 17.113 for an 89 speed index and collected $24,877 for the victory.

Firstprize Charlotte had won her career debut in sensational style, winning by an easy two lengths in a maiden race on June 15. The filly had become unsettled in the gate in her next start in the Ontario Bred Futurity on July 6 and finished fifth as the heavy favourite.

“She came apart a little bit last time,” said John McInerney, a former leading rider at Ajax Downs’ who now prepares horses with his partner Michelle Woodley. “The stress got to her that day but we worked with her and got it together. My wife did a great job.”

Wincikaby, who is from New Liskeard, has raced a lot of American purchases with success at Ajax Downs and only recently started breeding his own Quarter Horses to race.

“It’s a little different feeling when it’s your own horse that can win a race like this,” said Wincikaby. “I have to thank John and Michelle and Tony for working with this filly.”

Firstprize Charlotte’s dam, Ms. First Prize Pearl, won four straight races for Wincikaby at Ajax Downs in 2017 before she was retired to be a broodmare.

Two Trials for the $50,000 Picov Derby were also held on the August 17 card and both were won by horses owned by Kwiecien and trained by Pascoe. Eye Live For Candy, winner of the Princess Derby on June 19, coasted to an easy win in the first Trial under jockey Ismael Mosquiera while SW The Redeemer held off 2021 horse of the Year First Cold Wave to win the second Trial under jockey JB Botello. The final for the Picov Derby will be held on September 4.

There is a special event Sunday card of racing on August 21 as Ajax Downs hosts its popular Family Fun Day.

All proceeds from the afternoon’s activities for kids and families will benefit the Ajax-Pickering Hospital Foundation. There will be kid’s games, a chance to run on the Ajax Downs Quarter Horse track, a $5 barbeque special and the first 1,000 kids receive a loot bag with a minimum donation.

The day begins at 10 a.m.

On track, there will be plenty of excitement with the 11th running of the Ontario Bred Maturity, which offers a purse of $39,240. The Maturity goes as race 6 with a post time of 3:10 p.m. and first race post time for the afternoon’s racing card is 12:55 p.m.

Headlining the Maturity, which is at the challenging distance of 400 yards for 4-year-olds and upward, is champion Had To Be Ivory, the 2019 Horse of the Year who has won all three of his races in 2022. Owned and bred by Carol and Jaime Robertson of HIllsburgh, ON, and trained by Carol’s husband Bryn, Had to Be Ivory has 19 career wins in 25 races and earnings of more than $309,000. The 7-year-old won this race in 2021 and meets four rivals on Sunday with jockey Cory Spataro riding.

Ralph Pearson’s tough gelding Countrys Coming Bac, third to Had to Be Ivory in the Picov Maturity, will try to upset his arch-rival from post position 1 with Cassandra Jeschke riding. Sugarmans Delight, winner of the Ontario Sires stakes Maturity in his last race, is another tough old-timer and the 9-year-old owned by Christine Tavares will be ridden by Ed Walton from post 2. Completing the field is recent winner Twixt of Fate, owned and trained by Barry Wood with Tony Phillips up, and Countryfried Chicken, the 2021 Ontario Derby winner, with Ricardo Moreno riding for owner Milena Kwiecien.

With files from Jennifer Morrison





Firstprize Charlotte with jockey Tony Phillips grabs victory in the $62,190 Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity at Ajax Downs on August 17 

(New Image Media/Clive Cohen photo)

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