Had to Be Ivory hopes to be perfect at Monday’s Picov Championship at Ajax Downs

Published October 8, 2022 at 9:50 am

Ontario bred Had to Be Ivory, undefeated in 2022, set a track record on Sept. 21 and headlines the $50,830 Alex Picov Memorial Championship on Thanksgiving Monday at Ajax Downs (New Image Media Photo)

Had to Be Ivory looks to cap a perfect season when he enters the starting gate for the $50,830 Alex Picov Memorial Championship on Thanksgiving Monday.

The 49th Picov Championship, for 3-year-olds and upward at 440-yards, is part of the popular Thanksgiving Monday card on October 10, which will also include a 770-yard ‘hook race’ and a pumpkin giveaway for the first 100 kids to decorate. Fans on track might also catch a glimpse of the ‘Headless Horseman’ during the afternoon. The first of nine races goes off at 12:55 p.m.

Had to Be Ivory, the 2019 horse of the Year, has already won all five of his races this year – including two stakes races – and will go off as the favourite.  The 7-year-old, bred in Hillsburgh, Ontario by Carol and Jaime Robertson and trained by Bryn Robertson, has won 21 of 27 career starts and earned more than $337,000 in purses, but has yet to win the championship,

The big, flash gelding was third in his lone attempt at the race last year but is arguably in the best form of his career, coming off a track record-setting victory at 440 yards in the $21,200 Distances Series on September 21, earning a career-best 112 speed index.

“I’ve never been on a horse that ran that fast,” said jockey Josh Scott, who also rides Thoroughbreds at Woodbine racetrack.

Three horses who finished behind Had to Be Ivory (Ivory James – Had to be Fandango) in the September 21 race – stakes winner Streakinlilwagon, Eye Live for Candy (this year’s top 3-year-old filly) and Spy for the Senate (third in the 2020 race), are back for another shot at him. The field is completed by stakes winner Jessaprimadonna.

Race 1 on Monday is the second-ever ‘hook’ race at Ajax Downs (a longer Quarter Horse race around a turn) and a field of six will travel 770 yards. Only two horses in the $14,500 ‘open’ race have tried a turn race, Jess a Deal, who won a non-wagering race last fall at 770 yards, and SW Artemisia, a multiple winner at 870 yards in the U.S.

You can watch and wager on the Ajax Downs Thanksgiving Monday card through www.HPIBet.com and catch the live stream of the races on the Ajax Downs’ Facebook page.

Field for the 49th Alex Picov Memorial Championship

Race 8, October 10; Purse $50,830; 3-year-olds and upward; 440 yards

PP Horse Jockey Trainer
1 Had to Be Ivory       J Scott             B Robertson
2 Eye Live for Candy   I E Mosqueira J Pascoe
3 Spy for the Senate   D I Benitez      J Pascoe
4 Jessaprimadonna    H M Vanek       L Spada
5 Streakinlilwagon     B Bell               J Pascoe

With files from Jennifer Morrison



INdurham's Editorial Standards and Policies