Had To be Ivy takes Princess Derby at Ajax Downs

Published August 10, 2023 at 12:42 pm

Had to Be Ivy (inside) and jockey Josh Scott surge to victory in the $51,930 Princess Derby over a fast-closing Silver Lyning. Photo by New Image Media

Carol and Jaime Robertson’s Had To be Ivy powered to victory in the 9th running of the Princess Derby at Ajax Downs Wednesday, posting a mild upset in the 350-yard race for 3-year-old Quarter Horse fillies.

The $51,930 race attracted a strong field of 10 and Milena Kwiecien’s Valiant Chick Insnow, coming off her fourth career win, was made the heavy favourite at even money. Had to Be Ivy, a full sister to Horse of the Year Had to Be Ivory, was the 3 to 1 second choice having finished fourth to the top 3-year-old male, Snow Moose in the Ontario Bred Derby.

Had to Be Ivy and jockey Josh Scott broke well from post position two and grabbed the lead while Valiant Chick Insnow and jockey JB Botello got bumped around by a chain reaction involving several fillies. Halfway through the race, Had to Be Ivy had her head in front of Dam I’m Relentless and then held off a fast-closing Silver Lyning, a 20 to 1 shot owned and trained by Michelle Woodley, to win by a neck. Another Woodley trainee, Firstprize Charlotte was up for third place but was demoted to 10th for causing interference at the start. Kati On Fire, owned by a partnership of new owners, was moved up to third.

Had to Be Ivy, trained by Bryn Robertson, raced the distance in 17.710 for a solid 98 speed index. She paid $8.60 to win.

It was the second career win in nine starts for Had to Be Ivy, a daughter of Ivory James from the Robertson family’s mare Had to Be Fandango, who passed away earlier this year.

“She’s a spicy filly,” said Jaime Robertson. “I have to hand it to my husband Mike [Bryn’s son] as he’s been training her really well. We are super happy. This is a tribute to her mum who we lost this year.”

Snow Moose solidified his position as the best 3-year-old in Canada with his fourth consecutive win on Wednesday, defeating fellow 3-year-old One Fabulous Wave and the accomplished older horse Had to Be Relentless in a $12,000 allowance race. The Ontario bred grey gelding, owned by Kwiecien and trained by Jason Pascoe, won the Ontario Bred Derby in his most recent start and the Open Derby in May. The Picov Derby, held on Sept. 13, is Snow Moose’s next target.

Racing continues at Ajax Downs next Wednesday, August 16 with the first running of the $30,000 Princess Maturity at 400 yards for 4-year-olds and upward, fillies and mares. First race post time is 1:30 p.m.

PRINCESS DERBY REPLAYhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdPlGr5DCmg

With files from Jennifer Morrison

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