Snow Moose breaks maiden in richest race of the season on Ajax Downs’ final card of the year

Published October 27, 2022 at 1:41 pm

Milena Kwiecien's Snow Moose broke his maiden in the $93,870 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity on closing day of the Ajax Downs' 2022 season - Clive Cohen/New Image Media photo

The towering 2-year-old grey gelding Snow Moose picked a good time to win his maiden race as Milena Kwiecien’s Ontario bred captured the $93,870 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity, the richest race for Quarter Horses in Canada, on closing day at Ajax Downs on October 26.

On a rainy afternoon which left the main track sloppy by Futurity post time, Snow Moose and jockey Brian Bell charged down the middle of the track to win the 400-yard Futurity as the third choice at 7 to 2 in the field of eight, winning by a neck over favoured Valiant Chick Insnow.

Owned by Burlington’s Milena Kwiecien, Ajax Downs’ leading owner, and trained by leading conditioner Jason Pascoe of Pontypool, Snow Moose was winning for the first time in his fifth career race, following a strong second-place finish to Valiant Chick InSnow in a Trial for the Futurity on October 5. Valiant Chick InSnow, also owned by Kwiecien and trained by Pascoe, was second by a neck over Belinda Taggart’s Maximize with A Shades of Cold a half-length back in fourth.

Snow Moose, who began his career in Oklahoma and New Mexico in the summer, had post position eight in the eight-horse field and was bet down to 7 to 2 for the Futurity, paying $9.80 to win. Snow Moose, a grey son of Separate Interest – Favorite Pearl ran the distance in 20.099 for an impressive 93 speed index.

“I was pretty confident in my horse,” said Bell, 40, who was winning his 749th career race. “As big as he is, it was not too bad and on the outside, the track was pretty good. I thought that we had won fairly easily at first but didn’t realize Milena’s other horse [Valiant Chick InSnow] was that close on the inside.”

Kwiecien has built up a successful Quarter Horse breeding program in just a few years and raced both Snow Moose’s dam, Favorite Pearl, and the dam of Valiant Chick Insnow, A J Chick in 15 at Ajax Downs.

“It’s an incredible feeling to have bred such a nice horse,” said Kwiecien. “He’s such a big horse and I knew he would have to run them down.”

Snow Moose collected $37,549 for his first career win from five races, boosting his career earnings to over $41,000.

Jockey Tony Phillips, who won three races on the 11-race card, won a tight battle for the 2022 leading rider at Ajax Downs over Ramiro Castillo, who also won three races on the last day of racing, and Brian Bell.

The 2022 Ajax Downs Awards will be presented at its annual banquet on February 18, 2023 at the Ajax Convention Centre.

Ajax Downs’ Quarter Horse racing will return in May 2023.  Ajax Downs is open for simulcast wagering throughout the winter racing season.

Replay of the 22nd Alex Picov Memorial Futurity – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir0bmo3I6tU

Snow Moose with owner Milena Kwiecien (holding horse), trainer Jason Pascoe (second from left) and jockey Brian Bell (far right) – New Image Media photo

With files from Jennifer Morrison

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