Valiant Chick Insnow and A Shades of Cold bring the heat at Picov Futurity Trials at Ajax Downs

Published October 6, 2022 at 10:35 am

Valiant Chick Insnow won the fastest of two trials for the $75,000 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity on October 5 at Ajax Downs.                  (New Image Media photo)

The stage is set for an exciting final of the $75,000 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity after two Trials for the richest race at Ajax Downs produced two thrilling finishes with some of the best 2-year-old Quarter Horses in Ontario.

The Futurity final will be held on October 26, the closing day of the Ajax Downs meeting.

Valiant Chick Insnow, a diminutive filly owned by Milena Kwiecien of Burlington and trained by Jason Pascoe of Pontypool, won the slightly faster of the two Trials in race 3 Wednesday, grabbing the lead midway through the 400-yard dash to win by three-quarters of a length under jockey J.B. Botello. The dark bay filly, bred by Kwiecien in Oklahoma, stopped the clock in 20.221 for a 90 speed index. Finishing fast for second was another juvenile from the Kwiecien and Pascoe team, the big grey gelding Snow Moose, making his Ajax Downs debut in his first race since July. Big Dog Racing Stable’s Francesca was 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

“She broke really good,” said Botello. “Another one came in front of me a bit but my filly was really good.”

Valiant Chick Insnow is the first foal of popular Ajax Downs mare A J Chick in 15, who won seven races and over $100,000 for Kwiecien, the leading owner at Ajax Downs in 2022. This was the second straight win for Valiant Chick Insnow who won her maiden at Ajax Downs on Sept. 14 after five previous outings in the United States.

The second Trial for the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity was won by Ontario sired and bred A Shades of Cold, owned by Amelia Aubut of Pont-Rouge, Quebec. The sorrel gelding, trained by Pascoe and ridden by Ismael Mosquiera, chased speedy Maximize, early in the dash and then took over to win by three-quarters of a length in 20.313 for an 88 speed index. Maximize finished second with race favourite Firstprize Charlotte landing third.

“He’s very fast out of the gate,” said Mosquiera. “What I was trying to do today is to teach him to finish strongly, rather than go all out from the gate. He was pretty steady and then he started to pick it up at the 200-yard mark to the wire and then we cruised. I didn’t want him to empty out today knowing [Valiant Chick Insnow] ran pretty fast in the first Trial.”

A Shade of Cold, a son of young Ontario stallion Cold Hard Dash, won his first career start and was third in the Ontario Sires Futurity and second in the Bonus Futurity in his most recent start.

“I am so proud,” said Aubut, who is in her fifth year of racing Quarter Horses. “He is my first homebred to race.”

*Ajax Downs hosts the popular ‘Pumpkin Day’ on Thanksgiving Monday, October 10 with the first 100 children receiving a pumpkin for decorating. There will also be an appearance by the Headless Horseman and prize giveaways. Post time for the first race on October 10 is 12:55 p.m.

With files from Jennifer Morrison

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