The 25th and final day of the 2023 Quarter Horse season at Ajax Downs was packed with drama and excitement throughout the afternoon.

The featured race, the $76,680 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity for two-year-olds, one of the richest Quarter Horse races in Canada, was won by the rising star HAWKIN THE STRAW, an Ontario-bred owned and bred by Erik and Joyce Lehtinen of Uxbridge. ON. The Futurity win by Hawkin the Straw also solidified the jockey title for Brian Bell.

Ajax Downs also hosted its first-ever Battle of the Breeds, an 870-yard race around a turn for Quarter Horses versus Thoroughbreds. This inaugural Battle of the Breeds offered an $8,000 purse and attracted four entries. The exciting dash was won by Magen Finnessy’s AZURES ROYALTY, an Ontario-bred Quarter Horse who battled on the lead with the Thoroughbred Red Maple, trained by Joe Humber from Fort Erie and ridden by Christopher Husbands, and another Quarter Horse, Maryland Magic, guided by D I Benitez, before pulling away to a 1 3/4 length win. Ridden by Neil Husbands and trained by Brooke Sisson, Azures Royalty raced the distance in 47.07. Devil in Her Heart, an Ontario-bred Thoroughbred trained by Roy Agostino, was fourth. Miah Said (TB) was a vet scratch.

Ajax Downs hopes to put on a couple of Battle of the Breeds races each month in the 2024 season, which is scheduled to kick off in May.

Watch the race here:



~ with files from Ajax Downs