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Ajax Downs preview: Plenty at stake on Holiday Monday

Championship titles are on the line at Ajax Downs on Monday, Oct. 9 as the Quarter Horse track holds its two biggest stakes events of the season.
 
A pumpkin giveaway and on-track farmers’ market adds to what should be an exciting Thanksgiving Monday.
 
The Alex Picov Memorial Championship, worth $86,800, pits the two leading older horses of the 2017 season, Country Boy 123 (pictured) and One Famous Glass, in their fourth meeting.
 
Country Boy 123, the 2016 Horse of the Year, has won two stakes races this season over One Famous Glass, but that 7-year-old veteran surprised the champ in the Sept. 3 Bank of America Challenge.
 
Their most recent meeting was in the All Canadian Classic on Sept. 18 in which Country Boy 123, owned by Ruth Barbour of Hillsburgh, ON, led all the way under regular rider Cory Spataro to defeat his rival by a length.
 
The Picov Memorial, at 440 yards, is at the same, longer distance as the Bank of America Challenge.
 
“He’s had a great season,” said Barbour, of Country Boy 123. “I guess the 440-yard distance is a bit of an unknown but the day he lost, he was very flat.”
 
Country Boy 123, a four-year-old, has won four of five races this season and 10 of 17 in his career. One Famous Glass has 17 wins in 36 career races.
 
Both horses are trained by Bryn Robertson.
 
Also in the field of eight is 2015 Horse of the Year Fiesty Icon, Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity winner Alakazaam, and improving three-year-old Hickerson.
 
The Picov Memorial goes as race seven.
 
The richest race of the year, the $112,850 Alex Picov Memorial Futurity for two-year-olds, is headlined by the undefeated Had to Be Ivory, also from the Robertson stable.


Had to Be Ivory 

The tall, Ontario bred gelding won the John Deere Challenge in July and won the fastest trial of three trials for the Picov Futurity on Sept. 18.
 
The 10-horse field also includes trial winners Island Vodka, owned by Milena Kwiecien of Burlington, ON, and Renee Wilson’s Express Your Desire.
 
The Futurity is carded as race nine.
 
Post time for Monday’s 10-race card is 12:55 p.m.

By Jennifer Morrison

Photos by New Image Media

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