FIRST COLD WAVE iced his competition in the 11th running of the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity.
AJAX DOWNS, SEPTEMBER 3, 2023 - On a sizzling hot Labour Day weekend afternoon, FIRST COLD WAVE iced his competition in the 11th running of the Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity at Ajax Downs. Sent off as the 7 to 2 second favourite by a large crowd attending Fan Appreciation Day at the track, First Cold Wave and substitute rider Helen Vanek broke sharply from post position 7 and were in an early duel with favoured Sugarmans Delight, owned by Joe Tavares. The pair battled it out to the finish of the 330-yard race with First Cold Wave winning by a head in a time of 16.779 for an impressive 101 speed index.
Sugarmans Delight, fresh off two consecutive wins this summer, was a length ahead of James Bogar's Im Aquick Corona, who landed third by a neck over the mare Night Fishn.
First Cold Wave and jockey Helen Vanek won the $40,860 Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity by a neck over favourite Sugarmans Delight at Ajax Downs on Fan Appreciation Day, Sept. 3. - New Image Media Photo
Vanek, who won two races on the afternoon, admitted she did not know a lot about the Jason Pascoe trainee First Cold Wave going into the Maturity.
"I have seen him race the last couple of years and I have adored him," said Vanek. "He was definitely accelerating with me today. He's got a lot of heart and he's a great horse."
Owned and bred by Robert Bailey of Oakwood, ON, First Cold Wave was the 2021 Ajax Downs Horse of the Year and won the 2022 Ontario Bred Derby. A winner once in five previous races in 2023, the son of Cold Hard Dash from the mare Cassies Carver has now won eight of 21 races and earned over $194,000.
"We just tried a couple of things with him [to change things up] today. He ran a beautiful race," said Bailey. "He's a lot of fun and a good boy."
Two horses owned and trained by James Bogar landed in a dead-heat for win in race 2. Jezzabella (inside) and Bogie Wheels could not be separated by the photo finish camera - New Image Media Photo
A racing rarity occurred earlier on the Ajax Downs card when two horses owned and trained by James Bogar of Cameron, dead-heated for first. The filly Jezzabella, ridden by Rachael Isaacs, and stablemate Bogie Wheels, with Ismael Mosquiera riding, could not be separated at the end of the 250-yard allowance race.
Jockey Ramiro Castillo won three races on the afternoon to draw within one victory of leading rider Brian Bell.
*Racing continues at Ajax Downs on Wednesday, September 13 with the finals of the Norman Picov Derby and Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity for 2-year-olds. Post time is 12:55 p.m.