Ajax Downs has a special occasion this year, as it celebrates half a century of operation and this has already transformed the live racing schedule for this summer. July 14 was the special day that saw the anniversary celebrations in their most heated point with thousands of enthusiasts making their way to the horse racing location. Over the past 50 years, the complex located on Highway 2 has been perceived as a hotspot like no other.
Major milestones are celebrated with an appraisal of the past, the achievements that have been associated with it, as well as the individuals that have started it all with the idea of excellence. Such is the case of Ajax Downs that has previously been referred to as Picov Downs. This comes as no surprise, as Alex Picov has a pivotal role in the racetrack’s past – he is the founding father of Quarter horse racing in the area, an activity that changes lives.
50 Years of Operation Celebration
Ever since 1969, the area has been heated by live racing, at first with close friends and horse enthusiasts, only to become a major hotspot later on. Russian Alex Picov shared part of his farm with his dream of seeing live horse racing in the Durham region and this eventually brought to live a racetrack welcoming Quarter horse racing on a regular basis.
The year 1971 was a game-changing one, as the American Quarter Horse Association offered its substantial support improving future operation and alleviating the burden of Picov Downs. This is how the location was commonly referred to at that point and up until 2005. A signature feature of this racetrack was the J-shaped track that became its signature and made it recognizable across Ontario.
This is the sole Quarter horse racing location in the Eastern half of Canada and as such, it has been a preferred location diversifying the local field. This year’s live racing schedule brought riveting dog races that made it even more appealing. Dachshund racing has shown an increase in popularity especially with the rise of social media.
Gaming Amasses CA$80 Million in Allocations
This made the July 14 even more special, as locals had the chance to enjoy diverse racing. It should be taken into account that the racetrack offers live races on Sundays and Mondays with post time 12:55 p.m. This is not the only thing that has been driving the racetrack forward, as gaming operation has also been a selling point. Slots operation on site has been able to generate some CA$80 million in gaming revenue allocations.
This financial support has then been reinvested in the community via various local projects, but the year 2012 saw a major shakeup as Ontario lawmakers announced the end of the renowned Slots-at-Racetracks Program fueling major racetracks. This spelled disaster for the racetrack, funded by the gaming operation. Now it is known that some 500 slot devices would continue operating on site under the Great Canadian Gaming management.
In addition to that, it is also planning on working on its new casino complex in Pickering – Durham Live. The casino venue located there is going to feature more than 2,700 slot machines and 1,000 table games and projections show that it would not bring cannibalization to the field. The two casino locations target a different group of people with different preferences.