10/08/2011 11:14AM

Hastings: Sore feet could hinder Salt Flat Speed in Harvest Gold Plate


Trainer Jim Meyaard thinks he has two strong chances of winning the $50,000 Harvest Gold Plate with Paseo Alegro and Salt Flat Speed. The 1 1/16-mile Harvest Gold Plate for 3-year-olds and up drew nine horses and goes as race 12 on a 13-race card that will wind up the 2011 Northlands Park meet. Sharing the spotlight is the $50,000 Duchess of York for fillies and mares.

Salt Flat Speed has a superior record, but could be vulnerable. He has won five stakes races in the last two years at Northlands, but he has been fighting cracked heels and a foot abscess. He also could get a wide trip breaking from the outside post. He is coming off a sharp win in the Sun Sprint Championship on Sept. 3, and Meyaard scratched him out of a $40,000 optional claimer Friday night to run here. Meyaard liked way he trained Saturday morning.

“I think he’s going to be okay,” Meyaard said. “He went really well this morning, and if we can get him there, he’ll make them run.”

Fernando Perez picks up the mount from his usual rider, Rico Walcott, who will be aboard Paseo Alegro.

Paseo Alegro has won just three times and has less starts, nine, than Salt Flat Speed has wins, 14. Nonetheless, he is going to appreciate the shape of the race and figures to take a big step forward in his second start back following a four-month layoff. In his comeback race, he finished second to Reggie Dunlop going 6 1/2 furlongs in a $40,000 optional claimer Sept. 21.

“He’s training great and he’ll come running at them late,” Meyaard said. “If he gets a clean run, he should be right there.”

The horse the Meyaard pair will have to beat is Footprint. Trained by leading trainer Joan Petrowski, Footprint should appreciate the shorter distance after finishing fifth in the 1 3/8-mile, $75,000 Speed to Spare on Aug. 20. In his previous start, he won the 1 1/16-mile Westerner by two lengths over another Meyaard-trained horse, Professor Pollard.

Footprint has good speed, drew the rail, and should be involved right from the start.

Wild Crush and My Lucky Thirteen are coming off wins in restricted stakes races and will need to improve to keep up with a tough group of proven stakes winner. The same goes for Treasured Kitten who has won his last two races, including the Saskatchewan Derby at Marquis Downs on Sept. 10.

The 1 1/16-mile Duchess of York features a rematch between Miss Victoriana and Notoriously.

Trained by Red Smith, Miss Victoriana came from well back to beat Notoriously in the $50,000 Matron going 1 1/8 miles at Assiniboia Downs on Sept. 16. It was her first win of the year.

Notoriously has been the top older mare at Northlands, with wins in the Madamoiselle and City of Edmonton. In both races, Miss Victoriana finished third behind Summer Song. Notoriously has better tactical speed, which could give her the edge going around three turns. She is trained by Rod Cone.