07/25/2012 1:23PM

Northlands: Candy and Nuts finds softer spot in Friday feature

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Candy and Nuts will appreciate the easier company she will be facing in a $20,000 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies that will serve as Friday’s feature at Northlands Park. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint drew five horses and goes as the first race.

Candy and Nuts has the kind of tactical speed that wins a lot of races on bullrings and there should be an honest pace for her to stalk. Trained by Cindy Cummins, Candy and Nuts had won three of her last four starts before tackling stakes fillies and finishing a distant third in the $50,000 Chariot Chaser on June 17. She was coming off a win over Our New Tie in a $12,000 claiming race going six furlongs in her first start at Northlands.

Candy and Nuts began her career in Southern California, but prior to shipping to Northlands she ran three times at Turf Paradise. In her first start for Cummins she won a $30,000 maiden optional claiming race Jan. 30 and then came right back to win an $8,000 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies March 12. Both races were contested at 5 1/2 furlongs and each time she stalked the early pace before mowing down the leaders in the stretch. She had a poor start when she finished fifth in a $16,000 claiming race for nonwinners of three in her final start in Arizona.

A hot pace is likely on Friday with speedsters Momma’s Gone Wild and Miss Caterina in the field.

Momma’s Gone Wild couldn’t keep up with older fillies and mares when she ran in a $30,000 optional claiming race a week ago, but she fits nicely here. In her previous start she set a quick pace before tiring late in a $20,000 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies June 17 for trainer Red Smith. She was claimed out of the race by trainer Gerry Marks.

Miss Caterina will try and regroup after finishing last as the favorite in a 3 1/2-furlong $32,000 optional race on May 16. It was her first start for trainer Tim Rycroft, who haltered her out of a $25,000 claiming race at Gulfstream Park on March 18. She won the race and she also won a $60,000 maiden claiming race when she made her debut, which came for trainer Todd Pletcher at Saratoga last year.

Our New Tale should appreciate the shape of the race, as will Countryfire, who is dropping in class after finishing sixth in the $50,000 R.K. Smith Handicap on July 14.

Track surface problems continue
Continued problems with the racing surface at Northlands Park caused management to cancel Wednesday’s card. The final five races last Sunday were also cancelled due to damage caused by heavy rainfall on Saturday.
According to Chris Roberts, venue director at Northlands, the extreme rainfall has caused damage to the base of the track. Northlands called in contractors to repair the track using a combination of soil and cement on Wednesday, but they had to stop when it started raining.
The track will be open for training Thursday morning.
“We need 7 to 8 hours of dry weather to complete the repairs,” said Roberts. “There is better weather forecast tomorrow so hopefully we can get back to work on it after training hours are completed. Safety is a priority in everything we do and it’s become clear that the recent weather has left us with a situation that doesn’t meet our standard.”