05/21/2012 11:18AM

Northlands: Congrats Man brings good credentials into sprint feature

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Congrats Man looks like the one to beat in a first-level allowance race that will serve as Wednesday’s feature at Northlands Park. The six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds drew six horses and goes as the eighth race on a nine-race card that begins at 6 p.m. Mountain.

Trained by Greg Tracy, Congrats Man is coming off a neck win over next-out winner Deputy’s Command going 6 1/2 furlongs in an optional $30,000 maiden claiming race at Hastings on April 21. He also ran well in his first start in Vancouver this year, finishing third for the same condition going six furlongs. Congrats Man ran twice at Northlands in 2011 and in both races he finished second to pretty decent horses.

Dougs Buddy, who beat Congrats Man in the Edmonton Juvenile, won the $50,000 Birdcatcher and the Canadian Juvenile in his next two starts before going unplaced in the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs. Congrats Man’s second to Northern Yankee in a maiden special weight race was elevated when Northern Yankee won an optional $75,000 race on the Tampa Bay turf course on Jan. 22.

Rico Walcott, who was aboard Congrats Man for his win at Hastings, retains the mount.

Silent Sam was a gem of consistency as a 2-year-old and has been training forwardly for his 3-year-old debut. Trained by Albert Strumecki, Silent Sam compiled a 1-2-2 record from 5 starts last year. After winning a maiden special weight race in his third start, Silent Same finished third in the one-mile, $50,000 Alberta Premier Futurity. He closed out the year with a second-place finish behind Gabe’s Pride in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race.

Blue Highway wants more distance and trainer Craig Smith is using the race as a prep for something longer. It will be Blue Highway’s first start on dirt. He won a $32,000 maiden claiming race going 1 1/8 miles on turf at Tampa Bay on Feb. 23 and was claimed by Smith for $32,000 on behalf of True North Stable in his next start March 23. He went unplaced when he ran in an optional $75,000 race at Tampa Bay on April 6.

“We were looking for a three-turn horse when we claimed him,” said Smith. “He has handled the track well and he didn’t mind getting dirt in his face when he worked him behind horses. He’s a big horse, 17 hands, and he doesn’t have much speed. We just want to get a race into him and go from there.”