07/04/2011 9:11AM

Northlands: Derive finds a softer spot

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Derive will appreciate the class relief when he runs in a second-level allowance race for 3-year-olds and up at Northlands Park Wednesday. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint drew six horses and is a part of an excellent nine-race card that begins at 6 p.m. Mountain.

If Derive can come close to posting the kind of Beyer Speed Figures he earned on turf and synthetic tracks last year, he will be tough to beat on the Northlands dirt. Racing in Southern California, Derive compiled a solid 2-5-2 record from 9 starts in 2010 and consistently earned Beyer Speed Figures in the mid-80s. He closed out the year with a win over Concerto’s Thunder in a first-level allowance race on the turf at Del Mar Aug. 10. In his first start this year he finished last in a $32,000 claiming race that was washed off the turf at Santa Anita. He was claimed out of the race by trainer Robertino Diodoro on behalf of Rick West and his new connections brought him back for the same price at Hollywood Park May 6 where he flashed good speed before tiring to finish fifth.

In his first start at Northlands, Derive chased Salt Flat Speed and Footprint before fading to fifth in the $50,000 Journal Handicap June 11. Derive is taking a big drop in class and could be the controlling speed from the rail with Jorge Carreno aboard.

Road Talk looks like the main threat off of a sharp win at this level in his first start at the meet. Trained by Jim Meyaard, Road Talk forced an honest pace before pulling away in the stretch to beat Airo Faith by two lengths in the six-furlong sprint June 15. It was his first win since he romped by 16 3/4 lengths in a one-mile $12,000 maiden claiming race last July 25. Prior to his latest win he finished last in the $75,000 Gus/Fonner, won by his stablemate Andiotis at Fonner Park April 30.

My Lucky Thirteen will be making his first start as an older horse for trainer Twylla Bensmiller. In his last two starts as a 3-year-old he finished third in the $50,000 Beaufort Sept. 18 and fourth in the $49,000 3 & 4-year-old Sales Oct. 2. Prior to his first two tries with stakes company he won a $15,000 claimer for nonwinners of two.

Airo Faith figures to be involved right from the start but will be under serious pressure from Derive.

Dashforpeace and Vicar’s Ice Pick round out the field.