06/28/2012 10:32AM

Northlands: Double Shuffle gets class relief in Saturday feature


Double Shuffle hasn’t won for a while but he may have found the right spot to get back on track when he runs in a $30,000 claiming race that will serve as Saturday’s feature at Northlands Park. The one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up goes as race 8 and Double Shuffle is clearly the class of the six-horse field.

Trained by Robertino Diodoro, Double Shuffle was the champion older handicap horse at Northlands in 2010. He won the $75,000 Speed to Spare and closed out the meet with a win in the $50,000 Harvest Gold Plate, which was the last time he won a race. Following his win in the Harvest Gold Plate, Double Shuffle headed to New Mexico where he finished fourth in a couple of stakes races on dirt at Zia Park and Sunland Park. Since then it has been all grass, and while he has been competitive – finishing third in five of his last six starts, which came at Turf Paradise and Santa Anita – he hasn’t been able to get over the top.

In Double Shuffle’s latest start he came from well back to finish third in the $35,000 Hasta La Vista at Turf Paradise. The winner of the race was Northern Indy, who finished second behind Freedoms Traveller in last year’s Grade 3 Canadian Derby.

Double Shuffle looks like the one to beat with Jorge Carreno riding. He is getting class relief, is back at his favorite track, and has compiled a solid 5-2-2 record from 9 starts at the distance. He will need an honest pace to work with and there is plenty of potential speed in the field.

Unbridled Fury came from a stalking position to finish third in a $30,000 claiming sprint in his first start at Northlands, which came for trainer Linda Kropius June 17. But he figures to be involved right from the start Saturday in his first try going around three turns. He was a sharp horse at Turf Paradise, scoring front-running wins in back-to-back races going 7 1/2 furlongs on grass. Kropious claimed him for $10,000 out of his last win in Arizona March 31.

Real Dingo hasn’t shown a lot of speed in his two sprints at Northlands, but in both of his wins going 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park he led all the way. His last win was in a $10,000 claiming race for nonwinners of two March 30, and he was claimed out of the race by trainer Tim Rycroft, who was acting on behalf of Curtis Landry.

First Fire, Against the Tide, and Major Temper are all looking for a first win of 2012.