06/09/2011 8:05AM

Northlands-loving Salt Flat Speed tough in Journal Handicap


Salt Flat Speed will attempt to extend his Northlands Park winning streak to five when he tackles a solid group of older horses in the $50,000 Journal Handicap Saturday. The six-furlong Journal attracted six horses, but Salt Flat Speed is clearly the one to beat.

Trained by Jim Meyaard, Salt Flat Speed is a pretty nice horse on any track, but at Northlands he is something special. From 13 career starts in Edmonton, he has compiled an impressive 9-3-1 record. He was an easy winner of the Journal last year and then closed out his Canadian campaign with romps in the one-mile Spangled Jimmy and the Don Fleming at 1 1/16 miles. Due to a foot abscess, Meyaard gave Salt Flat Speed some time off after the Don Fleming.

In his only race this year, Salt Flat Speed earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure for his 6 1/4-length win in an allowance race at Fonner Park May 1. He surprised Meyaard when he worked a bullet five furlongs at Northlands in 59.60 seconds May 1.

“I thought he would go at least a second slower,” said Meyaard. “He is doing very well right now and he came back after the work like he had gone 1:03 and change. He should be pretty tough.”

Salt Flat Speed is coupled with Andiotis, who probably wants more distance. Andiotis is coming off of a five-length win at 1 1/16 miles in the $75,000 Bosselman/Gus Fonner Stakes at Fonner Park April 30.

The main threat to the Meyaard pair is Heavenly Chorus.

Heavenly Chorus, trained by Greg Tracy, looked sharp winning a $40,000 optional race May 22 that included 2010 local horse of the year No Hesitation. In his previous start, Heavenly Chorus just missed to St. Liams Halo in a $35,000 optional race at Hastings. St. Liams Halo came back to win the $50,000 John Longden 6000 at Hastings May 23.

Cook Kahuna and Derive ensure an honest pace. Cool Kahuna forced the issue before tiring to finish third to Heavenly Chorus and Derive set a quick pace when he finished fifth in a $32,000 claiming race at Hollywood Park May 6.

Footprint rounds out the field.