06/18/2012 11:17AM

Northlands Park: Alisal has the edge in sprint feature


Alisal could be ready for a peak performance in his third start of the year, and he probably needs only to repeat his very good second behind Minutesandtouches in a second-level allowance race June 6 to win Wednesday’s feature at Northlands Park. The conditions of the race are the same, but the quality of the eight-horse field Wednesday doesn’t appear as strong as the June 6 race. Plus, with his tactical speed, Alisal should get a nice trip from just off what figures to be a moderate pace in the six-and-one-half furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up.

Trained by Rod Cone, Alisal ran into a couple of sharp horses in his first two races at Northlands. Coming off a second-place finish in the $50,000 Gold Cup at Assiniboia Downs last Sept. 10, Alisal made a strong move to get within a head of Up Jumps a Monster at the top of the stretch in a six-furlong second-level allowance race May 27. He stalled there however, as the undefeated Up Jumps a Monster drew away to win by four lengths. Alisal ran another big race in his second start for the same conditions but ran into a potential monster in Minutesandtouches, who led from start to finish in the six-furlong sprint. Minutesandtouches posted a time of 1:10.20, the best at the meet, and the 87 Beyer Speed Figure he earned is the top figure at Northlands this year.

Rico Walcott rides Alisal, and he should have him sitting pretty close to Points Alert, who looks like the main speed.

Points Alert, trained by Cody Anderson, comes out of the same race, and he tried to run with Minutesnandtouches early but couldn’t keep up when they reached the stretch. He did hold on to finish a clear third, however, and given the lack of other speed in the field he should be the one they are chasing. The last time he was in front early, Points Alert won a first-level allowance race last July 6.

Lightly-raced Celtic Touch rallied to win a second-level allowance race for trainer Ron Grieves in his second start at the meet. Celtic Touch ran twice last year, finishing second when he debuted in a six-furlong maiden special weight race Aug. 10 before winning a one-mile race for straight maidens Aug. 26. In his only other start, he wasn’t much of a threat to Minutesnandtouches when he was sent off as the favorite in a second-level allowance race May 18. His lack of speed isn’t going to help him unless So Good Lucky, who figures to be sharp making his first start of the year, can put some pressure on Points Alert.