05/30/2013 12:05PM

Northlands Park: Call Me Lou steps up after romp


Call Me Lou and Clear the Runway look like the main players in a second-level allowance race with a $25,000 claiming option that headlines the eight-race card at Northlands Park on Saturday. The six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up drew seven horses and will go as the seventh race.

Call Me Lou is moving up in class after scoring an impressive win over Spanish Jazz in a first-level allowance race May 10, and the 75 Beyer Speed Figure he earned for his four-length romp going six furlongs is easily the best last-race figure in the field.

Trained by Ron Grieves, Call Me Lou was making his first start on dirt after nine previous starts, most of them on Polytrack at Woodbine. A 5-year-old gelding, Call Me Lou ran a decent race in his only start over the expansive turf course at Woodbine, finishing fourth before being placed third due to the winner being disqualified and placed sixth in a $40,000 claiming race for nonwinners of two.

He was a sharp horse at the end of his 2012 season, with back-to-back second-place finishes in $40,000 conditional claiming races. From the way he ran in his first try in a two-turn sprint, his future looks bright in Western Canada. He led every step of the way while setting honest fractions with Quincy Welch aboard, but he is versatile and Welch will have more than one option if other speed shows up.

While Call Me Lou is moving up in class, Clear the Runway is going to appreciate the easier company after finishing sixth in the $50,000 George Royal Stakes at Hastings on April 28. Commander, who dominated the older handicap division at Northlands last year, finished third behind Shrug and Devil in Disguise in 6 1/2-furlong sprint.

Trained by Greg Tracy, Clear the Runway is looking for his first win since he captured the $50,000 Jim Coleman Province at Hastings more than a year ago May 5. The last time he ran at Northlands, he finished last in the Grade 3, $200,000 Canadian Derby on Aug. 25. He was given the rest of the year off, and prior to running in the George Royal he lost by a head in a conditional allowance race at Sunland Park on Feb. 9.

Gatwick runs well fresh and could make an impact in his first start of the year.

Reggie Dunlop, the top money earner in the field with more than $100,000 in the bank, also is making his seasonal debut.