06/27/2013 2:57PM

Northlands Park: Commander gets more ground in Spangled Jimmy

Four-Footed Fotos
Commander will go three turns in Saturday's $50,000 Spangled Jimmy at Northlands Park.

Commander will appreciate getting a chance to go around three turns for the first time this year in Saturday’s $50,000 Spangled Jimmy at Northlands Park. The one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up attracted eight horses, but if Commander regains the form he had at Northlands last year, he is going to be tough to beat.

Trained by Dennis Terry, Commander has not won since he beat Jebrica by a head in the Grade 3 Premiers at Hastings on Oct. 8, but this looks like the perfect spot for him to get back on track. Following his win in the Premiers, he was ambitiously placed when he finished ninth in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Marathon on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. He was turned out for the rest of the year, and after a couple of even efforts sprinting at Hastings, he was shipped to Northlands, where he rallied to finish third in the $50,000 Journal going six furlongs June  8. In 2012, Commander won all four of his races going a middle distance in Western Canada, and he figures to be a handful in his first route attempt this year.

Jorge Espitia retains the mount.

Silver Baubles is clearly the main threat to Commander. Trained by Ron Grieves, Silver Baubles has lost just once in his last six starts, and he finished full of run to beat Tiny Giant and Commander in the Journal. A 4-year-old homebred owned by Bar Non Ranches, Silver Baubles won’t mind the added distance. Last year, he won the 1 1/16-mile, $50,000 Beaufort for 3-year-old Alberta-breds and then closed the meet with a win in the $50,000 Harvest Gold Plate for 3-year-olds and up.

Toccetive figures to improve off his sixth-place finish going six furlongs in his first start of the year in a $35,000 optional claimer, but he will just be getting warmed up going a mile. It was his first start for trainer Dale Greenwood. Racing for trainer Joan Petrowski in 2012, Toccetive was voted the local horse of the year based on his wins in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby and the $100,000 Speed to Spare, where he beat older horses. Both races were contested over 1 3/8 miles.

Senor Rojo ships in from Hastings, where he won a $40,000 optional claimer going six furlongs in his first start of the year. After finishing last in the $50,000, 1 1/16-mile Sir Winston Churchill on June 9, trainer Dave Forster said he would be “looking for easier company.” This didn’t exactly come up easy, but Senor Rojo has done well at Northlands, winning the 2011 Speed to Spare and finishing third as the favorite last year.

Walcott goes 6 for 7 on card

Leading rider Rico Walcott continued his dominance at Northlands Park this year by winning with six of his seven mounts on Wednesday’s eight-race card. The six wins brought his total at the meet to 49 wins, well clear of apprentice Amie Poolie who is second in the standings with 18 wins.

Walcott started the card with a win aboard first-time starter Artie’s Brother in a maiden special weight race for 2-year-olds going 3  1/2 furlongs. Artie’s Brother, trained by Greg Tracy, paid $7.80 as the second choice in the wagering. The rest of his winners were all favorites, including Kool Atlantic who won the last race for trainer Tim Rycroft. Walcott picked up the mount when Quincy Welch booked off his mounts due to a sore shoulder.