09/26/2011 11:25AM

Northlands Park: Golden Cup should be strong on cut back to sprint


Golden Cup couldn’t get it done as the heavy favorite when he stretched out to a middle distance for the first time in the one-mile, $50,000 Alberta Premier’s Futurity on Sept. 17. Nonetheless, he looks like the one to beat with the move back to a sprint when he runs in an allowance race for 2-year-olds at Northlands Park on Wednesday. There are no restrictions attached to the conditions of the 6 1/2-furlong race that drew seven horses and goes as race 5 on the 10-race card.

Trained by Greg Tracy, Golden Cup may have found going around three turns beyond his reach, but he looked pretty strong when he won the 6 1/2-furlong Sales Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths over Silent Sam in his previous start Aug. 13. He also romped by more than 12 lengths when he won a maiden special weight going 5 1/2 furlongs July 29. In the Premier’s, he was sitting in a perfect stalking position behind a fast and contested pace for the first half-mile, but after making a strong move to take over the lead at the six-furlong mark he faded in the stretch to finish a well-beaten fourth. He figures to appreciate the shorter distance, and his usual jockey, Fernando Perez, will likely put him into the race right from the start.

Silent Sam couldn’t keep up to Golden Cup in the $49,000 Sales Stakes, but he has improved since then and is a serious threat to pull off a minor upset. Trained by Albert Strumecki, Silent Sam followed up his second-place finish in the Sales Stakes with a sharp 3 1/2-length win in a six-furlong maiden special weight race Sept. 5. He was well back during the early stages of the Alberta Premier’s before closing strongly to finish third, 4 1/2 lengths in front of Golden Cup.

The Kelly Grieves-trained Gabe’s Pride heads a Bar None Ranches-owned entry that includes Fleeting Fortune, a first-time starter trained by Ron Grieves.

Gabe’s Pride showed a lot of potential in his debut, winning a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race Aug. 24, despite getting forced out extremely wide going around the stretch turn. Not only did he show a lot of promise with his impressive debut, his breeding suggests there is plenty of upside potential. A homebred gelding by Langfuhr, Gabes Pride is the first foal out of the stakes-winning mare Gabe’s Prospect.