07/22/2013 1:09PM

Northlands Park: I Raffaella is one to beat in Wednesday allowance


I Raffaella figures to be a short price when she runs in a first-level allowance race for fillies and mares that serves as Wednesday’s feature at Northlands Park. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint drew seven horses, but there are a lot of arrows pointing toward I Raffaella as the one to beat.

I Raffaella came out running for trainer Craig Smith when she debuted in a maiden special weight race going 6 1/2 furlongs June 14, winning by 1 1/2 lengths. With leading apprentice Amie Pooli aboard, I Raffaella broke half a step slowly and, after settling into the race, she made a strong four-wide move at the quarter pole to take control.

The impressive performance encouraged Smith to take a shot with her in the $50,000 Red K. Smith Handicap, where she chased an honest pace before tiring to finish third in the one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies. I Raffaella should appreciate the move back to a sprint and could improve in her first race with Lasix.

“It was asking a lot, but we think she’s a nice filly,” Smith said of starting I Raffaella in a stakes race in her second career start. “She bled just a tiny bit, and she should be fine with Lasix. If she runs a good race, we’ll bring her back in the Sonoma on the same weekend as the Canadian Derby.”

The $50,000 Sonoma covers 1 1/16 miles and is for 3-year-old fillies Aug. 16.

Pooli retains the mount Wednesday.

If Sitka Song is anything like her sisters Overact, Langara Lass, and Madeira Park, she will love running at Northlands. All three older sisters won the Sonoma as 3-year-olds, and Madeira Park prepped for the $50,000 Madamoiselle on Aug. 2 with a sharp win at Northlands last Friday.

Trained by Dave Forster, Sitka Song is still a maiden after six starts at Hastings, but in her last two starts, including a third behind Monahee going 1 1/16 miles in a $30,000 maiden-claiming race June 14, she was facing older males.

Sitka Song is cutting back to a sprint, and the last time she went 6 1/2 furlongs, she finished second to C. A. Miss in a $30,000 maiden-claiming race May 25.

Flashy Patti looks like a serious threat if she’s ready to roll coming off a layoff of more than a year. Flashy Patti finished second in back-to-back maiden special weight races in her only two career starts as a 3-year-old last year.

Candy Alley will try to rebound following a dull effort in a second-level allowance race July 13. In her previous race, she finished second in a first-level allowance race going six furlongs July 1.