05/09/2012 12:07PM

Northlands Park: Kingoftherockies will be tough to catch in short sprint

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Kingoftherockies is going to be tough to handle when he runs in a first-level allowance race that will serve as Friday’s feature at Northlands Park. The 3 1/2-furlong abbreviated sprint for 3-year-olds drew eight horses, but it is hard to go past Kingoftherockies.

Trained by Greg Tracy, Kingoftherockies won by 6 1/2 lengths when he made his debut in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race for Alberta-breds last July 29. He also flashed good speed when he returned in the 6 1/2-furlong Sales Stakes, but tired after a half-mile. He took the winter off after stumbling and losing his rider when he couldn’t avoid Within Range and Kiribrassy who had fallen in front of him in the $50,000 Alberta Premier’s Futurity.

Tracy brought him back in a six-furlong, $50,000 optional claimer at Hastings on April 21, and he chased Unquiet for a half-mile before tiring to finish third. Unquiet came back to set a fast pace and then held on well to finish second after being swamped by Clear the Runway in the Jim Coleman Province at Hastings last Saturday.

Tracy, who also trains Clear the Runway, thinks the cut back in distance and easier company should help get Kingoftherockies over the top.

“He’s fast, but I don’t know how far he wants to run,” Tracy said. “We didn’t want to be on the lead in Vancouver. If he breaks well, he should be tough to catch.”

Rico Walcott rides Kingoftherockies.

Kiribrassy looks like the biggest threat to Kingoftherockies.

Trained by Diana Feurhelm, Kiribrassy beat subsequent stakes winner My Daddy’s Girl when he debuted going 3 1/2 furlongs in an Alberta-bred maiden special weight race last June. In his second start, he set the pace before tiring to finish third in the $50,000 Birdcatcher. He will be making his first start since he fell in the Alberta Premier’s. Judging from his bullet three-furlong move in 35.40 seconds out of the gate May 3, Feurhelm has him primed for a big effort.

Drop the Hammer will be making his first start of the year for trainer Robertino Diodoro. In his only start as a 2-year-old for trainer Dale Saunders, Drop the Hammer rallied to win a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race for Alberta-breds last July 9.

Tempered Affair makes his first start since he won a $12,000 maiden claiming race at Friday’s distance in his debut last October. His trainer, Ron Grieves, is off to a strong start at the meet and does very well with horse returning from layoffs of 180 days or more.