09/26/2013 1:15PM

Northlands Park: Longboat Key will be running late in marathon


Longboat Key will be a solid favorite to win the last leg of the marathon series Saturday at Northlands Park. The eight-horses entered will start at the top of the stretch and then make three complete laps while going around six turns in the two-mile race for 3-year-olds and up. The race is run under starter handicap conditions and is restricted to horses that have started for a claiming price of $8,000 or less in 2013 and have not won for a claiming price of $12,500 or more since last starting for $8,000.

Longboat Key won’t be in the picture early, but he should be heard from late. In the same race last year, he was 23 lengths behind after the first mile before finishing full of run to win by a comfortable seven lengths. The Red Smith trainee is the only horse in the field with a win at the marathon distance, and he is coming into the race on top of his game with a 1 1/2-length win over With Council going 1 5/8 miles in the second leg of the marathon series Sept. 7. In the first leg, he struggled over a sloppy track to finish third.

Amie Pooli picks up the mount from Fernando Perez, who left for California after winning four stakes on Alberta Fall Classic Day last Saturday.

With Council and Grand Request look like the main threats to Longboat Key, but they couldn’t hold him off going 1 5/8 miles and the added distance should benefit Longboat Key.

Trained by Dale Saunders, With Council opened up clear leads in the first two legs of the series and held on well to finish second both times. The 4-year-old son of Lawyer Ron hasn’t won this year, but he has improved in his last three starts, including a second-place finish going 1 1/16 miles in the $8,000 claiming race that made him eligible to the series Aug. 5.

Krista Carignan picks up the mount from Rico Walcott, who will be traveling to Oklahoma City to ride Canadian Derby winner Broadway Empire in the Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park on Sunday. Carignan was the third-leading rider at the recently concluded Marquis Downs meet.

Grand Request rallied to win the first leg of the series, and it looked like he might win his last race after taking a serious run at With Council after 1 1/4 miles. He hung late, however, and finished third. Trained by Deanna Walper, Grand Request has tactical speed and should get first crack at With Council.