06/21/2012 2:31PM

Northlands Park: New tactic for Gone in a Flash


Gone in a Flash showed a new dimension when he sat behind Tiny Giant in his win in a $40,000 optional claiming race June 9. His ability to rate should come in handy when he runs in the $50,000 Journal Handicap at Northlands Park Saturday. The six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up drew nine horses, and there is an abundance of speed in the field including a very sharp Minutesandtouches who has won both of his races at Northlands this year. Also in the field is Salt Flat Speed who won the last two renewals of the Journal.

Gone in a Flash has won five of his six starts sprinting, and the only time he finished worse than second was when he stretched out to a mile and a sixteenth in the Harry Jeffrey Stakes at Assiniboia Downs as a 3-year-old in 2010. Following his fourth-place finish in Winnipeg, he returned to Northlands and closed out his sophomore year with a win in a $32,000 optional claiming race July 31. He didn’t make it back to the races until May 12 this year when he scored a sharp win over stakes winners Tiny Giant and Bond James Bond going three and one-half furlongs.

“He had a crack in his foot so we gave him the time off,” said trainer Ron Grieves. “We could have brought him back late last year, but we’re glad we gave him the extra time. This is a big test for him but he looks and acts the part. We really liked the way he accepted being behind a horse in his last start.”

Stephen Heiler, who also rode Minutesandtouches in both of his wins at the meet, sticks with Gone in a Flash.

Minutesandtouches has been impressive winning both of his races at Northlands for trainer Robert MacDonald. Minutesandtouches was coming off a lengthy layoff when he came from just off the pace to win a six-furlong first-level allowance race by five and three-quarter lengths May 18. In his next start, he never looked threatened in his win over Alisal in a second-level allowance race June 6. The 87 Beyer Speed Figure he earned is tied for the top figure at the meet.

Salt Flat Speed, trained by Amber Meyaard, returns to his favorite track after finishing second in a $40,000 claiming race on the Woodbine turf course May 30. In 18 starts at Northlands, Salt Flat Speed has compiled an impressive 11-5-1 record.

Freedoms Traveller returns

Adding luster to an excellent card is Freedoms Traveller who will be making his first start since he won the Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby last year. Freedoms Traveller, trained by Lianne Knechtel, makes his return in a $40,000 optional race that goes as race six.