10/05/2011 11:29AM

Northlands Park: Petrowski looks to lock up training title


Trainer Joan Petrowski appears to be on the verge of becoming a leading trainer for the first time in a career she said began “sometime over 35 years ago.” Going into the final three days of racing at Northlands Park, Petrowski has won 46 races, three more than Robertino Diodoro, who was the leading trainer at Northlands last year.

Petrowski should prevail. Not only does she have a sizeable lead, she has numbers in her favor. Friday, she has horses entered in eight of the nine races. Diodoro, who has sent a lot of his horses south to Turf Paradise and Santa Anita, has two horses entered.

Petrowski would become the first woman to win the trainer title at Northlands since Gail Henry finished tied with Ron Burrell in 1991.

“It would be nice if we get there but I’m not too worried about,” said Petrowski. “Whatever happens, I’m still going to be happy. It was a good meet.”

Petrowski has spent her entire career based in Alberta, and she has won 890 races for total earnings of $7,730,118.

Tiny Giant looks like he has the best chance of the two horses Petrowski has entered in a $40,000 optional claiming race that will serve as Friday’s feature. The six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up drew nine horses.

Tiny Giant is coming off a third place finish in the $50,000 Red Express for Alberta-breds Sept. 17. It was a big improvement over his last-place finish in a $40,000 optional claiming race Aug. 20. He used his good speed to win a $40,000 optional race July 9 and could be dangerous if he can clear early.

The Petrowski-trained Smile N Wave is looking for his first win of the year after finishing fourth in the $50,000 one-mile Alberta Breeder’s Handicap Sept. 17.

Salt Flat Speed, a vet scratch when he was entered in a similar race Sept. 21, is clearly the horse to beat if he goes.

Trained by Jim Meyaard, Salt Flat Speed was an easy winner of the Sun Sprint Championship in his previous start. In 17 starts at Northlands he has never finished worse than third, winning 11 races and finishing second five times.

Mr. Shadar finished third behind Salt Flat Speed in the Sun Sprint Championship and came back with a strong effort to finish second in the Red Dial Express. The Rick Hedge trainee does his best running late and there should be an honest pace to set him up.