09/09/2011 3:04PM

Northlands Park: Salsa Express heating up


A very hot Salsa Express looks like the one to beat in a $30,000 claiming race that will serve as Sunday’s feature at Northlands Park. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint for fillies and mares drew five horses and goes as race 4 on the eight-race card that begins at 1 p.m. Mountain.

Salsa Express is coming back for the same price after running away and hiding by 6 3/4 lengths going one mile on Aug. 31. Trained by Ernie Keller, Salsa Express shouldn’t mind the move back to a distance at which she has compiled a 3-2-1 record from 7 starts. She can also put solid races together. Last year she closed out the Northlands meet with three straight wins sprinting. Her latest win was her first of the year, and similar to last year, she could be peaking as the meet winds down.

Tony Maragh retains the mount.

Eye Scarey easily handled Salsa Express when they met in a $30,000 claiming race going 6 1/2 furlongs June 19 but has regressed in her last two starts for trainer Ron Grieves. She forced the pace before finishing sixth in a $40,000 optional claiming race July 30 and she faded after setting the pace when she stretched out to a mile in a $30,000 claimer Aug. 13. Salsa Express ran in the same race and finished second.

A couple of 3-year-olds, Mageans Princesses and Peaknatacat, will face older horses in a nonconditional race for the first time.

Maegans Princesses has the better form. After winning a first-level allowance race for trainer Rod Cone on June 3, Maegans Princesses finished second in back-to-back stakes behind Embellished in the Chariot Chaser and Northlands Park Oaks. In her latest race she forced the pace before giving way grudgingly to finish third in the 1 1/16-mile Sonoma on Aug. 20.

Peaknatacat went unplaced in the Northland Park Oaks and finished fourth in the Sonoma. She was a sharp horse going into the Oaks with a win in a $20,000 claiming race May 28 and another score in a $32,000 optional claiming race July 10. She is trained by Robert Macdonald.

Reabella, trained by Rick Wise, should appreciate the move back to a sprint after finishing second to Salsa Express. She won a $20,000 claiming race going 6 1/2 furlongs Aug. 5, and all seven of her career wins have come in sprints.