06/30/2011 11:56AM

Northlands Park: Salt Flat Speed stands out in Spangled Jimmy


Jim Meyaard trains three of the eight horses entered in the $50,000 Spangled Jimmy Handicap at Northlands Park Saturday. From a pure numbers viewpoint, Meyaard has a 37.5 percent chance of winning the one-mile feature for 3-year-olds and up. Considering Salt Flat Speed is one of the three horses, Meyaard’s odds of winning the Spangled Jimmy for the second year in a row are considerably higher.

Salt Flat Speed, who will carry high weight of 124 pounds, has won his last four races at Northlands and overall he has compiled a 10-3-1 record from 14 starts at the Edmonton oval. The third win in his current streak came in this race last year. After he won the Spangled Jimmy he packed 124 pounds to a three-length win over Footprint in the 1 1/16-mile Don Fleming.

Salt Flat Speed comes into the race on top of his game. He started out the year with a six-length romp in a six-furlong allowance race at Fonner Park May 1 and then scored a front-running win over Footprint in the $50,000 Journal going six furlongs at Northlands June 11. He drew the rail and jockey Rico Walcott will likely be putting him right on the lead.

If Salt Flat Speed doesn’t run his usual race, either of his stablemates is capable of picking up the pieces. Professor Pollard came from off the pace to win a $40,000 optional sprint June 17 and will appreciate the added distance. Andiotis, who is coupled with Salt Flat Speed, also figures to improve with the move to a middle distance. Prior to finishing fourth in the Journal he was a five-length winner of the $75,000 Bosselman/Gus Fonner going 1 1/8 miles at Fonner Park April 30.

Footprint showed signs of his former brilliance in the Journal. The 2007 Canadian Derby winner, Footprint chased Salt Flat Speed the whole way and held on well to finish a clear second over Heavenly Chorus. Trained by Joan Petrowski, Footprint has won four stakes races at a mile or over.

Heavenly Chorus has been mainly a sprinter in his 23-race career. Nonetheless, the only time he went farther than seven furlongs he won a one-mile maiden special weight race at Fair Grounds with a 90 Beyer Speed Figure. A three-turn mile could suit him perfectly.