05/08/2013 1:23PM

Northlands Park: Spanish Jazz takes on winners after debut romp


Trainer Robertino Diodoro was impressed when Spanish Jazz won his debut going six furlongs in a $30,000 optional maiden claiming race by a widening 7 3/4 lengths at Turf Paradise on April 12. He’s hoping for another strong performance when Spanish Jazz runs in a first-level allowance race Friday night at Northlands Park. The six-furlong sprint drew nine horses and headlines a strong eight-race card.

Sharing top billing is a first-level allowance race for 3-year-olds that attracted Winnipeg Futurity runner-up Tigger Town and Just Gone, who finished second in three straight stakes as a 2-year-old last year.

Spanish Jazz was a $210,000 yearling purchase by Mercedes Stable at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky summer yearling sale in 2010, but he never raced for Mercedes. Owners Randy Howg and Bob Butz picked him up as part of a package that included Broadway Empire, who scorched six furlongs in 1:07.82 and earned a 97 Beyer Speed Figure when he made his sensational debut at Turf Paradise on March 18.

“Spanish Jazz’s race may have been more impressive than Broadway Empire’s,” Diodoro said. “Spanish Jazz stumbled at the start and he ate dirt for the first half-mile. He really exploded when he moved to the outside at the top of the stretch.”

Spanish Jazz is a big horse, and Diodoro said he was concerned how the son of Belmont Stakes winner Jazil would handle running on a bullring. His concerns were somewhat alleviated when Spanish Jazz worked a half-mile in 50.84 seconds last Sunday.

“He handled the track and the turns beautifully,” Diodoro said. “He’s ready to go.”

Nate Smith retains the mount on Spanish Jazz.

Call Me Lou will be making his first start at Northlands and looks like the main threat for trainer Ron Grieves.

A 5-year-old gelding by Grand Slam, Call Me Lou has raced exclusively at Woodbine, where he compiled a 1-2-3 record from 9 starts. In his last start racing over Polytrack, he finish second in a $40,000 claiming race for nonwinners of two Nov. 2.

Quincy Welch will be aboard Call Me Lou.

Welch is returning to Northlands after being based at Woodbine for the last two years. Welch has won 1,795 races and earned more $22 million in his career. Since 1997, Welch has won 1,697 races in Alberta and led the jockey standings many times. He was planning to ride opening weekend but was injured exercising a horse before the meet opened.