08/13/2012 1:27PM

Northlands Park: Sweet Esteem looks like main speed


Sweet Esteem has started 17 times and has managed to win just a single race. Nonetheless, she figures to be a handful when she runs in a first-level allowance race for fillies and mares at Northlands Park on Wednesday. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint drew six horses and goes as race 8 on a nine-race card that begins at 6 p.m. Mountain.

Sweet Esteem, trained by Garry Marks, is coming off a second-place finish behind Tempered Sapphire in a first-level allowance race July 11, and if she comes close to repeating her strong effort she will be tough to beat. She set quick fractions under pressure and not surprisingly could not hold off Tempered Sapphire, who had a perfect stalking trip. Tempered Sapphire validated the race when she came back to win the $50,000 Northland Oaks Aug. 3. Sweet Esteem received a 57 Beyer Speed Figure, which is higher than any of her opponents have ever earned.

Sweet Esteem appears to have the best speed in the field and could be gone if she breaks on top with Jorge Espitia aboard.

She is a 4-year-old who has finished second seven times in her career, however, and a horse like Days End is a viable alternative.

Trained by Rob Chabot, Days End won her first start at Northlands and is certainly eligible to take a big step forward in her second race this year. A 3-year-old Ontario-bred filly, Days End went unplaced in three starts running over Polytrack at Woodbine as a 2-year-old, and she just might be a better horse on dirt.

With Kyle Carter aboard, Days End made a strong impression in her win. She broke from the rail and was immediately in trouble as she was squeezed back to last. Carter never panicked, though, and gradually moved her into contention while saving ground until the top of the stretch, when he wheeled her out to make a late bid. She never looked like the winner until the last jump, when she got up just in time to win a four-horse photo.

Carter retains the mount.

The 5-year-old mare C C Dancer is coming off a win in a $12,000 maiden claiming race in just the second start of her career. It was a key race, with the second- and third-place finishers both coming back to win their next start. She is trained by Marcos Malvaez.

Breeze Show, Countryfire, and Citation Girl complete the field.