07/11/2013 11:47AM

Northlands Park: Sweet Nectar's performance better than Beyer Speed Figure indicates


Sweet Nectar earned just an average Beyer Speed Figure for her win over Candy Alley in a first-level allowance in her first start at Northlands Park on July 1, and anyone just looking at speed figures might believe she is going to have a hard time moving up in class when she runs in a second-level allowance Saturday. The manner in which she won the race suggests she should handle the move to the next level, and considering her strong connections – trainer Robertino Diodoro and jockey Rico Walcott – there is an excellent chance she will be sent off as the favorite in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint for fillies and mares that drew seven horses.

Prior to her impressive win, Sweet Nectar had raced exclusively in California, where her only win from 10 starts came when she debuted in a $40,000 maiden claiming race March 4, 2012. Coming off a dull effort in a $16,000 conditional claiming race at Betfair Hollywood Park on April 27, Sweet Nectar broke a step slow with Walcott aboard and then went very wide around the first turn. She started picking up horses going down the backstretch and took over the lead approaching the quarter pole. She opened up a clear lead at the top of the stretch and despite tiring late, she held off Candy Alley to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Candy Alley also is entered here.

Sweet Nectar figures to take a big step forward in her second start back, and she should get a better trip leaving from the inside post.

Squiggly Gets Even and Bonita Bella finished a head apart in a similar race June 22, and Squiggly Gets Even seemingly has the better chance of moving forward after being away for 11 months prior to her strong performance.

Squiggly Gets Even was sent off at 27-1, and closing from a stalking position, she came close to pulling off the upset for trainer Mike Halabi.

Bonita Bella, trained by Rick Hedge, was sent off as the odds-on favorite in the race, and she was involved right from the start. After winning the duel with Zippy Request, she couldn’t hold off First Afleet and Squiggly Gets Even, however.

Cinderella Brite will be making her first start at Northlands for trainer Rod Cone following a third-place finish in an $8,000 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies at Golden Gate Fields on June 13. Both of her wins came over Tapeta, but the last time she ran on dirt she finished second in a $12,500 maiden race at Stockton last September.