06/19/2013 4:01PM

Northlands Park: Welch gets off favorite to ride Northern Yankee in allowance feature


Trainer Ron Grieves was a bit surprised when he was informed Quincy Welch wouldn’t be able to ride 7-5 morning-line favorite Call Me Lou in a nonwinners-of-three allowance race that serves as Friday’s feature at Northlands Park. Instead, Welch will ride the long-absent Northern Yankee in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint that drew six horses and goes as the second race.

It was easy to assume Grieves was the one who chose to make a rider switch to Shannon Beauregard because Call Me Lou was much the best when he finished first with Welch aboard in a second-level $25,000 optional-claiming race June 1. When Call Me Lou was starting to take control of the race at the top of the stretch he bumped into Gatwick, causing him to interfere with Clear the Runway, who was making a strong move along the rail. Nobody was surprised when Call Me Lou was disqualified and placed third.

“I would have been happy to have Quincy back on him,” Grieves said. “His agent told me he had to ride Northern Yankee in order to secure the mount for the Sales Stakes, though.”

Northern Yankee is eligible for the $50,000 Sales Stakes for 3- and 4-year-olds on July 20 at Northlands.

Grieves is happy with the way Call Me Lou is coming up to the race.

“Everything’s good,” he said. “He thought he won the race and is pretty full of himself right now.”

Call Me Lou scored a front-running win in a first-level allowance race in his first start for Grieves on May 10. He drew the rail, and it is likely Beauregard will put him into the race right from the start.

Northern Yankee, trained by Craig Smith, also has good speed and has never lost sprinting. He was an easy front-running winner when he made his 2-year-old debut going six furlongs in a maiden special weight race Aug. 19, 2011, at Northlands. After finishing fifth in the one-mile Alberta Premiers Futurity, he resurfaced in an optional $75,000 claiming race on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 12, 2012. He was ninth early but rallied to win going away at 21-1. He came back with another strong effort on the turf, finishing second in a one-mile unrestricted allowance race for 3-year-olds March 10, 2012, but hasn’t raced since.

Northern Yankee has a solid set of works showing, and it appears Smith has him primed for a strong effort coming off the long layoff.

Bull Time looked good winning a $15,000 claiming race for nonwinners of two May 24.

Donegal County and Catchtheconnection are making their first starts this year. Rum Ruckus completes the field.