07/14/2011 12:24PM

Northlands: Robo Willie has class edge in sprint


Robo Willie should appreciate the move back to a sprint when he runs in a $17,500 claiming race that will serve as Saturday’s feature at Northland Park. The six-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up drew seven horses and the classy Robo Willie figures to make his presence known right from the start.

Trained by Dale Saunders, Robo Willie has won eight races including five stakes in his 24-race career, and seven of his wins came sprinting. He scored a front-running win over Sax at this level and distance June 4 and then set a quick pace before tiring to finish fifth in a $22,000 claiming race going one mile June 24. He is going to have to deal with other speed, but he has plenty of back class and doesn’t necessarily need the lead to win.

Rico Walcott retains the mount.

A very sharp Rolletti also figures to be involved right from the start. Trained by Don Gilkyson, Rolletti is coming off a front-running win going a mile in a $13,000 claiming race June 19. He can also sprint. He won a $10,000 claiming race going six furlongs in his previous start June 8.

If a duel does develop, Feel the Moment could be the beneficiary. He can stalk the pace, and in his latest start he ran a solid race to finish third behind Mootoo for $22,000 June 10. It was his first race of the year and he could take a big step forward with a race behind him.

Stephanson is another possibility in what appears to be a wide-open event. In his latest start he made a strong late move to get up for second going 6 1/2 furlongs for $17,500 July 3. A Cody Anderson trainee, Stephanson won for $13,000 in his first outing this year and could be ready for peak effort in his third start at the meet.

Sax could also make some noise from off the pace.