09/19/2012 12:47PM

Northlands: Salsa Express well-spotted to collect third straight victory

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Salsa Express will be trying for her third straight victory – and will likely get it – when she runs in a second-level optional $30,000 claiming race at Northlands Park on Friday. The six-furlong feature for fillies and mares drew six horses and will go as the fourth race.

The race should set up perfectly for Salsa Express, who figures to be coming from a stalking position with Tony Maragh in the irons. Trained by Ernie Keller, Salsa Express sat just off Honorable Lady when she won going 6 1/2 furlongs at this level on Aug. 31 and came from last while edging Maegans Princesses in a one-mile race for the same condition Sept. 12.

Salsa Express also won a six-furlong sprint at this level on Aug. 4 before finishing second by a neck to Maegans Princesses in a one-mile race on Aug. 17.

A 16-time winner with $229,722 in earnings, Salsa Express appears to be on top of her game and should be tough to hold off in the stretch.

Honorable Lady, trained by Robertino Diodoro, lost as the favorite the last two times she faced Salsa Express, and the front-running 5-year-old mare figures to be under pressure right from the start with Crafty Critter in the field.

Crafty Critter is as honest as they come and just once in her 21-race career has she finished worse than third. Trained by Tim Rycroft, Crafty Critter forced an honest pace and held on well to finish second in a $22,000 claiming race on Sept. 1. She was coming off a win for $15,000 on July 2 and could move forward in her second start following a two-month layoff.

Peaknatacat rallied to finish a head behind Crafty Critter on Sept. 1 and should appreciate the shape of the race.

Brother to stakes winners tops CTHS sale

Riversedge Racing Stable paid $68,000 for the top-priced yearling at the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s annual sale, held at Northlands Park last Sunday. The yearling gelding by Old Topper out of Miami Margie is a full brother to Topper Shopper, who won two stakes races in California and earned $345,476, and Ain’t No Other a stakes winner who placed in a two Grade 3 races last year and recently finished second in back-to-back stakes races at Pleasanton and Santa Rosa. A half-brother, Go Kitty Go, won the Borderland Derby at Sunland Park in 2004.

The average price for a yearling was roughly the same as in 2011, $8,437 in 2012 compared with $8,468 last year. The total of $489,000 for 58 yearlings sold was up 65 percent from last year when $296,400 was spent on the 35 sold.