09/19/2011 11:22AM

Northlands: Salt Flat Speed's back class stands out in sprint feature

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Salt Flat Speed is a standout in an optional $40,000 claiming race that will serve as Wednesday’s feature at Northlands Park.

A five-time stakes winner, Salt Flat Speed has a decided class advantage over his four rivals who have never won a stakes race. Salt Flat Speed is the only horse entered for the $40,000 tag.

The 6 1/2-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up goes as race 4 on a nine-race card that starts at 6 p.m. Mountain.

Trainer Jim Meyaard appears to have Salt Flat Speed back on top of his game. After a couple of races that weren’t up to his usual standards, Salt Flat Speed scored an impressive win over Against the Tide in the $50,000 Sun Sprint Championship on Sept 3. With usual rider Rico Walcott aboard, Salt Flat Speed was in a stalking position early, moved up to engage the leaders approaching the quarter pole, and took complete control of the race on the middle of the stretch turn. He could get a similar trip behind Ready Race and Reggie Dunlop. Walcott has more than one option, however, and if Salt Flat Speed breaks alertly he might choose to put him right on the lead. Either way, he will be tough to beat.

Paseo Alegro, also trained by Meyaard, will be making his first start since he won an optional $40,000 claiming race at Northlands on May 28. A deep closer, Paseo Alegro was 10 lengths behind at the half-mile pole and finished full of run to beat Tiny Giant by 1 1/2 lengths. He runs well fresh and has been working sharply leading up to his return.

Against the Tide knows how to win races with a solid 6-3-3 record from 21 starts. He has tried stakes company 10 times, however, and his best finish was his second behind Salt Flat Speed in the Sun Sprint. Trained by Ernie Keller, Against the Tide went into the Sun off a third-place finish in the $75,000 Speed to Spare going 1 3/8 miles on Aug. 20, and he might be a little sharper in his second straight sprint. He also worked a bullet four furlongs in 47.20 seconds Sept. 15 and could be coming up to a big performance.

Ready Racer has won his last two sprints for trainer Dale Saunders, and was particularly impressive in his 4 1/2-length win over Swiss Ski in a $30,000 claiming race going six furlongs Sept. 2.

Reggie Dunlop faded after forcing the pace in the Sun Sprint.