07/25/2011 11:22AM

Northlands: Shanghi Charlie sharp for stretch-out

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Shanghi Charlie could be the one in what appears to be a wide-open optional $40,000 claiming race for 3-year-olds that will serve as Wednesday’s feature at Northlands Park. The one-mile race drew seven horses, and all of them are looking for their first win at a middle distance.

There is an excellent chance that Shanghi Charlie will do well in his first try around three turns. He is a half-brother to seven route winners, including stakes winners Time to Decide and Simply Runaway.

Shanghi Charlie is a very sharp horse right now. He won a $7,000 maiden race June 11 by more than 11 lengths and came right back to beat $12,000 claimers by seven. In his latest race, he finished second to Jack to a King in a $20,000 claiming race July 8 and was claimed by trainer Ron Grieves, who was acting on behalf of Bar None Ranches Ltd.

Grieves has solid stats in a couple of relevant categories. Over the past five years, he has a 19-percent strike rate with horses making their first start for him after being claimed. Over the same time period, horses in his barn that are stretching out for the first time have won at a 21-percent clip. Grieves has won 512 races in his career.

Heribert Martinez will ride Shanghi Charlie for the first time.

Points Alert looked sharp winning a first-level allowance race going six furlongs in his first start of the year for trainer Cody Anderson. Points Alert finished second to Bond James Bond in the $50,000 Birdcatcher and then faded badly after pressing the pace in the one-mile Alberta Premiers Futurity for Alberta-breds, a race also won by Bond James Bond. The verdict is still out on whether Points Alert can route. His dam was strictly a sprinter, but his only sibling won going long.

Yippy Kia Yeah will be making his first start since being claimed by trainer Jim Meyaard. Over the past five years, Meyaard has a 38-percent win rate when he brings horses back the first time. Yippy Kia Yeah will be making just the third start of his career and showed good speed while finishing third in his debut in a $12,000 maiden race June 4 and also in his win over Our Boy Louie in a maiden $12,000 claiming sprint June 11.

Aces Again, Joker Lake, and Taylor’s Tale will appreciate the easier company after going unplaced in the one-mile, $50,000 Ky Alta on July 9.