07/13/2013 1:27PM

Northlands: Sports Report cuts back in distance in local debut


If Sports Report can reproduce the 76 Beyer Speed Figure he earned going 1 1/16 miles in a $16,000 claiming race for non-winners of two at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 13, he’ll be tough to beat in a first-level allowance race for 3-year-olds and up at Northlands Park on Monday. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint headlines an eight-race card that begins at 1 p.m. Mountain.

Sports Report has some hurdles to overcome, however. He will not only be cutting back to a sprint, but this will be the first time he will be dealing with what are much tighter turns than he went around in his seven career starts in Southern California. He has performed well on dirt, finishing a close second in a $30,000 maiden-claiming race at Santa Anita on April 20 before winning a $30,000 maiden race going six furlongs over Cushion Track at Hollywood Park on May 18.

Sports Report was claimed out of his last race and will be making his first start for trainer Tim Rycroft. Under Rycroft’s watchful eye, Sports Report has worked twice at Northlands and should be ready for a good effort following his six-furlong move in 1:14.80 on July 6.

Real Simard rides Sports Report.

Rycroft also will saddle Spark of Valor, who is going to appreciate the easier company after finishing third in a $25,000 claiming race won by last year’s local sprint champion, Ready Racer. It was Spark of Valor’s first start of the year, and he certainly is eligible to take a big step forward with a race behind him.

It is always wise to pay attention to which horse leading rider Rico Walcott is riding, and he lands on a very live-looking Keene On Demand.

Trained by Rob Chabot, Keene On Demand rallied to win a maiden special race going six furlong when he made his debut with Quincy Welch aboard June 5. The 3-year-old Alberta-bred came back with another solid effort with apprentice Amie Pooli riding in his second start, finishing second in a first-level allowance race June 22.

Sharp as Ever, third behind Keene On Demand on June 22, is coming back quickly after finishing fourth in a one-mile, first-level allowance race last Monday. Trainer Garry Marks has won with two of the last four horses he has brought back in a week or less, and Sharp as Ever won’t mind the move back to a sprint. Last year, he won the $38,000 Esquirol Farms Sales Stakes going six furlongs.

Five Minute Major has good speed, will be running on Lasix for the first time, and could be dangerous if he can sneak away on his own.