07/09/2012 1:34PM

Northlands: Tempered Sapphire makes first start since 2011 stakes romp

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Tempered Sapphire makes her seasonal debut in a first-level allowance race for fillies and mares that will serve as Wednesday’s feature at Northlands Park. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint drew five horses and goes as the fifth race.

Tempered Sapphire closed out her 2-year-old season in style, winning the $50,000, one-mile Freedom of the City by 10 1/2 lengths on Oct. 11. The British Columbia-bred Tempered Sapphire was a maiden going into the race, but wasn’t that big of a surprise because she had shown solid improvement in her two starts leading into the race.

Prior to her dominating win, Tempered Sapphire finished second going 3 1/2 furlongs in a $20,000 maiden claiming race Sept. 2 and also second going 5 1/2 furlongs for the same price Sept. 16. Trained by Rod Cone, Tempered Sapphire improved dramatically when she stretched out to a mile in the Freedom of the City and could be vulnerable sprinting coming off a lengthy layoff.

Rico Walcott, who rode Tempered Sapphire for the first time in the Freedom of the City, retains the mount.

Pretty Wonder, trained by Amber Meyaard, should appreciate being back on dirt following two poor efforts over Polytrack at Woodbine this year. She won a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race in her only start as a 2-year-old at Northlands in 2011. In her first start at Woodbine, she finished eighth in a first-level allowance sprint and then was eased after forcing the pace going seven furlongs in a $40,000 claiming race May 20.

Pretty Wonder could be dangerous as the lone speed if she breaks alertly with leading rider Scott Williams aboard.

Jazz Time Girl has been solid while running at this level and above this year. As a 4-year-old maiden she finished third in a six-furlong second-level allowance race May 19 and came right back to win a first-level race May 30. Trained by Ron Grieves, Jazz Time Girl rallied to finish second behind Surfin’ Sydney on June 13 and was a beaten favorite June 27. Both races were going six furlongs and her running style suggests she will appreciate the slightly longer distance. She ran once in 2011, finishing second in a maiden special weight race going six furlongs.

Crimson Deed and Sweet Esteem round out the field.

◗ The first three races on the 10-race card are Quarter Horse trials for upcoming stakes, including the $35,000 Alberta-bred Derby on July 25.