05/20/2010 11:00PM

Salt Flat Speed fit for return to favorite track

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Trainer Jim Meyaard is expecting a strong effort from Salt Flat Speed when he runs in Sunday's featured eighth race at Northlands Park. The six-furlong sprint, open to horses which haven't won $20,000 since Jan. 1 and $40,000 claimers, drew a field of six and goes as the last race on an eight-race card.

Salt Flat Speed won five sprints at Northlands last year and just missed by a head when he stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in the $50,000 Harvest Gold Plate. He is coming off of an easy win in a $5,000 starter race at Fonner Park on May 7. Salt Flat Speed finished seventh in a similar race when he made his seasonal debut there on April 3.

"He drew the rail and it was very deep," said Meyaard. "He got bogged down pretty good. He had a pretty easy time of it in his last start. I think he could be a little better horse this year."

Salt Flat Speed will need to be on top of his game to beat Leonides. Trained by Riley Rycroft, Leonides is coming off a second place finish behind Almost Time in a $50,000 optional race at six-furlongs at Hastings on April 24. He has tons of back class, including a second in the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby behind El Gato Malo in 2008. Leonides only ran twice in 2009, and will be making his first start since he was claimed for $62,500 last May 23.