06/17/2009 11:00PM

Speed duel looks certain


A lively pace is assured when a solid field of older horses square off in the feature race at Northlands Park on Saturday. The one-mile race, which carries a top claiming price of $13,000, drew seven horses and goes as the seventh race.

What the Devil and Tug o'War both like to be on the lead, and it is hard to imagine either of them getting away on their own.

Tug o'War, trained by Stuart Simon, is coming off a front-running win going six furlongs in a $10,000 claiming race on June 3. Tug o'War is more than capable of carrying his speed a middle distance, and he is particularly adept at one mile. In eight starts at the distance he has won five times. His most recent mile win came in a $10,000 claiming race at Turf Paradise on Jan. 16. Desmond Bryan retains the mount.

Jockey Rico Walcott might have more than one option with What the Devil. Trained by Jim Meyaard, What the Devil has won from a stalking position in the past. Walcott will have to decide if he wants to confront Tug o'War right out of the gate, or try to ease him into a stalking position. What the Devil has also won five races at the distance. His most recent win came going six furlongs in a $13,000 claiming race here May 18.

Alabama Rain could be dangerous from off the pace. A 7-year-old B.C.-bred gelding, Alabama Rain scored his most important win at Northlands when he won the grade 3 Canadian Derby in 2005. He spent the past winter at Turf Paradise, where his best race was a third place finish in a $12,500 claiming race on the turf on March 2.