07/16/2009 12:00AM

Tanika looks tough


Tanika figures to be a short price to win the $50,000 John Patrick Handicap at Northlands Park on Saturday. The one-mile race for fillies and mares drew six horses and goes as the eighth race.

Trained by Barry Brown, Tanika is clearly the class of the field and she is coming off a strong second-place finish behind Holy Nova in the 1 1/16-mile Vancouver Sun Handicap at Hastings on July 1. In her previous start, Tanika was upset by Jasper's Valentine in the 6 1/2-furlong Wild Rose Handicap on June 14. Tanika is a proven route horse, while Jasper's Valentine will be trying a middle distance for the first time in her career. Give the edge to Tanika.

Trainer Jim Meyaard didn't sound that optimistic about Jasper's Valentine's chances of beating Tanika again.

"She's one tough nut," he said referring to Tanika. "Plus, we have been off for over a month and Tanika had a race in Vancouver. My filly is training well, but you know Tanika is going to make you earn it."

Jasper's Valentine has been almost unbeatable at Northlands. She has won four of her five starts here and in all of her wins she set the pace. It is very likely Jasper's Valentine will be the one they have to catch.

Littlemiss Allison also has good speed.

Fox on a Ridge has won three of her four starts at the distance and is coming off a second-place finish sprinting.