05/25/2011 11:39AM

Top Northlands Park trainers clash


In a scenario that will likely repeat itself throughout the year at Northlands Park, trainers Robertino Diodoro, Greg Tracy and Jim Meyaard appear to have the major players in Friday’s feature. The six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up drew seven horses running for a top claiming price of $22,000 and goes as the seventh race.

Millwright, trained by Tracy, could have the advantage due to his ability to stalk the pace. He won two of his six starts at Northlands last year, and in his first race in 2011 he finished third in a tough field of $25,000 claimers at Hastings.

Fernando Perez rides Millwright. Riding at Northlands on a full-time basis for the first time, Perez has made a strong impression with nine wins from 36 mounts.

Meyaard is hoping Commanding Ace improves as much in his second start this year as he did in 2010. Last year he finished ninth in an allowance race at Fonner Park and then easily won a nonwinners of two for $15,000 claimers at Northlands. In his first start in 2011 he forced an honest pace before tiring to finish fifth in a $30,000 claiming race going six furlongs at Northlands May 20. He likes to be involved early, and in all three of his wins in 2010 he had the lead at the second call.

Rico Walcott retains the call.

A Royal Tizzy, trained by Diodoro, will be making his first start of the year. He ran well fresh in 2010, finishing second going 3 1/2 furlongs in a $15,000 claiming race at Northlands May 23. He was coming off of a seven-week layoff compared to this year, when he’s been away since he finished last in a $22,000 claiming race at Northlands last Oct. 9. He won four races in 2010, and in both of his wins at Northlands he led from start to finish. He can stalk, however. In one of his two wins at Santa Anita he came from just off of the pace in a $10,000 claiming race going 5 1/2 furlongs.