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Balmoral Park

Balmoral Park (5/24/09)

Contact: Tom Kelley
(708) 672-1414


Native Hotspur
Native Hotspur and driver Sam Widger made it five straight wins to open the 2009 season as they annexed the $56,900 Violet Stake Final on Sunday night at Balmoral Park.
Despite coming into Sunday’s $56,900 Violet Stake Final at Balmoral Park sporting a perfect four for four record in 2009, Kay Willis and Richard Beere’s Native Hotspur still wasn’t getting the respect she deserved as she was sent off as the third choice among the field of 10 Illinois conceived and foaled filly pacers. That figures to change dramatically after Sunday’s impressive win, as she reported home with a one-length decision in a career best of 1:52.2 for driver Sam Widger.

Using his filly’s quick turn of speed to get away from the gate, Widger pointed the daughter of Ft. Apache Hanover-Broadway Charisma right for the top from post position six and she was on an uncontested lead as she passed the opening station in 28.1.

“I knew my horse could leave out of there as fast as you want her to,” said Widger. “Once we made the front in easy fashion I kind of had a feeling we were going to be in for a golden trip.”

With Widger slowing things down a bit on the backside, driver Tyler Buter pulled Honey B Skipalong from fifth and that filly quickly rushed into the lead as the field reached the half-mile mark in 56.4.

Heading around the far turn Honey B Skipalong continued to show the way as a first over Smashy Cerise (Brandon Simpson) came calling with a first over bid. Native Hotspur continued along patiently in the pocket while heavily favored Fox Valley Topaz (Mike Oosting), who was saddled with post position 10, tried to get into contention while circling horses three and four wide as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:24.3.

Through the stretch Honey B Skipalong put away the first over challenge of Smashy Cerise but Widger knew he still had the pace setter right where he wanted her, while watching the bids of several of the top fillies stall on the outside of horses.

“Even though I had my filly keyed up to leave at the start of the race she had no problem relaxing while she sat in the pocket the rest of the way around the track,” he explained. “I knew the passing lane was coming and I knew she still had plenty left.”

Scooting through along the inside of the leader, Native Hotspur came home in a very respectable 27.3 to notch her fifth straight victory. Honey B Skipalong held on gamely to be the bridesmaid while 41-1 outsider She’s A Pegase (Josh Sutton) finished third. Last season’s champion Fox Valley Topaz faltered in the stretch and wound up a disappointing sixth as the 3-5 favorite after her tough trip.

After the race a very happy Widger had nothing but praise for both Native Hotspur and her conditioner Nelson Willis.

“She chased Fox Valley Topaz all year during their two-year-old seasons and Nelson’s done a great job in getting her ready for a big three-year-old campaign,” said Widger. “With her speed she’s always going to be in good position and she’s just as handy on a small track which is going to give her plenty of chances to make some big money this year.”

Sent off at odds of 5-1, Native Hotspur returned $12.20, $4.60 and $7.20 while keying a 6-4-1 trifecta payout of $1,560.00. The win was her eighth in 20 career starts and helped push her career earnings up to $114,142.




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