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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Maywood Park (6/19/09)
Contact: Tom Kelley
NATIVE HOTSPUR STILL PERFECT AFTER THRILLING FILLY MAYWOOD PACE VICTORY
The featured event of the night was no exception, providing one of the most thrilling finishes of the evening with Kay Willis and Richard Beere’s Native Hotspur gamely holding off the furious late challenge of Honey B Skipalong to win by a nose in 1:55.4 over a track listed as “sloppy.”
Putting this filly's blazing speed to good use again, driver Sam Widger whisked Native Hotspur away from post position four and the daughter of Ft. Apache Hanover-Broadway Charisma quickly stepped away to a 1 ¾ length advantage as she led the field through an opening quarter in 27.4.
“She drew the right post for the final, she’s as handy as they come and she really likes to make horses try and catch her, so I definitely knew what my strategy was going to be tonight,” said Widger.
After getting to the top Widger proceeded to do a masterful job of hitting the brakes, giving his charge a chance to catch her breath as she led the field through middle splits of 57.4 and 1:27.1.
“We had to work a little in order to clear going to the quarter, but than she just relaxed perfectly on her own and we were able to get away with a pretty soft middle half of the race,” Widger explained. “I felt pretty confident at that point but I also knew Dale Hitemans’s horse (Park Lane Rhythm) was coming up fast on the outside and that Honey B Skipalong (Tyler Buter) was still sitting right on our back so I had to make sure my filly was ready to take on those challenges.”
Digging in tenaciously the Nelson Willis-trained miss seemed to find another gear as she staved off the challenge from a first over Park Lane Rhythm. Her work was far from over though as Honey B Skipalong started to find her best stride while motoring through the passing lane. With very little separating the top two a determined Native Hotspur was able to keep Honey B Skipalong at bay, eventually winning by a tight nose. Honey B Skipalong was a strong second while My Heart Was True (Brandon Simpson) had her perfect four-for-four record in 2009 come to an end with a third place finish.
Now sporting a perfect six-for-six record and $115,915 in 2009, a relieved and very happy Nelson Willis was all smiles as he spoke about his filly in the winner’s circle.
“We had a bye to get into this race so she hadn’t raced in about three weeks which did worry me,” said the veteran conditioner. “I’d just as soon have them racing each week but I trained her up pretty hard last week and she just seems to love what she does and she loves to win races which she showed us once again tonight by rising to the occasion.”
Native Hotspur, the 4-5 favorite of the betting public, returned $3.60, $2.60 and $2.10. The filly will now head for an ISOBA Stake event at Balmoral Park in early July before getting a couple of weeks off according to Willis.
In the opening split Michael Anderson & Shim Racing’s Smellthecolornine and driver Marcus Miller used the inside starting spot to perfection, speeding right to the front as soon as the wings of the starting gate folded, then proceeding to make every call a winning one in 1:54.3 over the sloppy track.
In hand to the young reinsman, this gelded son of Cole Muffler-Ten Speed effortlessly cruised through splits of 28.2, 58.1 and 1:26.2. After stacking up the field up heading into the final turn, Miller and Smellthecolornine then sprinted away from their rivals with a 28.1 final quarter to secure the victory. Jamboree (Sam Widger) finished second while Rich N Flashy (Tyler Buter) shook loose to be third. Grandma Jan’s Max also gained a spot in the final with his fourth place finish.
The 2 ¾ length win was the third in five starts this year for Smellthecolornine, who now boasts career earnings of $88,155.
Given a confident steer by the red-hot Josh Sutton, who had five wins on the Friday card, this son of Sportsmaster-Iossal put up splits of 28.1, 56.4 and 1:25.2 while holding the highly regarded but first over Park Lane Deputy (Dale Hiteman) at bay from the half-mile mark on.
After putting away the challenge of the overwhelming 1-2 favorite, Sutton and My Boy Luke were pretty much on cruise control the rest of the way as they reported home with a one-length verdict. Fox Valley Seth (Brandon Simpson) was second while What It Means (Marcus Miller) gave trainer Erv Miller a three-pack of starters in next week’s final with his third place finish. Park Lane Deputy held on for fourth and will get the chance to avenge only his second loss in nine starts this season in next week’s final.
The victory was just the second in eight starts this year for the Roger Welch trained My Boy Luke who earned nearly $50,000 while taking an impressive mark of 1:52.3 as a two-year-old last season.
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