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'Hot Shot' Filly Aims For Alberta Glory

Published: October 26, 2012 11:12 pm ET

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Veteran trainer and driver Rod Starkewski has enjoyed his share of stakes success over the past two decades, but will be vying for his first Alberta Super Final trophy with the near perfect filly Crackers Hot Shot during Saturday afternoon’s $430,000 Alberta Sires Stakes Super Final card at Northlands Park.

Crackers Hot Shot heads into Saturday’s $75,000 Super Final for two-year-old pacing fillies with four wins and one second in five pari-mutuel races and nearly $45,000 earned in purses. She is the even-money favourite on the morning line thanks to a perfect three-for-three Alberta Sires Stakes record.

“She’s just done everything we’ve asked her so far,” Starkewski told Trot Insider. “She’s had no problems. She’s one of those lucky ones.”

Starkewski and his wife Jackie acquired the Camcracker filly as a yearling from one of their retiring owners Mike Brady. Brady had claimed Crackers Hot Shot's dam Shesahotshot for $37,500 off Hall of Fame horseman Keith Clark at the end of her four-year-old campaign in 2003 and the mare went on to win at the Open level and take a mark of 1:54.4 at Northlands while racing under Starkewski’s care. She completed her career with 20 wins and $186,080 banked in purses. But her first foal by Freedoms Pass, Hot N Free, now a five-year-old riding horse, only managed one win in 17 starts and a mark of 2:03 leaving Starkewski cautiously optimistic about his promising youngster.

“Her sister wasn’t as good so that’s always in the back of your head that maybe she won’t be as fast,” he said. “But everything I’ve asked her she’s done pretty handy.”

Crackers Hot Shot has won all of her races from off the pace, except her most recent start in the Alberta Starburst on Sept. 29 at Alberta Downs when she went wire-to-wire in a career-best 1:57.2.

“She likes to race off the pace better; she loves passing horses,” said the 44-year-old Lamont, Alberta horseman. “She was a little lost the last time I put her on the front end. She got a little bored waiting for them to come at her.”

Crackers Hot Shot will leave from post five in the eighth race Super Final on Saturday afternoon. She will be making her Northlands debut, but Starkewski is not worried about the change in racing surfaces.

“It should be okay. She takes everything pretty good. She’s a smart filly, nothing really phases her,” he said. “And we trained down at Northlands a little bit in the spring before we shipped out to Lacombe.”

While Crackers Hot Shot has defeated every filly in her division, Starkewski has his eye on a few that he feels could step up and pose a threat in Saturday’s stake final, including Kelly Hoerdt trainee Barona Lilac and Ryan Grundy trainee Kiss My Crouper from the inside posts, along with Connie Kolthammer entry Outlawlookslikrain starting just to his outside in post six. All three have won Alberta Sires Stakes divisions with Outlawlookslikrain entering the Super Final off a victory over the other two contenders in the Premiers Filly Pace last weekend at the Edmonton oval.

Following Saturday’s big test, Crackers Hot Shot will head to Outlaw Farms for a winter break before getting back to work to prepare for her sophomore season. And work is something the averaged-sized filly has taken a liken to.

“She gets very annoyed if she’s not working,” noted Starkewski, who is currently stabled at Alberta Downs until November when he will move his outfit to Northlands for the winter meet. “We had some breaks in between races so I tried to turn her out in the paddock for three or four days and she didn’t care for that. She tried to get into trouble in the barn so I had to work her on the track and then she was a lot happier. She loves going out everyday.”

There's no doubt Crackers Hot Shot will enjoy her outing Saturday, but the question remains if it will leave Starkewski just as happy.

To view Saturday's harness racing entries, click on the following link: Saturday Entries - Northlands Park.

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