05/23/2013 12:47PM

Balmoral: Sara The Spy hooks up with Trot Fudge Sundae in Violet Final

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Balmoral Park
Sara The Spy has blossomed in her 3-year-old season.

Sara the Spy is an intriguing 3-year-old filly trotter.

Last year when it came to finding the winner’s circle, the daughter of Powerful Emotion was clueless. Winless in eight starts, she finished in-the-money just twice.

This year it’s a different story. With three triumphs and a second in four starts, she is dropping hints that she is one of the best of her Illinois-bred peer group.

Sara the Spy’s two most compelling conquests—by margins of 4 1/4 and 3 3/4 lengths--have come at Balmoral Park in her two outings for owner/driver Todd Warren, who purchased the young lady from Don May of Newton, Illinois earlier this month.

“She has nice size and a great attitude,” Warren said. “She has been a bundle of joy so far.”

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Warren is hoping his joy ride will continue Sunday at Balmoral when Sara the Spy takes on eight other Illinois-breds in the $50,000 Violet Stakes.

“Three weeks ago she trotted a superb mile (winning the $12,000 Betzotic in a career best time of 1:55 4/5) and she raced well last week against a lesser group,” Warren went on. “If she can race like that the rest of the year she’d definitely be in the top two or three in the state.”

The most formidable of Sara the Spy’s foes figures to be Trot Fudge Sundae, the champion 2-year-old filly trotter in the state last year when she flaunted 10 wins and 2 places in 13 races.

Late last month Trot Fudge Sundae was a decisive 6 1/4-length winner (in a career best 1:56 4/5) when she made her 2013 debut at Balmoral for trainer Dirk Simpson, but next time out she was a non-threatening third as the 3-10 favorite in the Betzotic behind Sara the Spy.

“No excuses,” Simpson said. “Speed-wise, she trotted the same race as the week before.

“She didn’t have a bad race; she just got out-trotted home. Todd’s filly was tremendously better than when we beat her the week before and (trainer) Robert Taylor’s horse (Just for Fun) had a strong race.”

During the winter, Simpson tweaked Trot Fudge Sundae’s racing style a smidgeon.

“We spent a lot of time racing her behind horses and with groups of horses,” he explained. “Last year we didn’t have much flexibility. She wanted to race one way—on the front end. She was dominant so it worked out okay, but this year some of those other fillies have matured and gotten stronger.

“It’ll probably be her battling it out with Sara the Spy for the rest of the year.”

Simpson’s tentative itinerary for Trot Fudge Sundae extends beyond the Illinois-bred races at Balmoral and at the State Fairs in Springfield and DuQuoin. He wants to step her up to open company to compete in the Hanover Stake and American-National races at Balmoral.

In the Violet, Trot Fudge Sundae will have her regular accomplice, Hall of Fame driver Dave Magee, at the reins when she leaves from post position 4.  Sara the Spy will be on the outside (post 9) and Just for Fun will depart from post 2 with Casey Leonard in the sulky.

Taylor is racing Just for Fun as an entry with Little Ms Christy, who hasn’t hit the board in two starts this year but had six wins and four places in 11 starts last year.

Completing the field will be Divination, Powerful Goddess, Kelsey’s Star, Fox Valley Roxy and American Empress.