04/27/2012 3:47PM

Lone Star Park: Shotgun Willis stands out exiting key race


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Shotgun Willis will attempt to become the fourth next-out winner to emerge from a recent Oaklawn race on Sunday, when he runs in a seven-furlong, first-level optional $18,000 claimer at Lone Star Park.

Shotgun Willis, who is a striking gray son of Najran, last raced in a $12,500 claiming sprint at Oaklawn on March 18. He finished sixth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths in the six-furlong race that served as his first start since January. Following its running, winner Forest King and third-place finisher Graysonia both came back to take starter allowances at Oaklawn, with respective Beyer Speed Figures of 93 and 78. In addition, Simply Gone, who was fourth in the March 18 race, returned in his next start to take a $6,250 claimer, also at Oaklawn, with a Beyer of 91.

Shotgun Willis shows a trio of half-mile works since the March 18 race, among them a bullet move in 48 seconds at Lone Star on April 15. He will be moving to seven furlongs for the first time since September, when he won a $10,000 starter allowance at the distance at Remington Park. Shotgun Willis also won a first-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs last fall. Cliff Berry, who won three races Thursday night at Lone Star, has the mount for HKH Racing and trainer Cody Autrey.

The chief threat appears to be Normandy Storm, who is moving back to both dirt and one turn, site of his last win. He also has class in his corner as one who has spent his career facing steeper. Jose Figueroa has the mount for April McCurry and trainer Karl Broberg.

The field also includes Cougar Hollow, a threat to pull a wire job and the lone horse in the field not offered for the claiming price Sunday.

◗ In the second race, Tapativity makes his Lone Star debut after wintering at Fair Grounds in a first-level allowance at one mile. He is by Tapit and from the Dixieland Band mare Radioactivity, making him a half-brother to four-time Grade 3 winner Champali. Tapitivity is out to rebound from a rare off-the- board finish in an optional claiming race March 18. He finished seventh, racing farther off the pace than usual after a slow start. Berry has the mount for owner-trainer Steve Asmussen.