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Meet Driver Sam Widger
It was a slow and steady climb for Sam Widger to establish himself as one of the Top Ten drivers on the
Many drivers make their choices in a race based on what horse has the best chance to win however Sam very often doesn’t lean that way. He’ll get off a horse with perhaps a better shot and instead opt for another for “loyalty reasons.”
“I was raised to remember where we came from and how we started out,” said Sam. “I’m grateful for those who gave me opportunities and who have stuck with me through the good and not-so-good times. With me it’s all about loyalty.”
Widger first drive came back in 1985. Through 1996 he drove horses that never won purses of more than $315,000 in a single season. Sam paid his dues through those years before his “breakout” season in 1997.
“I started off slow. I didn’t have a family name like some of the others, so I had to do it the hard way,” said Sam. “I had been driving 3 or 4 nights a week and then I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to drive Juxtaposition and things kind of took off then in the back half of ‘97. She won the
“Another favorite for me was back in the late 80s in my
In 1998 Widger’s drives made five times more ($1.62 million) than they did two years earlier. And last season Sam enjoyed his best career year in both wins (458) and purses money won ($3,375,043).
Widger had some interesting thoughts about the two one mile tracks on the
“Even though Hawthorne and Balmoral are both mile ovals, they are two completely different tracks,” said Sam. “The layouts are different.
“The surfaces are also little bit different,” continued Sam. “
“I’ve always thought for some reason on this (
Does Sam prefer to race a horse near the front at
“I like to be up close here but you don’t always have the horse or the post position to get you there,” Sam replied.