The Gs Duo might have got all the hype and wagering dollars on them before the start of the 2013 Orange Park Derby, but the title went to a greyhound that seized the opportunity and stole the finals and the championship.
As Rusty rattled down the backside in the finals of the 2013 Orange Park Derby, Gs Grace, from her coveted one box, was the favorite and her kennelmate Gs Cosmo was a second choice from the tough 5 box, but it was another greyhound that was going to make a splash at the break.
Darting by went Rusty and the box popped open and Safe At Home came out like a shot! Taking instant command over the field he was a length ahead of the rest in the first few strides from the box. Gs Grace broke very close, as expected from the rail, and so did Gavotte. As they rumbled through the first turn, Gavotte tried to get outside and cause a pile up behind her, which gave the leaders even more of an advantage over the rest of the field.
From that point on, this final really turned into a two greyhound race for the title, with Safe At Home on the lead and Gs Grace chasing the pace in place. Up front this duo battled and with every step that Grace took around the oval she tried to chip away at the leader.
Early on he was clear by a couple of lengths, but as they flew down the backside Grace made a bit of a move and gained some ground. Gavotte was still chasing in third, and the forced back early Gs Comso had started to make a run of his own.
By the far turn Grace had shrunk the margin to just a length and it appear that it was going to be a tantalizing finish, but Safe At Home had other plans. Digging in deep, Safe At Home put his head back down and gave a determined stretch run that left Grace no shot at winning this race. He really showed off some guts when challenged and deserved to take home the title at the finish line. Grace gave all she had with every stride around the racetrack, but the converted sprinter just couldn’t take down the leader before the finish line. Gs Cosmo came flying up the stretch and if the race would have been a bit longer, he might have caught both of the leaders. His time ran out though and he had to settle for third best as he rallied late after a early trouble ridden race. Gavotte held on to complete the superfecta after chasing the pace in third for the majority of this race. The rest of the final field was Slick in 5th, Gett It Going in 6th, Pat C Abash in 7th, and Kiowa Leap in 8th.
Hind sight is bliss as they say, but if you really looked at this race and if everything went just right, you could have seen it playing out this way with Safe At Home winning.
The speed was to the inside, Safe At Home and Gs Grace, and Gavotte loves to race wide and should go there early on. She broke well and moved wide and took out the closers early on. It gave a clean running late to the two breakers, and it became a two greyhound race. Either one could have got the lead and the advantage in this effort, but KUDOS to Safe At Home for seizing the opportunity and taking home the big win on the biggest 660 yard stage at bestbet Orange Park.
Congratulation to Red Oak Racing, owners Craig Tasens or Dora Hardin, trainer Leon Ooton and everyone else connected with this great greyhounds. This marks the second stakes win in a row for Red Oak Racing who sits alone at the top of the kennel standings for 2013. Here’s wishing the best for Safe At Home for the rest of the year and remember he can sprint too, so I would expect for you to see him in against some other stakes fields as the year progresses on.