Course for horses, well ok greyhounds, might be the BINGO title you were looking for as the leader in points for the 2013 JGR Puppy Stakes. Razorbingo shipped into bestbet OrangePark after a go at Southland and took to the racetrack like a moth to a flame. He quickly set the track on fire winning 5 of his first 6 races as he flew up the ladder to win in grade A. After some rough trips right before the stakes, Bingo found his break, and drive, again at just the right time. Flying thru the first two rounds untouched, he was one of three greyhounds to make it to the quarter-finals undefeated. This Clear Lake Racing product backed up those efforts with a solid 2nd and 4th place finish to secure himself the top spot in qualifying with 50 overall points. This was his first try at stakes race competition and it came in just his 12 career start at bestbet OrangePark. No worries though as he was up to the challenge and not only made the finals, but he became the point leader headed into the clubhouse. His best attribute is his break and he is going to have to come out of the box like he did in round 1 if he wants a chance at the title in this final round effort. There he beat the box and was in complete control at the first turn. Coasting on the front end he was never really challenged and posted up the best effort on the card as he won by 6 lengths in a speedy 30.41 second clocking. In this final post could play a role for him as well, as his best efforts in his young career have come from the outside post positions. If he can get something away from the crowd outside & find his break, he is going to be a tough out in this final round race!
No magical flute needed for this master of the lead, Ww’s Musician has all the tools she needs to make herself a huge threat in this final round field. Don’t believe me? Well just look at her qualifying efforts as she held the lead in all of her first three trips in the stakes and posted up a pair of wins and a strong second place finish in those efforts. In the semi’s she missed her break and finished out of the money, but don’t think that it’s a trend in the making. She is looking for redemption for that race in the finals and will be ready to fire out from the starting box when the time calls for it. This first of two from Red Oak Racing in the finals, Musician is competing in her first stakes event and in it she made it all the way to this final round field. Like I said BREAKING is her forte and it’s what makes her so dangerous around the oval. This was never more on display than in the third round as she dominated every single step around the racetrack to take home the hard earned front running win. As far as posts go the edges are the places she wants to be most. She has won some big times races from the far inside and outside part of the racetrack, but really it all comes down to the break. If she sits, she loses, so if she wants to win, she must come out on top in this one!
Of all the finalists, GS Tex, might just be the name that you are most NOT familiar with. His meteoric rise to the top might have put people to sleep, but everyone better start to pay attention. With every start he is getting better and better and since the middle of April, this greyhound has not missed the money in any of his effort. Stretching to 12 races in a row, including all 4 rounds of the stakes, Texhas been shooting out the lights! After a 2nd place finish and a couple of thirds in the first three rounds of the stakes, Tex needed a big win to catapult him into the finals. So what did he do? He ran a HUGE race and stole away the victory at the finish line. Braking behind the pack, Tex put it into another gear and drove up into contending early on. He chased that pace to the far turn and as they turned for home, that is when he put on his move. Shifting gears he dug in deep in the stretch and snuck by the leaders at the finish line for the slim win. Tex is unlike several greyhounds in this field as he is a big time closer that comes from well off the pace to get things done near, or at, the finish line. Tex is competing in his first ever stakes event and he made it to the elite eight as the only entry for the Willis Kennel. Midtrack might just be where he wants to start off this race from. In 4 starts from the 5 box, including his last race, he has won 3 times. Really all he needs is some room early, that he must get from the empty box, so that he can get close enough to use his late speed to threaten. Against this talented field, he is going to have to run another huge race to contend tonight.
Rudy, Rudy, Rudy, Whoops, been there done that already as Dutch Rudy is the only greyhound in this field will prior stakes races finals experience. Not only was he finalist in the Pot O’Gold Classic back in March, where he finished 4th, he was also a finalist in the recently run 2013 James J Patton Silver Cup. So Rudy keeps the trend going as he makes his third stakes final in a row with four straight efforts in the money in the JGR Puppy Stakes. Rudy covered all the bases with a win, a place, a show, and a fourth place effort to land him in the 4th spot in qualifying. In all of those starts he was a closing machine and he was right in the mix for the top spot in each and every effort. His best though came in round 2 as he was way too close too early on for the rest of the fields comfort. There he narrowed the gap on the leaders up the backside and took over in the far turn. Driving for the wire he left them in his lurch and was all alone by 4 lengths at the wire. Rudy is the first of two entries for the Lester Raines Kennel in the stakes and gets the primeval experience edge over the rest of his competitors. Rudy can win from a bunch off different post positions, but he needs to break well to have any chance at catching the big time early speeders in this race. Somewhere on the edges might just be what the doctored ordered in this effort.
The youngest and the most inexperienced greyhound in the field is Ww’s Ignite Fire, but if you looked at her lines, you might not think so. Sure she might have started the stakes in just her 8th career race, but she didn’t let that stop her. She won back to back efforts to start the rounds and was one of three greyhounds that went into the quarter-finals undefeated. Granted a rough break and trip saw her finish 7th in round 3, but she made up for that in the semi’s with a strong closing 3rd place effort. This second of two from Red Oak Racing might lack experience, but her talent to win from the lead or from off the pace surpassed it by a LONG, LONG way! Julia Ward keeps sending in monsters and over and over again we are seeing just how they can dominate at bestbetOrangePark! So far she is just getting it done on raw skills, everyone better be wary of her when she starts to figure it all out and gets her break down on a consistent basis. If she could hit the lid every time, this greyhound could be the second coming ofBurt Road! Post really doesn’t matter than much to her it seems, as long as she can find room to rush to the turn in. Another greyhound the wants no part of the middle of the racetrack in my opinion, Fire needs to find a spot on the far inside or outside part of the track. If she breaks in this final round race and makes the lead at any point, the real race will be for place and who finishes second at the wire behind her.
Topline Pursuit – (41 Points) – 4 box
Career Totals (33/9-4-3-1)
R – M June 2011 Bonafide Top Dog – Driven To Speed
Owned By – Deborah Strickland Trust
Runs for the Lester Raines Kennels
Trained by Mike Gerard
Topline Pursuit jumped back to 550 for the stakes and it looks like the Lester Raines Kennel and trainer Mike Gerard made the right call. Pursuit not only won a warm up race right before the stakes starts, he won back to back efforts in the first two rounds and stretched his streak to 3 in a row. Along with the other two undefeated greyhounds heading into the quarter-finals, Pursuit didn’t fair well and finished out of the money, but he did rebound nicely in the semis with a hard trying 3rd place effort. This stakes is the first time that Pursuit has tried the best at the racetrack and he did well enough to find a spot in this final round field. Over 550 Pursuit is a double threat in that he can win from the lead or from off the pace and that will make everyone stand up and take notice in this race. Another wrinkle to think about with him is that this duo, Deb Strickland and Mike Gerard, brought us another puppy stakes winner by the name of Really Xtreme, and could do it again on Saturday evening. Post could help out his effort in the race and if recent history has anything to do with it, the 7 box is the place he wants to be. He won all 3 of those races in a row from the 7 box and might just be up to make it four straight. Breaking is important to him too, so he needs to hit the lid in order to be in the mix at the wire tonight.
Kiowa Mat Marty – (38 Points) – 8 box
Career Totals (38-15-7-4-4)
BK – M July 2011 Kay V Tatoo Tony – Kiowa Matty
Owned By – Smith Greyhounds Inc.
Runs for the Connell Kennel
Trained by Thomas Lawrimore
Now for the experience part of our program as Kiowa Mat Marty has three times as many grade A wins in his career than any greyhound in this field. Yep Marty has 10 and the nearest competitor has 3! Experience could be his ticket to a title in this effort, but he has a lot of tough competition, including himself, to get out of the way first. During qualifying Marty won two of the four races, including the semi-finals in order to make it into this final round field. This Connell kennel monster has completed in a stakes before, the 2013 James J Patton Silver Cup, but he didn’t make it past the 2nd round. Here he broke that jinx and is sitting pretty amongst the finalist for Saturday evening. At the top of his game, Marty runs just like dear old dad, an All-American, Kay V Tatoo Tony. He flies from the starting box, outrushes the competition to the early lead, and survives in the deep stretch to hold on at the wire for the slim victory. Both of his winning efforts came in the same fashion in round two and four, and he can’t deviate from the plan if he wants to take home the title tonight. Breaking is the only thing he has to worry about ion this effort, but a great post position could go a long way in helping him out. Marty has been prolific from the rail posts as of late and if he could find a way to see red or blue at the start, he might just be able to pull off the hole shot and make the rest of the field catch him if they want to win. Can he hit the lid and come out on top? Is he up for the challenge in this effort? We will see come post time on Saturday night.
Pat C Stonewall – (34 Points) – 3 box
Career Totals (39/12-2-2-5)
R – F January 2011 Flying Hydrogen – Pat C Rocky Hill
Owned By – Patrick Collins
Runs for the Pat Collins Kennel
Trained by Scott Jarvis
Last but not least is the Pat Collins kennel’s Pat C Stonewall. A tremendous breaking rusher and is extra tough when she gets the early lead, and that is just what she did in two of the four rounds of the stakes. In those races she took over early on, pushing the pace throughout, and had enough left at the end to take home the checkered flag at the wire. Stonewall is no stranger to stakes racing competition either, and even though she didn’t make it to the finals of the James J Patton Silver Cup, she did compete in all four rounds of the stakes and that included a similar front-running win in round number one. As we have said the break is the key to her success and she is going to have to be firing on all cylinders early on if she stands any chance at upsetting this field tonight. Post position could play a role too as she seems to favor the inside and outside parts of the racetrack. From these edge posts, she breaks better and gets more room to rush up to the turn. We all know what she can do with the lead, the problem in this race is going to be getting there. If she hits the lid tonight, she is going to throw a monkey wrench into the works for the rest of this final round field.