Pat Collins had a hot run through the stakes, but no greyhound was hotter than Pat C Proper. Proper was a breaking and rushing machine in the first three rounds as no one beat her to the lead, or the wire, in any of those efforts. She was the last undefeated greyhound to fall and that came in the semi-finals. She still managed to finish in the money, with a 4th place finish, even after a rough trip in the first turn. Her best effort came in round number three where she beat the box, stole some lengths early, and gave a determined stretch run to win her third race in a row by a slim margin. Competing in her 2nd stakes race, she not only makes it to the finals for the first time, she is the point leader here for the entire race. The first of two entries in the finals for the Pat Collins Kennel, Proper is looking to give them a title come Saturday evening. The key to her success in this final round race has to be her break. She is tough on the lead and has proven that she can hang all the way to the wire and get things done during qualifying. Post position could also play a role in the outcome as she breaks and runs tougher from the edges of the racetrack. If she can get something on the rail or far outside, she should get clean air in front of her to rush in and she could just continue the red hot running in the finals. A sleeper at best at the start of the stakes, Proper has proved to the world that she belongs. Let’s see if she can step up one more time and put an explanation point on her efforts in the 2013 Jacksonville Sprint Classic.
Kiowa Mat Marty is an early speed veteran that posted up a pair of wins, a second, and a fifth place effort to make it into the finals. He is having a fantastic year so far with 26 wins, competing in three stakes races, and making it to his second straight final round field. Out of our very own All-American, Kay V Tatoo Tony, is as fast as he wants to be and when he gets his nose in front, he is a force to be reckoned with. If you need an example, just look at his semi-final round effort. There he broke from his best 1 box and left nothing up to chance. Out he came on top and once he was in the lead, this race was O-V-E-R! Setting a personal best clocking of 30.44 seconds, Marty never let off the gas pedal and maintained an easy margin all the way to the finish line. Of course the most important part of his game is the break and rush and he is going to have to be firing on all cylinders in this final round if he wants the lead and win over this talented field. The post could aide him in this effort, especially if he could draw the coveted one box. Watch out! In his career he has never finished out of the trifecta in the red blanket and he has won 7 of 11 starts. Looking to make up for his rough trip in his last finals, Marty could steal away a win with a big time early effort tonight.
Since joining us here at bestbet Orange Park, Time For Tootsie has shown some flashes of brilliance with dominating late running ability, and that was on showcase in her first ever attempt at stakes racing competition. Tootsie secured her spot in the top 8 with a monster effort in the semi-finals as she broke close, drove up early, and left the rest in the stretch to win by an impressive 7 and a half lengths at the finish line. Add to that he win from behind in round two, her near miss in round 1 by a neck, and her 5th place finish, you get a greyhound that is in the mix for one of the top spots throughout qualifying. The Falcon kennel has done a great job of improving their stock over the last several months and it’s great to see a finalist for them that is not named Gavotte. This greyhound is not of the same mold as several others in this field are, as she can come from off the pace and get the job done even if she doesn’t make the early lead in the finals. Surprising enough, the key for her to have a shot at the win on Saturday evening has to be the break. She has the tools for a late victory, but she must be in the conversation early on if she is going to have a chance to upset the rivals at the finish line. Post is not all that important to her, as she has won from several starting boxes, but room early is what she is going to be looking for. If she can get on the midtrack to outside spots, she could feel right at home rushing to the first turn. So if she comes to run, Saturday evening could be the TIME for the Falcon kennel to take home their first stakes victory at bestbet Orange Park.
Tough to sum up all what can be said about the two time stakes winners SNJ Black Porter in just a paragraph. This greyhound is so talented, and when he wants to run, he is as fast as anyone at the racetrack. Case in point, his one win in the rounds came in the 2nd where he set the fastest time on the day and demolished a stakes field by 10 and a half lengths at the wire. Compile that effort with two near misses and a late flying 4th, after trouble, and you get his 4th stakes final in his 7th previous attempts. Porter is a dual threat that can run either distance and win. He not only has done that in grade A, not only has he done it in qualifying, he has done it in stakes finals! With two under wraps, he is looking to join some elite names by recording possibly his third stakes title with a win on Saturday evening. Porter has gears the others wish they had in the stretch, but that is not the only card he has in his hand. He can break too and when he does, the race is for place behind him. In this one he needs to just have a clean trip early on. He doesn’t have to be in the lead to win, he has proved that in the past, he just needs to be lurking around the conversation and he will have a shot at the victory. An outside post would help a bit too as he loves to break, rush, and run from those boxes. Porter knows how to get the job done in the finals like no one else in this field, tonight let’s see if he can find some old glory and post up another title run.
The only other previous stakes winner in this field, Safe At Home gave another gritty performance in the qualifying rounds to see his third straight stakes final in a row over two different distances. Home posted up a win in round one, and counted down the rest with a 2nd, a 3rd, and a 4th place effort to round out qualifying. He was in the hunt in all of those efforts and was giving his all in each and every start. His win was a textbook run for him over the shorter 550 yard course as he came out close, chased the pace throughout, and turned on the jets in the stretch and captured away the victory near the finish line. Home has the experience factor in the finals over most of this field and could be poised to chalk up another big W come Saturday evening at bestbet Orange Park. Post position could be an important part of the outcome for him in this final round race. He absolutely loves the one box, and that would be the dreamiest of places for him to start this race from. From here he has not missed the trifecta in 8 straight trips and that includes an impressive 4 wins. He can also do well from the outside, so the edges are the places where he wants to be. Another stakes win and national attention is calling for the 2013 Orange Park Derby winner. Is he up to the task tonight? We will soon see!
Like in most stakes races, there are always some puppies sneaking into the mix and finding a way into the finals and this time around that puppy is Pat C Gatsby. Talk about your phenom stories, Gatsby has won half of his races, 8 of 16 starts, and has only finished out of the money twice so far in his young career. He grew up right before our eyes as he bolted up the ladder to grade A in just 6 races and already has 4 top grade wins to his credit. In qualifying he worked hard and won one round, placed in another, showed in another and finished 5th to complete his work. His best effort was the victory in round 3 as he broke slowly, rushed hard up into contention at the first turn, and took over down the backside. By the stretch he was clear of the rest and even padded his totals on the way to the wire. He crossed 7 full lengths clear of the competition in a dominate effort. Gatsby has good late speed and can use it at his discretion to challenge and win races, but against this talented field, he will need to get out of the box in a hurry on Saturday evening. Over the short sample, Gatsby looks to prefer the far inside and outside part of the racetrack, but if she breaks well it really won’t matter that much at all. Looking to throw her name into the rookie of the year hat, Gatsby might just show these old dogs some new tricks in this effort.
Easi Mitchie is another stakes vet that finds herself in yet another stakes final in the 2013 Jacksonville Sprint Classic. Mitchie did all of her damage early on as she posted up back to back wins in rounds 1 and 2 and coasted into the finals with a 5th and 6th place effort in her next two rounds. This early speed breaker ran her best effort in the stakes in round 2 where she broke closer, threatened the pace throughout, and creped by at the wire to steal away the victory. She is usually is a threat to be reckoned with when she can get to the early lead in a race, so the break, as always for her, is going to be the most important part of the finals for Mitchie. Experience may come into play too as this Clear Lake Racing Kennel greyhound has seen 2 other finals in the past as she has competed in 3 other stakes races. Post positions for her all over the place and she really doesn’t let them bother her too much. If she gets out of the starting box well, she can compete from almost anywhere, but if current history has anything to do with it, maybe she wants the 2 box at the start of this effort. Both of her wins in qualifying came from this post position, and from the inside in the past she has shown some good early speed. If she can get to the lead unabated at the start of this race, she might just have an EASI upset on her hands come Saturday evening.
With all the success that Warped has had at bestbet Orange Park, it is hard to believe that this will be her first stakes final appearance. Sure she has competed in the events before, 3 others to be exact, and she has won races in the rounds, but this will be her first attempt to take home the trophy. Just because she snuck into the finals in the last spot, don’t sleep on this little girl, she has the skills, break, drive, and desire to upset them all tonight. Warped was a consistent greyhound too in qualifying as she never missed the money and posted up a win, a pair of thirds, and a fourth place finish in the rounds. Her best trip came in the second round where she dominated from the get go from an ideal rail post position. There she was never in question as she proved tough on top for the duration and the win. Year to day she is right there with the leaders at the racetrack in wins, and was the hottest thing heading into the stakes with 3 wins in her last 4 races before the first round started. Post can always increase your chances of winning and for Warped those best chances come from the rail. In her last 12 starts from the 1 and 2 boxes, she has won 7 times and has only finished out of the money once. Looking to capitalize on her first final round race, Warped needs to break at light speed in this effort to have a chance at the wire.