Round one of the 2016 $20,000 bestbet Derby is in the books and it was dominated by the J&J Calabro Kennel. Winning 3 of the 5 rounds, and finishing 4th in another, they had a night to be remembered at bestbet Jacksonville.
The best effort by far came from the super pup Lk’s Picketwire. Breaking near the lead in the 2nd race, he took over command in a hurry and stole away a lead up the front side. Coasting in control all the way around the track, he was easily in command turning for home and no one was going to get even close to him before the wire. Crossing in 37.73 seconds, the fastest on the card, he won by almost 5 lengths. Next best was the steady chasing Pj Alabama, followed by Darx Isa Da Moon who out closed Mac Ennison for the show position at the wire.
The other two winners scored their victories in a different fashion. Both Mercury Morris in the 9th race and Raiders Bacardi in the 11th race, came from well off the pace to catch the leaders late and take home the top prize, and the 19 points for their kennel.
Stakes vet Bostonstrongiris stole the lead in the 9th race and was looking very strong on the front end early on. She clung to the lead all the way around the racetrack, and even though it was dwindling, she looked like she was going to have a shot to hold on, well that was until Mercury Morris decided to run. Blowing by greyhounds in the far turn, he set his sights on the leader in the stretch and with one final swoop, he took over command. Winning by a length and a half at the wire after a huge late run, he posted up the 2nd of 3 wins for the Calabro Kennel. Iris settled for second after a strong front running effort, followed by the closing Mexican Senorita and the steady running Gs Daisy May.
In similar fashion to his kennelmate, Raiders Bacardi score a thrilling come from behind win in the 11th race on the card. Ld Virgil Earp bombed to the early lead and stole some lengths on this field as they headed down the frontstretch. Continuing on the front end, he went, but the closers were starting to make their move in the far turn and everyone knew it looked like bad news for the leader in the stretch. Shifting gears late, Bacardi who was 7th at one point in the race, exploded home and stole away the win from 3rd to 1st at the finish line. Fellow closer Ddm’s Orion took home place as Earp held on to show. Kk Whitezin won the photo for 4th at the wire after an even effort.
The other big winner on the night was the Ocala Kennel as they took home wins in the other 2 stakes qualifying races on the card. One was expected, the other was not, and even though they won in different ways, both greyhounds gave their all and scored a win for themselves and their kennels.
Stakes finalist veteran, O Ya Gunsmoke, didn’t miss a beat in the 4th race on the card and he burst out early, seized control of the race, dashed off a bit from the rest, and held strong to the wire for the slim win. Talk about determination, Gunsmoke was pressed throughout from another greyhound you might have heard of, Shutthefrontdoor, and never, ever gave up. Try as she might, Shutthefrontdoor could only chip away at the lead and not overtake the leader at the end of the race. Game effort but just good enough for second best on this occasion. Pat C Lulu won the photo for show as she closed by the chasing Ch Red Alert in the deep stretch.
History was on the side of Hioctanebill in this effort as his brother finished 2nd in the finals last year. Looking like he channel some of those gene here as he came from well off the pace to get it done in the stretch. Everyone was closing as the early leader Roger Sherman gave up the ghost as they turned for home and each had a chance at the win, but no one was better late than Hioctanebill. He hit the turbo late and not only won the race, he did it in dominate fashion. Leaving the rest with every stride he crossed almost 5 lengths better than the rest. Next best at the wire for Herstal, followed by Jawa Poison Ivy in show and Mx Midnight Jazz in 4th.
All 5 races will return for the second round of action which runs on Friday evening January 22nd at bestbet Jacksonville.