Time to start off the year right with a great stakes event over 660 yards here at bestbet Jacksonville. The 2016 edition of the $20,000 bestbet Derby starts tonight and we get 40 of the best routers trying their hand for the title, the crown, and the cash on Saturday evening February 6th. Before we get there though, we need to move through the rounds and earn those points. Remember in 2016 wins count more as we adjusted our points scale to 19,12,9,6,3,2,1,0 for all of our stakes events. Let’s take a closer look at the 5 races and see if we can’t get you cashing some tickets this Monday evening at bestbet Jacksonville.
Monday evening –
Race 2 – Puppy power to start off our night as Lk’s Picketwire looks like the one to beat. Flying up the ranks went this talented pup, and with stakes experience already in the Juvenile, he should be ready to go. A threat over each distance, this pup has it all. Braking close and stalking throughout, he finds a way to get past late for the W. Setting the pace and making him work for it should be the only solid grade A in this race, Pj Gotochurch. Forget the last effort, tonight the post makes her a threat from the get go. She will be a force from start to finish again tonight. Likewise the other Pj greyhound should factor in a similar way. Pj Alabama might only have one start over 660, but it was a good one. Breaking well and leading to the deep stretch, this greyhound might have what it takes to wire this field on the lead and take home a win. No doubt if she gets out quickly again, she will be in the mix at the wire tonight. Now for the stretch. I know Nb’s Cowboy might be a bit overmatched in class tonight, but you have to love his blue collar attitude to each and every race. He has been in the money in 8 of 9 starts and with a good outside post, I think he finds the super again in this effort. He will need to break well in order to hang with the big dogs tonight. (6-8-4-7)
Race 4 – Powerhouse play here in this effort as the multi-stakes finalist O Ya Gunsmoke looks ready for the challenge again over 660. This greyhound can win over both distances, but can be short on occasion over 660. He is a better breaker over the route and should be a big time force to be reckoned with in this effort. He will not be alone here as there are several others that have a shot to beat him. He will need to be on his game, and if he is, he will find a way to win. Determined is the key word of the day! Pushing the pace will be the always threatening Shutthefrontdoor. This greyhound was the runner-up in the 2015 Orange Park Derby and has been a major threat since over 660 yards. With a great break, she is always around the lead, but she pays for it late in her races. She has not won a start in a while, but she has been in the cash in 5 of her last 6 starts. Look for her to keep up the appearances in this effort and factor from start to finish. Another threat has to be the recent winner Pat C Lulu. I know she is up in grade, but when she gets loose, she can be a force to be worried about. She needs to hit the lid here in order to contend. Maybe not as great as his sister KK Whitezin, but no slouch himself. Kk Scotchwhiskey keeps in contention in each and every start and should do so again in this effort. With 5 of 6 in the money, you know what you are going to get and the 8 box might just make him upset minded tonight. If he can steal the lead, he might just factor higher up the ladder in this one. (7-5-6-8)
Race 7 – This race should prove to be interesting as there is not really and true early speeders in the ranks, so at the end it is going to get crowded in a hurry. I like class and you get a ton of that with the 8 dogs, Mx Midnite Jazz. Granted she has hot done as well as of late, but should be able to rebound against this less than grade A field. The post also helps as she will find room early and prove unstoppable in the stretch. Another one to think of in this field would be Herstal. She might lack a bunch of starts over the route, but you cannot teach raw speed and that is what she has in abundance. She has the fastest time by far, 37.33, over 660 yards here and is a monster if she can get loose on the front end. Holding her back might be the tough 5 box, but that too could be a mute point if she breaks well. Hitting the lid or coming out close early on, and she could be the one that no one can catch in this effort. Others to consider here include the solid grade A stakes tryer Pat C Singed from a favorable post position. Loving the rail and 2 box should be a right at home place for her to start from. Like the rest she must some out well early in order to have a shot at the win tonight. Don’t sleep on Tempo Rock either. I know the likes are not all that great, but this greyhound was the winner of the 2015 660 leg of the Holiday Stakes. When the mood suits him, he is far better than the lines on paper show. (8-5-2-7)
Race 9 – He might be new to the ranks of the 660 greyhounds, but he certainly looks like he is starting to figure it all out. Mercury Morris is loving the route and has posted up strong effort in 3 straight races. What makes him even more of a threat is that it appears that he can run, contend, and even win, with or without the early lead over the route. His only hurdle here might be the 5 box. In order to have room to give it his all in the stretch, he will need to break and be in the conversation early on in this effort. If he can do that once again tonight, there will be no stopping him at the wire. Leading the way early will be the cagey stakes veteran Bostonstrongiris. This greyhound almost always comes to run at the start of the race, but she pays for it late in her efforts. She is short heading home on most occasions, but when she can steal enough early and get some help behind, she can hold on now and then and win at the wire. The post is ideal for her in this effort, she loves the rail, and she should be unabated to the front end tonight. How long can she hold the lead? That is the true question in this race. Another switcher to watch out for is Mexican Senorita. This greyhound is thriving in her last couple of starts over 660 yards and gets a similar post position to start this race from. She has a solid break and can hang all the way around the racetrack with the leaders. If she gets loose tonight, she could surprise them all by stealing away the win late in this effort. Don’t forget about Gs Daisy may either. I know she is a bit long in the tooth, but she has finished in the money, 4th in the 2015 Orange Park Derby and 2nd in the 2014 bestbet Derby, in two stakes finals. She is as good as she wants to be and if the planets can get aligned one more time tonight, she too has an outside shot at the big time W in this race. (5-3-2-8)
Race 11 – Saving the best for last, back to back Orange Park Derby winner Tmc’s Sweety Pie is here and ready for another run at a stakes title. She has not been up to her par as of late, but she runs her best when the big lights are shining bright on her. Here she gets a near rail post with the 3 box and not a tom of early speeders to run down. She should be really close early on and no one at the racetrack can run with her in the open. All she needs to do it want to run, and this race will be hers. Let’s see if she is up to the task once again in this effort. For sure giving her motivation will be the back to back winner Kk Whitezin. This greyhound has made a stakes final before, the 2015 Orange Park Derby, and she knows how to contend and win races at bestbet Jacksonville. She is a double threat as she can win with or without the lead in any race and is probably better suited as a closer. Can she keep the streak alive and post up the hat trick in this effort? Sure! If she wants to go, she could be the one to beat tonight. Puppy Raiders Bacardi could also be a threat in this effort. he has taken well to the added distance and gets a stellar post here in the 1 box. His closing style of running makes him tough late for the early speeders and once he figures out his break over the route, he could take his talents to another level. With back to back wins recently, he is ready for the next step, winning in grade A and S. Keep an eye out for him in this effort. Last but not least we look at arguably the best closer in the field, Ddm’s Orion. You never know what you are going to get from his belt, but it could be slight smack or a but whoppin. This greyhound is as fast as he wants to be and come from nowhere to win races when he wants to. He has tremendous closing abilities, but needs to be more consistent at the start of his race. If he can gets around closer early, he will have a chance to win his 4th race in his last 6th efforts. (3-6-1-5)
The second round of the 2016 bestbet Derby will run on Friday evening January 22nd at bestbet Jacksonville. All 5 fields will return for the second round action.