Whittling it down, there is only 3 races remaining in the 2016 $20,000 bestbet Derby, but those three trips around the oval will be very exciting ones. Loads of talent still remain and we all know that there are greyhounds that step up and surprise everyone with a late round win. Exciting things will be found out on Saturday evening as well. Can mercury Morris go undefeated in the rounds? Can his brother, Raiders Bacardi, get back on track after missing by a head last time out? Can the veteran Gs Daisy May step up and reach yet another stakes final? Can O Ya Gunsmoke return to the finals for a second straight year? Can KK Whitezin make into back to back stakes finals over 660 yards? These questions and more will be answered by the end of the card on Saturday evening at bestbet Jacksonville.
Let’s take a closer look at the three remaining race and see if we can get you cashing some tickets this weekend at bestbet Jacksonville.
Saturday evening – Semi-Finals bestbet Derby
Race 7 – Time for a new streak to start for Raiders Bacardi. This greyhound is the best closer at the racetrack over 660 and if he ever gets to go 770, it might just be record breaking. He can come from nowhere to win race, and even when it looks like he has no shot at all, he still almost wins. (Just check out his last effort) The 8 box has been kind to him in the past and it will be again in this race. Look for him to break a bit better tonight and find room on the outside. Once clear, he will make a move up the backside and should take over this race coming home to score his 3rd win in 4 qualifying trips. Another well posted closer that should be around late in this effort is Hioctanebill. This greyhound also has gears to burn late and should make the most of this coveted red blanket. He has not missed the trifecta in the rounds so far and is loving his return to 660 yards. All he needs to do is stay out of trouble early on and he should be a factor in the stretch again in this effort. I know she hasn’t won a race in a while, but you can never count out Gs Daisy May. Do you realize that she will be trying for the 7th stakes final of her career in this effort.? Well if she wants to get there, she might need to post up a W in this start. This veteran has seen more races than anyone here and she knows how to win when she needs to. She finished 4th in the finals of the 2015 Orange Park Derby and is looking for another shot at a title. Here she will need to come out running if she wants a chance to pull off the upset. The good news for her is that there are no consistent big time breakers in this field. Last but not least is Herstal. Herstal missed her break last time out and it cost her in a big way. She finished out of the money for the first time in the stakes and put into jeopardy her chances at making the final. You know she has the skills and raw speed to win, currently she has the quickest time of anyone in this field, she just needs to put it all together once again. Breaking a long way from the rail, she will need to come out quickly in order to get to where she wants to be on the racetrack. If she clears close, she could be upset minded tonight. (8-1-4-7)
Race 11 – Probably the toughest race on the card as 5 of the 8 greyhounds in the field have won a round in the stakes and 7 of the eight have finished in the money in 2 of their 3 starts. Loads of early speed in this effort, so it might come down to post and who wants it more. With that being said, I take the ideally posted unsurrenderable threat O Ya Gunsmoke. All you have to do is watch is last effort to see what I mean. You want to talk guts? That was on full display on Monday evening at bestbet Jacksonville. Seeing the early lead slip away, he could have just packed it in, but not Gunsmoke, he never gave up, chipped away at the leader, and in the stretch he showed what sheer determination was. I huge, huge effort to win, and tonight from a good outside post, I EXPECT THE SAME! Now he won’t be alone in this trip around on the lead as there are several others that might have a chance to get ahead of him early, or challenged him at the wire, but in the end, the outcome will be the same. Making him work throughout for sure will be the also well posted Lk’s Picket Wire. This greyhound loves the rail and gets it again here in the 2 box. This talented puppy runs his best over the route when he can get out of the box well, and tonight he has no big early speeders around him to impeded his effort. I would think that he will break and be in the mix early and often in this effort. As he is not short late, a good break might just put him in a position to take down the leaders at the wire and steal away yet another win in the rounds. Certainly both of the previously mentioned greyhounds will be pressed early by the quick breaking and rushing threat that is Pj Alabama. This greyhound can really come flying from the starting box and has found the front end and led to the stretch in 3 of her last 4 efforts, including her last 2 rounds of the stakes. Her drawback is that she is shot late on occasion and if she can’t steal enough early on, she is bound to get caught late once again in this effort. The post is good, let’s see if she is up to the challenge one more time. Darx Ida Da Moon might not be the flashiest runner in the stakes, but he has been a consistent threat in all of his rounds so far in the rounds. He has run some good efforts, including a strong front running trip last time out, but he has yet to see the promised land at the wire. Winning here is still a stretch as the big names will be hard to handle for him, but if you are looking for a good play under on your tickets, he might just fit the bill for you. He has a solid post, he has been in the money in 5 straight, and he can close from off the pace to get into the mix at the wire. Don’t overlook him in your wagers. Sometimes it not just picking a winner that can get you cashing tickets. (8-2-7-4)
Race 15 – We have ridden him this far, so we might as well take a trip with him all the way home. Mercury Morris is the only undefeated greyhound left in the stakes and I see no reason for him to get beat in this race. Sure there are some talented greyhounds running here, some who even who gave winning trips last time out, but come the wire no one will be better. Another great outside post for him here and that will just make it easier for him to get around cleanly in this race. Like his brother, Morris comes from well of the pace to win race and that should lead to come trouble on occasion. Tonight I think he is going to make it interesting to watch, as he will have to catch a better cast of characters at the wire, but in the end, he gets a big time W and takes a clean sheet into the finals. Making him work late and trying to steal away the win on the front end will be Pat C Lulu. Lulu gave a gallant effort last time out, but O Ya Gunsmoke chipped away at get throughout and finally bested her at the finish line. Tonight she gets the one box and should be unabated to the early lead. Once in front she will push the pace as fast and as far as she can, but it in the end she will come up short once again. Just like she has in all 3 of her stakes rounds. Another gallant try, but just next best at the wire for the second straight trip. Another one to throw into the ring will be Kk Whitezin. Hot off a win, Whitezin is another greyhound that just won’t give up the ghost no matter what happens to her in the race. She always continues to close and run her best and tonight will not be an exception to that rule. She has a good starting box here on the inside part of the racetrack and will find room to get around close to the leaders early on. If she decides to break, like she did 5 races back, you know where she had her last inside post, she might just steal away too many lengths for anyone to make up. Watch out for Shutthefrontdoor as well. Granted she has not been quite on top of her game as she has in the past, but she still has been competitive in the rounds. With two money finishes in three stakes efforts, she is close to having a shot to make another final round appearance, but will need a win in this trip if she wants another chance at the crown. Remember she lead for the majority of the 2015 Orange Park Debry Final, but had to settle for place as Tmc’s Sweety Pie went by in the stretch. She is far better than her lines show, she just needs to find her breaking mojo to have a shot tonight. If she could hit the lid, fire out fast, and steal a big lead on the rest tonight, she too has a chance to win and move on. (7-1-2-3)
The finals of the 2016 $20,000 bestbet Derby will run on Saturday evening February 6th at bestbet Jacksonville in the 11th race on the card. The post positions for the final will be drawn on Wednesday February 3rd. Remember that we will be running a promotion in conjunction with the finals as part of our Super Derby Saturday. The return of the MAD, MAD, MONEY MACHINE, along with scratch off tickets, and of course our 2nd chance drawings. So grab some friends and plan on being here to watch the best 660 greyhounds at the racetrack run, and have a chance to win some cash and prizes here at bestbet Jacksonville.