Time to get things started here in the finals of the 2017 $20,000 bestbet Derby. The field is set and ready to go for Saturday evening in conjunction with our Mad, Mad Money Machine and our fan favorite second chance drawings. Let’s take a closer look at the finalist and the final race preview for the 11th race on the card for Saturday evening February 4th, 2017.
Greyhounds in post-position order.
1. Barts Risingstar (Buzz Around – Barts Marigold) was the runner up in the recent Orange Park Derby. A strong stalking closer that can get it done from anywhere on the racetrack. The point leader drew well with the 1 box, but he needs to break if he wants to win.
2. Lk’s Centuria (Sh Avatar – Lk’s Mischievous) was the pre-race favorite who has won 8 of her last 11 starts. She has the post edge over everyone in this field, and once in front, she is so, so hard to run down. Look for a big break and a big effort. Tonight, she is the one to beat.
3. Easi Ted (Djays Octane – Easi Chloe) is the only stakes winner over 660 in the race, (Holiday 660 race) and has shown that he can dominate over 550 and 660 yards. Breaking fast is the key to his success here and the big breaker next door helps him get out of the box well. Does he show up? We will see.
4. Pat C Merlin (Djays Octane – Pat C Magic) is the youngest pup in the mix for the title, and like ted, more of a sprinter than 660 greyhound. He has not missed the trifecta in 6 straight, and has only finished out of the money once in his 22 lifetime starts. Talented up, who could factor underneath on your tickets tonight.
5. Omega Point (Bella Infrared – Hondo Fancy) won the first two rounds of the stakes and has finished in the quiniela in 5 of his last 6 trips. Breaking better and being more consistent as of late, Point has a chance to pull off the upset. That is if he can overcome the rough 5 box at the start.
6. Tempo Rock (Tk Quick Strike – Blackjack Flyer) might just be the best early speeder in the finals. Only greyhound not to win a round in the stakes, 2nd on 4 occasions, he has the ability to steal away the lead at the start of this race. He might just be saving the winning trip for this effort, if he is, he needs a mile at the start if he wants to hold on at the wire.
7. Herstal (Definate Opinion* – Mika) is the 770-track record holder and the only returning finalist to this race. This all out closer only starts running when she can get to the rail, and it is a long way there from the 7 box. Posted next to a breaker, she will need to follow him out in a hurry if she wants a chance to catch up late and challenge for the win.
8. Aintgunnawasteit (Gable Oscar – Rain Over Me) is the other big time closer in the field that really stepped up during qualifying. Always in the money on the page, 6 straight, winning could be a tough call for this greyhound that might be running over his pay grade. Post could help him though. If he can stay clear of trouble, he has a shot to keep the in the money streak alive.
Now for the race…
As the lure rumbles through the backside and the box comes open in the finals of the 2017 $20,000 bestbet Derby, I expect Tempo Rock and Lk’s Centuria to hit the lid and come a battling for early control. Centuria makes the most of the post, hugs the inside, and that should be just enough to give her the slight edge over Rock as they motor through the far turn the first time around. They will have company though as Easi Ted, Omega Point, and Barts Risingstar all chase after the leader as they start to come up the frontside. At the first call, Centuria will maintain a short lead as the rest of the chases will be fast on her heels. Around the escape they go, and down the backside they run, and the leader is still Centuria. Padding her numbers a bit as the chasers look for position and get blocked a bit by Rock who is trying his best to stay in contention. By the 660 box again the field has started to make a move and it is going to be interesting coming home. Centuria is still breezing on the lead, but the order behind her has changed a bit. Easi Ted is now in second, Rock is drifting back in 3rd and the closers have started to make their moves. Barts Risingstar is the closest of them and he is just off in 4th place. Turning for home. Centuria continues to control this effort, but from off the looks of things behind her, she is going to need every inch to seal the deal at the finish. Risingstar is flat out flying coming home and Easi Ted is not surrendering any ground either. Closer and closer the chasers get and closer and closer the wire comes into focus. At the finish, it takes a photo to separate them. Centuria holds on in a box to wire effort as Barts Risingstar is a groomsman again as he loses in a photo finish. Easi Ted is right there in third and early contender Tempo Rock survives a late challenge outside to find the final spot in the superfecta. (2-1-3-6)