The finals of the 2017 bestbet Derby turned out to be another fantastic battle, all the way around the racetrack, just to see who would get the nod at the wire. The classic clash of early and late speed was in full display, but in the end one greyhound clearly came home as the winner.
Breezing the down the backside, RUSTY, came rumbling past the 660-yard starting box and out came the greyhounds. As Joe Ross bellowed out the “And they’re off”, Lk’s Centuria took over command. Seizing the lead from the first few steps, she was instantly in control of this race. She was not alone though. Clearly her early 2 length advantage put her on her way, buy she was stalked through the early turn by Omega Point and Barts Risingstar. Tempo Rock led the chase pack behind the trio as they all just looked to find room rounding the ben and up the frontstretch. Toward the first turn call they went with Lk’s Centuria holding an easy lead over the rest, but things were a changing behind her. Risingstar bullied his way by Omega Point and took over the prime chasing spot as Tempo rock saved ground on the rail. By the escape turn Lk’s Centuria’s lead had shrunk to just a length over Risingstar and the rest as Temp Rock snuck under the rest on the rail and maintained third headed up the backside. Inching closer to the lead with every stride, Risingstar put on a drive, and by the starting box the second time around, he had pulled dead even with the leader as they started into the far turn. Tempo Rock was just off in third by a couple of lengths, and Omega Point followed the leaders ahead of the chase pace that included Easi Ted and Aintgunnawasteit. Half way thru the turn, the closer took over. Barts Risingstar really put his head down and decided that he wanted to win this race. Pulling ahead by a length, he was now in command and the rest of this field would be hard pressed from this point to get to him before the wire. Risingstar would not relent on this occasion. This late speed machine, pulled away from the chasing early leader Lk’s Centuria and crossed the line 3.5 lengths to the good in a blistering 37.19 second romp. Even though it was not a victory, Lk’s Centuria gave everything she had on this occasion. She didn’t quit, ran all the way through the wire and easily held her place position at the wire. Slowing down late, Tempo Rock managed to hold on to third as the coming again threat Omega Point just missed the show spot in the photo finish. Completing the field was Easi Ted, who broke slowly and found trouble, in fifth, Aintgunnawasteit in sixth, Herstal, won couldn’t get to the rail at the start, in seventh, and Pat C Merlin, who had nowhere to go early on, finished eighth.
Congratulations to Barts Risingstar, owners Bj’s Greyhounds, trainer Traci Chase, the Jim Blanchard Kennel, and everyone else connected with this fantastic greyhound. Just missing in the finals of the 2016 Orange Park Derby, he was 2nd to Seldom Told, Barts Risingstar made amends in this race with a stupendous run around the oval. Breaking well for a closer, his stalking pace proved just too much for the early speeder in the stretch. A little over 3 years old, Risingstar still has some time left to win even more titles for the Blanchard Kennel here at bestbet Jacksonville. Good Luck to him in the future.