Round one of the 2017 bestbet Puppy Stakes is in the books, and for the most part, the class and chalk prevailed. In 4 of the 6 efforts, the post time favorite got the nod at the finish line, including a pair of wins from the Pat Collins and Wayne Ward Kennels.
The biggest effort on the evening came in the 11th race as former stakes veteran Ww Next Bigthing, from the Wayne Ward Kennel, made the most of the post and dominated from the get go. Breaking on top, he increased his lead throughout and stretch a 2-length lead at the turn to a 4.5 length victory at the finish line. Stopping the clock at the best time in the first round, 30.54 seconds, Bigthing made a big NOISE in round 1. Chasing throughout for next best was Pat C Typhoon, followed by the late closing threat Dutch Casey in 3rd as the even running Baseball Trophy completed the superfecta.
The Wayne Wards other big winner came in the 9th. Ww Rowdy stalked the early pace of Cat Ballou to the turn and up the backside, but decided that he was not going to be denie3d in this effort. Turning it on, he stole away 2 lengths on the rest of the field by the far turn and coasted all the way to the wire for the 3.5 length victory. Early leader Cat Ballou held on for place as Critics Choice came from way back late to steal away the show position in the stretch for the steady chasing threat pat C Panic.
The Pat Collins kennel was the other double winner on the card and their best trip came in the 4th race. Pat C Hash Tag left nothing to chance or interpretation in this effort. Breaking on top, he would not be denied the lead and was just keep breezing up front for the duration of this trip around the oval. He padded his 2-length lead at the turn all the way up to 4.5 lengths at the finish line. Crossing in a speedy 30.61 second clocking, he threw his hat into the ring as someone to pay attention to moving forward. Running second was the strong driving Dutch Dalton, followed by the closing Cbj Charlie. Both greyhounds passed the chasing Braska Jericho late in the stretch as Jericho had to settle for 4th at the finish line.
Collins also won the 7th race with Pat C Cozy, but this one was not going to be as easy as Hash Tags win. Breaking in the middle of the pack, she had some work to do early on, but hitting the NOS at the night time, she outrushed everyone to the turn and was clearly sailing on the front end as they rounded the ben and headed up the backside. Maintaining all the way to the finish line, she bested the field by 3.5 lengths at the wire in 30.68 seconds. Got It Good followed the leader the whole way in place as WW Tuaca Ron won the ward battle for show over kennelmate Ww Lemon Mint.
Not to be outdone, the 2017 James J Patton Silver Cup finalist, Ln Michaels, from the Double J Kennel, looked sharp in the nightcap. Using his early speed to his advantage, he broke sharply, rushed hard to the turn, and took over command as they headed down the backside. Cruising on the lead, his nose in the open air, he continued the onslaught and breezed home to a 4.5 length victory in 30.63 seconds. Winning the distance place duel was Twelve Volt Man over Pat C Flagship as slight closing Paxton Bradshaw completed the superfecta.
The other winner was the Phenom, Dutch Double from the Lester Raines Kennel. He might have just had 24 starts before this one, but he has won more races, 12, than any other greyhound in this field. He is a beast when he breaks and even without the lead he can score at the wire. In the 10th race, he was way to close too early, and proved that he was unstoppable at the finish line. Breaking on top was Bambi Brake. She set the pace to the far turn, but that is where he fun ended. Moving up from 3rd early, Double was stalking by the far turn, took over heading down the stretch, and they he drew away late for the 2-length win at the wire in 30.65 seconds. Bambi ran a game trip and settled for place as Of Wagon Train and Ww Caramel both closed from off the pace to secure 3rd and 4th respectively at the finish line.
Round 2 of the bestbet puppy stakes runs on Friday evening May 19 at bestbet Jacksonville. All 6 fields of greyhounds return, so don’t miss out on your favorites. I will see YOU at the races!