On Saturday evening June 3rd, the best puppies at the racetrack competed in the 2017 edition of the bestbet Puppy Stakes. Loads of talent were on tap as we saw history in the makings of this final round field. Leading the pack were not one, but two, undefeated greyhounds that would match up for a chance at the cash and crown in this final round race. The rest of the field were not slouches either as almost all of them won a round, or two, in qualifying and have the chops to take down the big dogs here if thing roll their way early on.
As the lure whirled through the far turn and the boxed popped open in the 11th race on the evening card, the race for the lead was on. Bambi Brake put her nose out in front and made a big statement a few strides out of the box, but that front end position would be vanquished quickly. She was not alone, several greyhounds came to break, and the rush to the first turn became a crowded one in a hurry. Pushing hard inside, Ww Rowdy, took up position alongside Bambi with Ww Next Bigthing and Pat C Hash Tag in tow. At the turn is where things got all jumbled up. Ww Rowdy used his rail position to get the lead, as Ww Next Big Thing shotgunned around the ensuing trouble and was head to head with the leader. Pat C Hash Tag was shutoff on the rail by Bambi Brake, who was clipped in the process, and that careened him outside as he collided with Got It Good, who then flew out and bumped Pat C Cozy out of the contention. Down the backside the leaders went, Ww Rowdy and Ww Next Bigthing had missed the trouble behind and separated themselves from the rest of the rivals. Rowdy opened up a length on Next Bigthing early, but by the far turn it would be a different story. Throughout the run to the far turn, Next Bigthing was on a mission to catch him kennelmate and by the far turn the 1 length lead had all but disappeared in the process. Turning for home, there were only a head apart, and the rest of the field was coming in a hurry to challenge as well. Everyone knew it was going to be an exciting finish as there were 5 greyhounds in the mix just a few lengths off the late lead. Digging in deep, Ww Rowdy did his best to keep the closers at bay, but on this occasion, it was just not going to be good enough. Ww Next Bigthing found that extra push and surged his head by the leader as they drove up the stretch. Clearly as he approached the finish line, he was easily going to win this race, as he drew away from the rest, and the focus turned to the battle for place. The closers were coming and Rowdy was trying, but in the end, it was Bambi Brake who outfinished the rest for place, as Pat C Hash Tag won the photo for show over the early leader Ww Rowdy at the wire. Stalking the place pack in 5th was Dutch Double, followed by the Ln Michaels, who missed his break and found double trouble, in 6th, Got It Good finished 7th and Pat C Cozy finished 8th.
Congratulations to the Wayne Ward Kennel, Owner Julia Ward, Trainer Kelly Rowell, and everyone else connected with this fantastic greyhound. Taking over at the MAN at the racetrack, Ww Next Bigthing not only went undefeated in qualifying, he won the final as well, enroot to his 6th straight victory, and his 8th in his last 9 starts. Remember this pup also finished 2nd in the $50,000 James J Patton Silver Cup and is writing himself quite a resume at the racetrack this year. He just turned 2 back in March, and has plenty of time and races ahead of him to accomplish even more. Living up to his name once again, He is the NEXT BIG THING at the racetrack. Keep your eyes peeled to bestbet Jacksonville. If he keeps up the torrid pace that he has set for himself the first half of this year, he could follow in the footsteps of several other greyhounds on our circuit, and hear his name called as one of the best in the country come January.