What a great evening of racing and entertainment was had by all on December 9th at bestbet Jacksonville. On the card there were 6 stakes events in conjunctions with our great prize and cash giveaways, and our 2nd chance drawings, and everyone in attendance had a fantastic time. All the patrons got to wager on the 330 Yard Super-Sprint final, the 550 Yard Sprint Final, the 550 Yard Consolation Final, the 660 Yard Sprint Final, the 660 Yard Consolation Final, the 770 Yard Sprint Final, and the 770 Yard Consolation Final. All the races featured tip top talent, and by the end of the races, we would see unlikely upsets, dead lock favorites win, pups making a name for themselves, lock quinielas, and even a track record. Let’s look at the finals and see just who made history in the 2017 edition of the Holiday Stakes.
The action got started in the 3rd race on the card as the best Super-Sprinters were put into the box. Loads of greyhounds in this race had the stuff to get to the lead, but like in most finals, it all came down to just who wanted it more. At the break it was Cp’s Bee Bruce hitting the lid and surprising all by taking over the early lead as they started to the turn. The field was sandwiched in behind him in close proximity, and by the time they got toward the turn, the front end was getting realigned. The grade A threat Sunday Funday made the most of the clear lane and outrushed the rest, and even the leader, to the frontend at the far turn. Turning for home a length ahead of this field, Funday dug in deep and just kept on going to the wire. Breezing up front, she maintained that slim lead all the way to the wire for the win. Cp’s Bee Bruce was a game second, and really ran a winning trip, just not good enough in this trip. Lk’s Silverstone was close early and drifted back for third as Taking My Time made up some ground and finished off the superfecta. Completing the order was Boc’s Andross in 5th, Problem Child in 6th, Gs Patsy in 7th, and Ww Harry Devil in 8th.
From one extreme to another, the very next race on the card, the 4th, was over the 990-yard distance, or twice around from the 550 box. Here there was a little something for everyone to bet on. We had greyhounds from all over the place heading to post and each showed some sign of having a chance to win this effort. Before it was all said and done, we would have a new track record holder at bestbet Jacksonville. Like most would have expected, how this race finished the first time around was not going to be how it finished the second time at the wire. Out and gone early on was the 6 greyhound, WW Slim Reaper to the front end. Controlling the race was Jesse Owens, Pat C Hell Bent, and Camp Ellie in tow, Reaper crossed the finish line in front and they went around the turn again, and that is when the line-up started to change. The closers came a running and that would be the game changer for the greyhounds up front. Down the backside, Jesse Owens took over control, but that was no going to last long as Pj Wigglengiggle, Lk’s Rose Petal, and Camp Ellie all were determined to improve their positions by the wire. By the far turn, all three had passed the tiring leader as Pj Wigglengiggle stole a length over the fast-moving Lk’s Rose Petal, and even more of a margin over Camp Ellie. Turning for home LK’s Rose Petal poked her nose in front and that was all it was going to take. Down the stretch she put on the afterburners and cleared the rest at the finish line by almost 5 lengths in a new Track Record of 59.02 seconds. Pj Wigglengiggle held on for a distant place as Camp Ellie coasted home for the final spot in the trifecta. Pat C Hell Bent rebounded nicely in the stretch to outlast the backside leader Jesse Owens for 4th. Herstal finished 6th, and Gs Dahlia was 7th and the early leader Ww Slim Reaper was last.
The next final came in the 7th race and a fantastic set of puppy brothers, from Kate Bartley, put on a show. This race might have been the most chalk full of talent on the card and it was going to be a barn burner from the start. As expected the fleet footer Lk’s Black Gold took early command of this effort. This greyhound has see the lead in so many, it really wasn’t all that much of a surprise to see her with her nose out in front at the start. The problem for the rest of the field was catching her before she got to the wire. She is not short and had won 4 of her last 5 previous races on the lead turning for home. The good news was that there was time to get to her before the stretch, but who was going to get it done. Well it had to come from the stalkers, if anyone was going to do it, and by the first turn, the outcome didn’t look all the bright. Lk’s Black Gold had already stolen 2 lengths over the rest of the field, and appeared to be in totally command of this race, but not so fast by friend. The puppy brigade from the Blanchard was not done just yet. Fix A Drink and Drink It Off came to run and put there heads down as they flew down the backside into the far turn. There Fix A Drink took over command of this race and put a couple of lengths between him and the former leader, Lk’s Black Gold. Drink It Off was not far off either and had started to find the NOS as they all rounded the turn and headed for home. Fix A Drink crept closer and closer to the wire with every step he took, but Drink It Off was in full throttle as they got near the wire and we all knew that it was going to take a photo to separate them at the finish line. When the dust settled, Fix A Drink held on gamely by a half a length to secure the win over his brother Drink It Off. Early leader Lk’s Black Gold easily held on for third as another puppy from Blanchard, Kiowa Sure Wild, completed the superfecta in 4th. Rounding out the field was Kanes Bubba in 5th, Real Good Feelin in 6th, Dutch Doreen in 7th, and Speedo Tuxedo in 8th.
The 9th race was the most highly contested race of the evening. At the completing of 770 yards, this final all came down to a photo finish between the top 3 greyhounds who were just a held a length or less apart at the wire. Early on though it looked as if this race was all over except for the crying. Breaking well was Dutch Dalton and Lee Banshee, both staying in their lanes and going mono-a-mono for the lead, but Dalton got there first, and at the turn, Lee Banshee was clipped and taken out of contention. This trouble slingshoted Dalton into the prime time up front as he stole away 6 or more lengths on the rest of this field. That was the good news, the bad news was that there was still plenty of race left. By the backside Dutch Casey was on a run with Royal Clarion and they would start chipping away at the leader’s margin as they approached the far turn. As these closers caught up, Daltons lead had shrunk to just a head over Casey and a length over Clarion, and the ever-closing presence of Jack’s Jet Speed was only a couple more lengths behind as they turned for home. At this point it was a three-greyhound race as that didn’t include the early leader. Dutch Casey stuck his nose in front, but it was immediately contested by Royal Clarion. This two locked up in a head to head, neck to neck, paw to paw battle that continued with every stride they took to the wire. Jack’s Jet Speed was not out of it just yet either as he drove up on the behinds of the leaders, and then moved inside to try and pass. Battling it out, these greyhounds countered each other’s moves in an all-out effort to score a win tonight. Nothing was closer at the wire as no one could tell just who had pulled off the win in the final few strides. When the photo was posted, Royal Clarion bested the Jack’s Jet Speed by a head, and Dutch Casey by a half a length, to secure her second marathon stakes title in just over 3 weeks. Coming on through this race after trouble early was Adh Freda Dee. Flying home, she was in the mix two just a couple of lengths off the winner at the finish line. Rounding out the field was early leader Dutch Dalton in 5th, Lee Banshee in 6th, Pat C Bona in 7th, and CM’s Grayson in 8th.
The last stakes final came in the 10th race as the best, and more recent, 660 greyhound proved her metal over the added distance course. This race was no clean, several greyhounds ran into trouble here, but the greyhound that got the biggest benefit, in the end, did not win. At the start it was Boc’s Libra that hit the lid and exploded to the lead. She was followed closely by the converted sprinters Gs Humongous and Boc’s Queen Lady. Around the turn this lead pack went and at the finish line the first time around is where it would end for Libra. Gs Humongous and Boc’s Queen Lady pinched back the early lead and took over at the command presence on the front end. Libra was shuffled back, and was out of contention from that point on. Around the turn they went and more trouble behind ensued. Coming out smelling like a rose was the lead pair, but Boc’s Queen Lady was starting to show her stakes experience as she separated herself from the rest of the field as they headed down the backside. She was 4 lengths clear of her nearest competitor, GS Humongous, 5 lengths better than Rt Banana Foster, and 8 lengths better than Craigie Avatar. It wouldn’t take that long for those numbers to change. Queen Lady continued to breeze on the lead as the two closest greyhounds kept pace. The issue was with Craigie Avatar. She was not going to settle for fourth, and decided it was time to make a move, a big move, a huge move, and saw her catapult into contention by the far turn. Circling the chasing crowd, she exploded by the chasers and by the far turn she was just a half a length off the leader as they rounded the ben and set their sites on the wire. Here is where he true power was shown. She found another gear late and left Boc’s Queen Lady in the dust. Drawing away by 3 lengths at the finish line, she put everyone on notice that she is the best router at the racetrack. Queen Lady, a marathon distance winner, is not short and Avatar made her look that way in the final few strides. Lady had to settle for place as Rt Banana Foster held on for third. Critics Choice completed the superfecta in 4th. Rounding out the field was Lk’s Fanciful in 5th, Gs Humongous in 6th, Bos’s Libra in 7th, and Pat C Typhoon in 8th.
We also ran 3 consolation races on the card. One over 550 Yards, one over 660 yards, and one over 770 yards. The 550 race ran in the 5th as the top 4 competitors all finished with 2.5 lengths at the wire. Duke Rufus stole the early lead and held it to the stretch, but closers L’s Sum Dog, winner, and CBJ Coleman, place greyhounds, came from off the pace to run him down at the wire. She finished 3rd as Hey Hey Daddy finished 4th. The 770 race came in the 6th as the 24-1 shot, Buh By Drive made a big splash for the Crowe Kennel. Breaking close, Drive stalked the pace to the far turn, took over late, and held on at the wire for the slim win. Super C Amy came again after trouble at just missed in place. Early leader Good Luckchigger held on for third as Wai Lin never varied and completed the superfecta. The 660 race came in the 8th and was the only consolation to run faster than the finals. Like A boss was out fast early, game on the pace, took at a slim lead at the far turn, and ran off and hid in the stretch to win by 7 lengths over the field. Businessasusual closed from well back for place as Hustle It Upgirl and NB’s Parishilton finished off the show and 4th positions at the wire.
Congratulations to all the owners, breeders, trainers, kennel helpers, and everyone else connected with these fantastic greyhounds. Thanks for letting us watch them run! Here’s to a prosperous New Year for everyone in the greyhounds racing industry, from everyone here at bestbet Jacksonville.