Three rounds of the 2018 Orange Park Derby are in the books and the Craigie power duo showed up in full force to take home wins for the Lester Raines Kennel. Not only did they score the top spot at the wire, both did it in different, but dramatic fashion. Craigie Javier left everyone wondering early in the 11th race as he sat in the box, rounded the turn, and spotted the leaders 10 lengths early back in 5th place at the first call. It looked like it was lights out for him and the win streak in the rounds was coming to an end, but not so fast my friend. Tiger’s Eye was pushing the pace with Pat C Alex on his heels as they went to the escape turn. Pat C Alex took over the front end down the backside as Tiger’s Eye was chasing in second. Javier had found some room on the rail and was making up ground on the leaders as they approached the far turn. As they went thru the turn, Alex’s lead had shrunk, and Javier was on a mission for the lead, but Tiger’s Eye was not out of it just yet. Coming down the stretch it was a three-way battle for the lead, for the win, and it would take photo to separate them at the wire. When the dust settled, Javier came out a nose best at the wire and stretched his undefeated streak in the rounds to 3 straight races. Pat C Alex gave everything he had, but it just wasn’t enough to win here. Kudos to early leader Tiger’s Eye as well who finished a neck short of a bit time W in this effort. Completing the superfecta was the fast closing Jack’s Jet Speed.
The other winner, Craigie Avatar, also posted up a strong win in race 9, but it was a sharp contrast to the one that Javier ran. This all out closer, BROKE TO THE LEAD, from the one box and the rest was history. Stretching out her lead throughout, she never looked back, was never challenged, and laid waste to this field of stakes competitors. She ended up ALL ALONE at the wire as she won by 9 full lengths in a blistering time of 37.52 seconds. After a roughed-up race in round 1, and a just miss in round 2, Avatar needed this effort and didn’t disappoint her backers. This was a statement race to solidify her standing as one of the favorites to beat for the title. Next best went to Temp Cinch who moved up some and outlasted Pat C Typhoo at the finish line for the 2nd spot in the ranks. Typhoo closed some late and just missed out of place and had to settle for show at the wire, as Boc’s Queen Lady rounded out the superfecta after she encountered double trouble in this race.
The Blanchard Kennel’s Like A Boss posted up his second win in 3 rounds with a strong front running effort in the 15th race. After breaking on top and taking the early lead, he was pressed hard by former round winner Drink It Off. This duo went around the racetrack jockeying for position near the lead until the far turn. Businessasusual went to the rail and shuffled Drink it off back out of contention, but that didn’t get Like A Boss any further away from losing this effort. The chasing Pat C Bona was midtrack around that trouble and came flying after the leader in the stretch. The longer lead, turned into a shorter one at the wire, but no matter how hard they tried, or who was coming on, Like A Boss would not surrender in this effort. Crossing ahead of the rest, he scored 19 points for himself once again in the Orange Park Derby. Pat C Bona ran a huge race but it was only good enough for place. Businessasusual chased close the whole way, and even after being clipped in the far turn, still managed to hold on for show. Dutch Dalton, who was blocked early, make up ground throughout and completed the superfecta at the wire.
Another two-time winner happened in the 7th race as Critics Choice popped the box and gave a determined effort to hold on late for back to back wins. At the break, it was really a two-greyhound race as Critics Choice stormed to the lead with Boc’s All I Got in her hip pocket well ahead of the rest. At the early turn, the field ran together and collided as the front running duo separated themselves even more from the rest of the pack. The only greyhound coming out of the mess partially unscathed was Cbj Thunderbolt. Down the frontside they would go with Critics Choice in the lead and Boc’s All I Got shadowing her every move. These all-out speeders battled down the backside, around the far turn, and down the stretch. Choice clinging to a lead and All I Got living up to her name with every step she took toward the wire. Both did all they could do for the win, but on this occasion, Critics Choice was a just a bit better. A winning trip by All I Got, but she had to settle for place. A distance show was Cbj Thunderbolt as he held off a late charge by Pat C Zz Top at the finish line.
The semi-finals of the 2018 Orange Park Derby will take place on Saturday evening January 27th, 2018 at bestbet Jacksonville. The field will be trimmed down once again and only the top 3 races, 24 greyhounds, will move on for a chance at the finals on Saturday evening February 3rd, 2018 at bestbet Jacksonville. Speaking of the finals, don’t forget about our great new promotion taking place on that evening. P-L-I-N-K-O! Everyone knows how to play! Drop the puck and win a prize! That along with our famous 2nd chance drawings, some great food and drinks, and the finals of the 2018 Orange Park Derby, what more could you want? Make you plans, get your reservations early, and I will see you at the races.