Round 2 of the 2018 Orange park Derby might have been a bit more chalkish than round 1, but still only had one repeat winner. The points are getting spread out all over the place, and several of the big names that missed in round 1, rebounded well in round 2. Double J led the way with a pair of wins in the 5 races, and threw in another from the Jim Blanchard kennel, to give the owner 3 scores in 5 attempts. The other winners came from the Lester Raines Kennel and the Falcon Kennel.
Leading the way for Double J was the effort put up by Drink It Off in the 7th race on the card. Breaking with the leaders from the outside. Drink it off rushed to take control down the frontside the first time around and never even though about looking back. He raced off alone on the lead and stretched his margin to 7 lengths at one point. At the wire he was 4 lengths better than the rest in a blistering 37.59 second romp! Chasing the pace, and even making up a bit of ground late was early leader Tiger’s Eye in second. Third went to the steady running threat, and first round winner, Pat C Bona and Cm’s Bruno completed the superfecta.
The other Double J Winner came in the 15th race as the vaulted marathoner, Royal Clarion, broke close and gave an all-out late effort to score at the finish line. Beating the box and stealing a ton early over the rest of the field was Pat C Typhoon. Clearly in control far 99% of this race, everyone early though it was long over, but Clarion didn’t get the message. Chipping away at a 6-length lead down the backside, Clarion narrowed the margin to just 2 lengths heading for home. Turning on those jets near the wire, Clarion stole away the win at the wire. All out effort on the lead, but Typhoon was just headed out at the finish line. (Great race, winning trip, just couldn’t hold on) Third was the steady gaining threat Tempo Cinch and first round winner Like A Boss was even in the superfecta throughout.
Blanchard’s other winner came in a very interesting 11th race. Loads of speed up front, people jockeying for position, and then in the end the closers came a running. Bursting out fast once again was Boc’s All I Got. Seizing the front end, he took to the lead, but by the escape everyone was around. Boc’s Queen Lady had gone by him on the inside and Pat C Alex dove to the rail, cut him off, and the first-round winner was taken out of this one. Down the backside Boc’s Queen Lady maintained a slim margin and as they turned for home, the chasers were fading, and new round of challengers were coming at the leader. Unfazed by all the action behind her, Ironhound stakes winner, Boc’s Queen Lady, just continued a took home the win at the wire. The making up ground throughout, Businessasusual, was a hard trying second just a length off the win at the wire. The 2017 Orange Park Derby winner, Dutch Casey finally found some room out wide in the stretch and put on a show in the final few steps for show as he over took 3 greyhounds in a matter of seconds. Rt Banana Foster held best late for the early threats and finished off the superfecta in this effort.
Not to be outdone, Craigie Javier from the Lester Raines, made the most of his opportunity in the most highly contested race on the card. At the start in the 10th race, first round winner, Boc’s All I Got, exploded to the front end, and after Pat C Zz Top hit the rail, bounced off, and collided with several of the chasers, All I Got was in complete control. The problem was that Craigie Javier was wide around the rest and cleared second coming up the front stretch. By the escape turn that margin had decreased considerably as this leading down locked up in a head to head battle coming down the backside. Entering the fat turn Javier took over and put a length or more on the early leader as they turned for home. Boc’s All I Got could have just thrown in the towel, but that was not the thought on this occasion. Finding that stride again, All I Got, put in the work and came again at the leader and at the wire it was too close to call. A photo would have to separate them, but in the end, Javier held on by a nose over Boc’s All I Got. Third was Pat C Zz Top. After hitting the rail, colliding with the rest of the field, Zz Top put on the dancing shoes and just kept on booging on home. Flying up late, he too gave a winning trip and just missed the win by a neck on the wide side. Scottish Rough ran a steady effort throughout and never varied from the superfecta.
The final stakes round came in race number 9 and it was another race that would have to be decided by a photo finish. Popping the lid and coming out on top early by Critics Choice, who like several of the other breakers on the card, drove the rabbit away from the field at the first call. Choice was clear by 5 lengths over the rest, and she would need every inch of that space at the wire. Around the turn and down the backside she went as Pat C Merlin and Easi Turner Chased, but they all needed to be wary as Craigie Avatar was finding room on the rail and picking up lengths with every stride. By the far turn the lead had shrunk in half, as Merlin held on 2 second after Avatar got blocked and had to reroute her run heading home. Coming around the final turn it was anyone’s race. 4 Greyhound all within a length or so as they dug in deep and approached the finish line. Critics Choice was going nowhere, and the rest were doing their best to take her down. Avatar was flying and trying to steal the win, but after being blocked and changing course once again, she ran out of time and was just a half a length short of the winner Critics Choice at the wire. Threat throughout Pat C Merlin settled for third, just a length behind, and the always there threat Easi Turner completed the superfecta just a length and a half off the winner.
The third round of the 2018 Orange park Derby takes place on Monday evening January 22nd at bestbet Jacksonville. Only 4 races will remain, so the field just got tougher and the points just got harder to come by. Don’t miss out cheering on your favorites, so join us online, or in person, and catch the winning here at bestbet Jacksonville. I’ll see you at the races!