On Saturday evening March 10th at bestbet Jacksonville the house was packed, and not just for the free T-Shirts, as everyone wanted to see the finals of the riches race of the year, the 2018 $75,000 James J Patton Silver Cup. The field was a stellar one with 6 of the 8 greyhounds winning 2 or more rounds in qualifying and everyone was edging their bets on Fix A Drink, who was undefeated in qualifying, to stay the course and run the table, but like in life, not everything goes as planned.
As the lure rumbled through the far turn and announce Joe Ross bellowed out the familiar call of Here’s Comes Rusty, the box popped up and we were racing, racing, racing in the finals of the 2018 Patton Silver Cup. Everyone that looked at this race knew it was going to be all about the break, and as it turned out, it was. Exploding to the front end was the inside part of the racetrack. Jedi Texas Arce was first to the lead as he seized early command just a few strides out of the starting box. He was followed closely by Ww Whatsapp and Speedo Tuxedo. The rest of the field was even across the board behind them as race favorite, Fix A Drink, came out last and would have some work to do to get into contention. The lead duo would get some help early on as L’s Sum Dog would move to the rail and crowd up the middle of the racetrack as the approached the wire the first time down the racetrack. Fix A Drink also made a move out wide and circled the crowd and found a lane to rush the turn in. As the leaders continued toward the turn, Jedi Texas Acre held a slim lead over Ww Whatsapp and the trailing chaser Speedo Tuxedo. Fix A Drink was on the move too as he catapulted by the inside rushers and up into position as they started to round the turn. The leaders didn’t change as they went through the turn and headed for the backside, but the rest of the chasing field found even more trouble. Drink It Off was crowded down on the rail and that caused him to collided with Lk’s Black Gold and Midnight Loot moving both early speeders back out of contention. Straightening out up the backside, Jedi Texas Acre looked strong on the lead and maintained his one length margin over the pressuring Ww Whatsapp as Speedo Tuxedo chased a few more lengths behind in third. Fix A Drink was further back, but clear and looking to mount a charge as the rest of the field was a distance behind them. By the far turn this really turned into a two-greyhound race for the win, and the only question that remained was who was going to get the best of who in the stretch. Jedi Texas Acre clinged to the evaporating lead as Ww Whatsapp was on a mission to catch the leader before the wire. Behind them things were changing as well. The tiring chaser Speedo Tuxedo was overtaken by Fix a Drink and his brother, and Orange Park Derby Winner, Drink It Off was shifting gears and picking off greyhounds one by one from the back of the pack. Down the stretch the leaders went and gone was the small lead that Jedi Texas Acre possessed early on. Ww Whatsapp had pulled even with the leader, dug in with everything he had, jetted to the lead, and never looked back. Drawing away late, he crossed as the easy winner by 2.5 lengths in the fastest trip on the card, 30.78 seconds. Jedi Texas Acre had to settle for place after a strong front running trip. Third at the wire was Drink It Off, despite the break, probably ran the biggest race of all the finalists. Overcoming trouble twice and running down as many greyhounds as he did, including his brother in the stretch, he was the definition of all out effort in this race. Race favorite Fix A Drink could never overcome the slow break, and after a strong rush to the turn, couldn’t gain on the leaders and was outclosed late for fourth. Completing the race was Lk’s Black Gold in 5th, Speedo Tuxedo in 6th, L’s Sum Dog in 7th, and Midnight Loot in 8th.
Congratulation head out to Trainer, and Global Racing Kennel Owner, Eric Griffin, on his winning return to stakes racing competition here at bestbet Jacksonville. Eric used to train for the B & J Kennel back in the day and has raised and trained several stakes winning greyhounds in the past here at bestbet. Congratulations also head out to the breeder and Owner of Ww Whatsapp, Julia Ward, for providing us with yet another quality greyhound to run at our racetrack. Not even two years old yet, this greyhound has plenty of races left in his and I’m sure you will be hearing his name a lot in the future as there are several more stakes races to enter and several more chances to win them this year at bestbet Jacksonville.