What a great evening was had by all on August 4th at bestbet Jacksonville as they were witness to one of the most competitive stakes finals that we have seen in a long time. The 2018 edition of the $30,000 bestbet Sprint Classic would be in INSTANT one as the early speed stole the lead, but in the end, it was the closers that really showed just want can be accomplished when you just flat out want something more than anyone else around you.
Rounding the far turn in the 11th race, RUSTY rumbled by at Joe Ross bellowed out those lone words into the still nights sky… “HERE COMES RUUSSSTTYYY!” The box sprung open with a bang and we were off in the finals of the 2018 $30,000 bestbet Sprint Classic. Coming out at the start to challenge for the front end was Pat C Kudos, Ww Xavier and Kentucky Rich, they were followed closely by DC Midnite Rider and Js Ranger Rover, and bringing up the rear was Chasing Charlie, Atascocita Kitty, and the slow breaking Lee Blondie in last. Up the frontstretch they surged and Ww Xavier took command of this race. Drawing ahead of the rest, he seized control this race and was making a statement on the front end. As Rich and Kudos chased the rest of the field was just trying to make up some ground. At the first time Xavier was in easy control over the rest as the field was about to take a shuffle of positions. Kentucky Rich moved down on Pat C Kudos and cutoff her lane to run, just as Dc Midnite Rider got a little midtrack and pushed out Js Range Rover to open up the rail to the trailing greyhounds. Taking full advantage of this was Chasing Charlie. Slingshoting the turn, Charlie dove inside to the rail, saved ground and made up quite a bit of room on the leaders. As they exited the turn., Xavier was still on top with Kentucky Rich chasing and Kudos and Charlie neck and neck for third. Dc Midnite Rider was next with Atascocita following on the rail just ahead of the starting to close runner Lee Blondie and the aforementioned bumped competitor Js Range Rover. Down the backside they went, and even though the lead was easy, it was going to get a bit more crowded by the far turn. The closers came to run, and it was Chasing Charlie looking like the greyhound with a rocket attached to his back. With every stride on the rail he gained ground on the leader, frankly almost everyone did, including Lee Blondie. By the far turn Xavier’s 2 length had shrunk to just one of the dueling Kentucky Rich and Chasing Charlie, and the rest of the field was still in contention as well with 6 greyhounds just 5 lengths off the leader as they approached the stretch. Turning for home, everyone in the building, and the crowds outside, all knew it was going to be one heck of a finish. Xavier Dug in deep on the lead and was giving everything, he had to try and get home a winner. Charlie breezed by Rich and set his sights on the leader as they drove toward the wire. It looked like a two-greyhound race for the win, but not so fast my friend. Super-closer Lee Blondie was not done by a longshot. Finding room on the rail, she cleared and started her patented run for the wire. Together they crept, inching closer and closer to the line as Xavier held on to the lead as he was pressed and pressed and pressed on the front end. In the final few strides it was anyone game and it was going to come down to just who wanted to win the most. Charlie gave his last push and pounced by the leader, but Lee Blondie was absolutely FLYING on the inside part of the racetrack and at the wire, it was too close to call. When the smoke cleared, and the photo was posted Charlie had outnosed his kennelmate, and rival, Lee Blondie for the win. Pacesetter WW Xavier was forced to settle for third just a half a length off the win after giving a winning effort, but sometimes your best is just not good enough. Early threat Kentucky Rich held on late to complete the superfecta at the finish line. Rounding out the field was Dc Midnite Rider in 5th, Pat C Kudos in 6th, Atascocita Kitty in 7th, and Js Ranger Rover in 8th.
Congratulations head out to Trainer and Owner Mike Gerard, Lester Raines, the Lester Raines Kennel, and everyone else connected with this great athlete. Since arriving from Gulf Greyhound Park, Charlie has shown a great knack to win from on or off the early lead and has show some great raw speed with some dominate victories. It surly looks like he can run even further and that is good news for our racing fans as the next major stakes event is the bestbet Derby which will take place over the 660-yard course. Who knows, maybe this duo with be back to battle in the finals of that one too? Good luck in the future to all of out finalist as each and every one of them has many of starts ahead of them here at bestbet Jacksonville. Until next time, keep the pups racing, and I will see you at the racetrack!