Raindrop Captains 2019 All-America Team

2019AllAmericaTeam

Stake winner and Southland win leader, Salud Raindrop, has been named Captain of the 2019 All-America team, as announced today by the National Greyhound Association (NGA).

The annual naming of the All-America team dates back to 1963. The program pays tribute to the top eight greyhounds nationally. Historically voted on by the member tracks of AGTOA, the award process was turned over to the NGA in 2019.

Others named to this year’s squad are: LK’s Crush N It (Derby Lane), JS Flamin Ace (Southland), MRL Full Boat (Southland), LR Iowa Choice (Southland), Revin Devon (Iowa Greyhound Park), Sarkazum (Southland) and Flying Givenchy (Derby Lane).

This year’s second team is comprised of: Pat C News (bestbet Jax), Konomi (Southland), L’s Griz (Wheeling), Dyenuhmite (Southland), Mac’s Trudeaux (Tri-State), Chillaxification (Southland), JD Revelation (IGP-Naples) and Super C Azelle (Tri-State).

First Team All Americans

SaludRaindrop

The only female to make this year’s first team of All Americans is Salud Raindrop. She not only made the team she has also been named Captain of the 2019 squad. At one time or another during 2019, many people were referring to Salud Raindrop as “the best greyhound in the country”. She ended the year as the win leader at Southland despite missing the last two months of racing due to injury she incurred in the finals of the Female Sprint Championship. She did, however, dominate the final of the Southland Derby on her way to 11 wins in a row.

At various times during the meet she snapped off win streaks of nine, five, eleven, three and five on her way to capturing the Southland win title with a total of 36 victories in all. Her box break and early burst to the turn were her signature and she rarely got caught once in front. She won an unbelievable 76% of the races she started, finishing the year with a 47-36-3-3-2 record. 44 times on the pay sheet out of 47 starts; 93% in the money!

The sleek black female is by Bella Infrared-Mega Whitney and is co-owned by Jeff Blair and Mike Montoya. She races for the Gloria Dorsey Kennel at Southland and is trained by Natalie Looper.

LKsCrushNIt_WinCloseUp

A Derby Lane star is our next All American. LK’s Crush N It had a phenomenal year to say the least. He made five stake finals, winning four of those including the $64,000 Sprint Classic. He finished 2nd in his other stake final. He put together numerous win streaks throughout the year on his way to winning 50 races, the most of any greyhound in North America. He was almost unstoppable at Derby finishing in the trifecta 61 times in 67 starts.

Bred, raised and owned by John and Jill Lashmet of Colorado, Crush N It is a 2016 son of LK’s Now R Never-LK’s All In.

JSFlaminAce_Running

JS Flamin Ace had to be considered as one of the premiere greyhounds in the country in 2019. Racing against the best Southland has to offer, Ace would qualify for 5 stake finals including the GAGF, Southland Derby, Male Sprint Championship, King & Queens and 2 for the Money. He would win the Male Sprint Championship on Festival of Stakes day and follow it up with a King & Queens victory. A July 2017 son of Superior Panama-CH Sweet Honey, Flamin Ace captured 28 wins in 2019, second most for the meet at Southland. His overall record was 58-28-9-5-7. He was raised in Abilene by Shannon Henry and was a $52,000 auction sale at the Fall meet in 2018.

He is owned by Garth Bolton and Lester Raines and races for the Raines kennel. Congratulations to everyone associated with this great greyhound!

MRLFullBoat

The second oldest greyhound to make this year’s team, MRL Full Boat broke in at Orange Park in 2018 and showed early on that he could be a force to be reckoned with. After struggling a bit in his early career, he was switched over to the 3/8ths course after just ten lifetime starts, winning 5 of his first 12 at the longer distance. He would then ship to Southland in late 2018. After a couple of sprint starts he moved back over to longer distances and picked up a couple wins before heading back over to sprints. This pattern would hold true for a while as the Boat proved his talents at all distances. He would eventually compete in three different distances making finals of stakes at both 5/16 and 3/8. All in all he would make 5 stake finals at Southland in 2019 while finishing in the money in 45 out of his 50 starts.

Full Boat is an October 2016 son of CTW Pipe Down-MRL Goin Bye Bye and is owned by Lee Harrington’s MRL Metals.

LRIowaChoice

LR Iowa Choice, a big male out of Top Of The Pile-Springisintheair, broke in with a flair in March of 2019 winning seven of his first nine starts, the ninth being a first round win in qualifying for the Great American Greyhound Futurity. He would go on to make the consolation final of the futurity and then jump right into qualifying for the Southland Derby where he would make the finals after winning two of the four qualifying rounds. He would continue his winning ways leading up to qualifying for the Male Sprint Championship in the Festival of stakes. He would find trouble in the final but bounce back and continue picking up victories finishing the season with the third most wins for the Southland meet.

Three stake finals and a record of 52-26-6-4-3 against the best are the credentials for the youngest of this year’s All Americans, LR Iowa Choice. Congratulations to co-owners Mary Robinette and Karen Legg and their outstanding greyhound!

RevinDevon_Running

The young Iowa-bred Revin Devon is owned by David Ungs and Billy Galbreath. He burst on the Iowa Greyhound Park scene and quickly moved up into the grade A ranks. The April 2017 brindle son of U Too Pure Silk-Fire And Heat wound up capturing the IGP track win title with a 19 victories in 35 outings. He would go on to win the $200,000 Iowa Breeders Cup as well as the $30,000 Future Stars Stake. He also ran a nice second in the 3/8ths mile Dubuque Course Classic to Superior Tora.

Devon would close out the season at Dubuque with another stake win in the Secretary’s Choice Stake finishing off a great meet. He moved on to Gulf Greyhound Park at the end of the year and continued his winning ways there.

Sarkazum

The oldest member of this year’s team is William O’Donnell’s Sarkazum. This star was simply a machine, running at any and all distances offered at the Southland oval. In May he captured the Razorback Championship over the 660 yard course. He then ran a hard trying 2nd in the Super Marathon Championship as well as winning races over the 703 yard course. Sarkazum is a 2016 son of Shonn-Jennah and races for the Northshore Kennel at Southland.

His record for the year was 51-14-15-5-9, an impressive 84% in the money clip. Here’s to Sarkazum and the O’Donnell crew for this All American honor!

FlyingGivenchy_Closeup

Flying Givenchy broke in at Naples going from Maiden to A in straight starts. He would end up with fourteen starts at the South Florida track, winning twelve of those. From there it was on to Southland for the Great American Greyhound Futurity where he would run well enough to make the finals, but finish a disappointing seventh. He was then shipped to Derby Lane where he would win the T.L. Weaver Memorial, run third in the Husker Magic, finish 2nd in the Howl-O-Ween stake and garner 21 wins in 36 starts.

Givenchy, a 2017 son of Barcelona Boss-Flying Blush compiled a record of 63-34-17-3-3 for the year at three different tracks, making 4 stake finals and finishing 7th in the nation in total wins. He is owned by Vince Berland.

These eight will be honored with All-America plaques in ceremonies at the Greyhound Hall Of Fame Thursday night, Apr. 16, during the NGA Spring Meet in Abilene, Ks.

JimGartland

Jim Gartland, National Greyhound Association (NGA) Executive Director.

2019 Greyhound Racing: A Year in Review

2019YearInReview

Filled with happy moments and sad endings, 2019 was quite the year for the greyhound racing industry. While thinking back on the most significant moments for us here at Greyhound Channel, we wanted to take you on a journey of those events as we reflect on 2019.

JANUARY

Kodi_Ace

Kodi and Ace were adopted and joined brothers Bandit and Winner. Kodi is a retired racer from Southland Casino and Racing where he raced under the name Oshkosh Kodiak. Ace never made it to training since he did not take to racing like his siblings did, but he recently received his Canine Good Citizen certification. Both Kodi and Ace have been wonderful additions to our Greyhound Channel family.

ContestChamps2019

The 2018 Contest of Champions took place with Caudle T. taking the lead, crowning him our champion handicapper.

FEBRUARY

2018AllAmerica

The American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA) announced the 2018 All-America Team, which included Pat C Rare Deal, Superior Cannon, BGR Monster, RT’s Bo Jangles, Konomi, Tip Top, Duxbury, and team captain Jiminy Reno.

MARCH

RuralRubeFlashySir2018

The National Greyhound Association (NGA) announced their 2018 Rural Rube and Flashy Sir awards with Jiminy Reno (Alivefortomorrow—Oceania) winning the Rural Rube award and BGR Monster (Boc’s Tony Romo—Boc’s Jennyfinch) winning the Flashy Sir award. Jiminy Reno raced at Derby Lane while BGR Monster started out at Naples-Fort Myers before moving on to Southland Casino and Racing.

APRIL

NGASpringMeet2019

The NGA’s 2019 Spring Meet took place from April 15th through April 20th. The Greyhound Channel Stake raced on Thursday, April 18th, in race 11 with SR Swiss Caco winning the race. Inducted into the Hall of Fame was greyhound, Peco’s Cannon (Annexed—Classy Babe) and breeder and owner Ross Lingle.

MAY

SarasotaBanner

Sarasota Kennel Club finished their live greyhound racing season, which also marked the end of live racing at the track due to Florida’s Amendment 13. Opening in 1929, Sarasota had raced greyhounds for 90 years before their last race in May of 2019.

SEPTEMBER

ebro

Racing for the last 64 years, Ebro Greyhound Park opened in 1955, but would see the end of their live greyhound racing in 2019 due to Amendment 13. Ebro Greyhound Park decided to finish their racing season with their last live greyhound race ever.

OCTOBER

FallMeet_PupWinners

The NGA’s 2019 Fall Meet took place with three new winners of the Pup Giveaway. Michele and Paul Billick won Annie from Ken Biehle, Cara Bonawitz won Ziva from Randy Finegan, and Lenora Collins won the third pup out of Flying Hydrogen-Arkans Jazzy from Darren Henry Kennel.

VRBanner

Our Virtual Racing Product went live for greyhound racing. Derby Lane was the first to be featured in our Virtual Racing lineup, followed by Palm Beach Kennel Club. We look forward to adding more tracks, including horse racing, in the coming months.

SouthlandBanner

Southland Casino and Racing entered into a 3-year agreement with their kennels to phase out live greyhound racing by the end of 2022. With the national decline in greyhound racing, Southland made the decision to phase out their racing so that the process would be on their own terms and done in a timely manner.

DECEMBER

GreyhoundChannel_Race_Banner

Our namesake, Greyhoundchannel, started racing at Palm Beach Kennel Club in December. Greyhoundchannel is out of Rido’s Babe by JS Im Seein Red, and races through Rader Racing Kennel.

Blog Spotlight: Fall Meet Pup Giveaway Winners

PupGiveawayWinners2019

Retired greyhound racers won over the hearts of Michele and Paul Billick and Cara Bonawitz before they became greyhound racing owners. Neither Michele and Paul or Cara had experience with owning racers prior to 2019, but are more than excited for their new ventures. Through the National Greyhound Association’s (NGA) 2019 Fall Meet Pup Giveaway, winners Michele and Paul added a new pup to their racing ownership and Cara won her first greyhound racer. Speaking with Michele, Paul, and Cara, it was very clear that they are passionate about greyhounds and the racing industry, and want to ensure that the pups they love continue to be a part of their lives for as long as possible.

Adopting their two current retired racers, Bristol (Wiki Dopey) in July of 2016 and Candy (PW’s Grandy) in April of 2017, Michele and Paul Billick quickly became in love with greyhounds. Through their retired racers, Michele and Paul learned a lot about the racing industry and Michele found herself on the board for the Erie Shore Greyhound Adoption of Ohio. Wanting to know everything about greyhounds and their lives before adoption, Michele and Paul did research and met some great people in the greyhound racing business. They credit most of their racing knowledge toward the wonderful people in the industry who have helped educate them and show them the truth of what is happening with the pups before they go to their forever home. To Michele and Paul, it was clear early on that greyhound racers are treated wonderfully because they could see the happy personalities and sweetness that exist in Bristol and Candy.

“They [greyhounds] are driven, learn so much, and become such great pets because of their racing experience and because of the people that care and love them.”

Through a visit to Abilene, Kansas, in June of 2019 for the Heart of America gathering, Michele and Paul’s involvement in the greyhound racing industry would move to a new level. While at the event, Michele and Paul asked questions about the industry and how to become an owner of a greyhound racer. Everyone was very open, honest, and gave great advice. While in Kansas, Michele and Paul visited Mooch and Dixie Olson’s farm and ended up picking out a pup to purchase who will be finished at the farm before heading to the track. That pup is Paul’s Cosmos, named after both Michele and Paul’s fathers, and they call her Lil’ Boo. They did not plan on purchasing a greyhound racer when they attended the Heart of America event, but their love for greyhounds and wonderful support from those in the industry easily got them on board. Paul loves visiting Lil’ Boo who gets extremely excited to see them. She seems to know that Michele and Paul are her parents.

Wanting to do something for Michele and Paul’s 10th wedding anniversary, they thought it would be fun to go on a trip and decided that destination could be in Abilene for the National Greyhound Association’s (NGA) 2019 Fall Meet. It was at the meet that Michele and Paul had no idea that their greyhound racing ownership would expand. At the Fall Meet Auction, Michele and Paul saw some amazing greyhounds. They had not intended on purchasing a greyhound, but seeing the pups sparked something in Michele and the next thing she knew, her hand went up in the air to purchase a greyhound from David Strong’s farm. That pup is Windy Charolet who is currently in Jacksonville and will run out of Jim Blanchard’s Kennel.

WindyCharolet
Windy Charolet

Little did Michele and Paul know that their greyhound racing ownership would not end there. When they arrived for the Fall Meet, they were notified about the Pup Giveaway and decided that they would throw their names into the drawing. Michele did not think they would win since she does not usually have the best luck, but that luck would turn around for them as they won Annie, a pup from Ken Biehle. Michele and Paul chose the name Annie since they won her while celebrating their anniversary. Currently, Annie is at Mooch and Dixie’s farm where she will be finished till it is time for her to head to the track.

Annie
Annie and Jadyn Biehle

One of Michele’s favorite memories so far from her involvement with greyhounds consists of her mother who had always been afraid of dogs. When Michele and Paul adopted Bristol, the fear Michele’s mother had for dogs quickly diminished. Her mother completely adores Bristol and Candy. To Michele, that is the power greyhounds can have. Through their gentle demeanor and wonderful personalities, Bristol and Candy completely changed a person’s negative view of dogs.

“It says a lot about the greyhound and their discipline and what they have learned in their short years before they come to their forever home.”

The best thing about being involved in the greyhound racing industry for Michele and Paul is seeing the truth of the business and really experiencing for themselves what the industry is about. They have visited greyhound farms and have seen the love that the farm owners have for the pups. It is something that they wish everyone could experience. Michele and Paul’s goal is to bring the truth of the racing industry to anyone and everyone that they can.

“If we can change one person’s mind or heart, we’ve done something and we’re just going to continue to do that.”

The NGA’s other Pup Giveaway winner, Cara Bonawitz, has been involved in greyhound adoption since 1998 when she adopted her first greyhound. Cara had always had dogs throughout her life, but when she adopted a greyhound, she knew from that moment on that she would always have a greyhound in her life. Cara has kept to that, adopting a total of five greyhounds.

Ziva
Ziva

Though Cara realized that her greyhounds had been involved in the racing industry, she did not think much about the racing side of the industry till about 2 years ago when Amendment 13 was first being discussed in Florida. Cara did a ton of research and found herself wanting to get more involved in the industry. This involvement spurred her to attend the NGA 2019 Fall Meet where she learned about the Pup Giveaway on the last day of the meet. Cara decided that she would participate, but much like Michele Billick, Cara did not think she would win and considered her participation as a donation. About 120 handwritten raffle tickets later, Cara’s name was selected. She was in disbelief because she really did not think she would win. When her name was called, Cara was beyond thrilled to have a greyhound racer, who she named Ziva. She cannot wait to watch Ziva race and then come home to her forever life with Cara.

Though Cara had never owned a greyhound racer, she knew that she wanted Ziva to race. Understanding the culture and life on the greyhound farm, Cara knew that she wanted her pup to train with the rest of her siblings and have the opportunity for a racing life. Ziva will be training later this month with Tracy Shephard.

“I believe those dogs are born to run, live to run, love to run.”

Cara finds it amazing that most greyhounds end up being raised and trained around their siblings. Through their experience and training on the farm and track, the greyhounds end up being well socialized and sweet. Cara believes that the pups would not be the way that they are if there was any form of abuse that happens during their raising. Greyhounds get so much love during their racing careers that the love they received shines when they go to their forever homes. For Cara, it is what made her completely smitten with retired racers. She finds that this shows with her greyhound Zuma who jumps up and gives hugs. Cara believes Zuma learned this while being raised and continues to give hugs to Cara.

Zuma and Zane
Zuma and Zane

One of the things Cara loves about greyhounds is that they have their own personalities and quirks. She loves how gentle, socialized, smart, and sweet greyhounds are. Things that only greyhounds seem to do like “roaching” or “smiling” are some of the quirks that have captured Cara’s heart with greyhounds.

“Greyhounds are the unicorn of the canine world. So spectacular and majestic and make the most amazing pets… You can see their souls on their face.”

We would like to thank Michele and Paul Billick and Cara Bonawitz for taking the time to speak with us and share their experiences in the greyhound racing industry. One of our main goals is to promote the greyhound industry. Do you work in it or know someone who does? Would you be interested in being featured in our blog? Contact us at custserv@greyhoundchannel.com.

Blog Spotlight: Darren Henry Kennel

DarrenHenryKennel

Each year, the National Greyhound Association (NGA) holds an annual Pup Giveaway during their Fall Meet. Three greyhounds are chosen and donated to the Giveaway to be drawn by three lucky participants. This can provide wonderful opportunities for people to become involved in the greyhound racing industry who may not have been otherwise. In order for the Pup Giveaway to occur, a few greyhound farms have to be willing to donate one of their pups. Enter Darren Henry Kennel, owned by Darren and Rachelle Henry, who decided to offer one of their greyhound pups for the Giveaway. From the way they care for the breed to the way their grandchildren get excited to work on the farm, it is clear that Darren and Rachelle love what they do and the greyhounds that make it all possible.

29 years ago, Darren and Rachelle met in Victoryland, Alabama, sparking both a personal and business relationship. One year later, they moved to Birmingham, Alabama, tied the knot, and have worked with one another ever since. Having been born into the business, Darren and Rachelle have been involved in the industry for a long time. Darren’s grandfather ran greyhounds at fairs before there were race tracks and Rachelle’s father worked in the greyhound industry after he attended some races himself and fell in love with the breed; hence, Darren and Rachelle’s own passion for greyhounds.

Darren_Rachelle
Darren and Rachelle Henry

Unlike kennels at the track, the farm’s schedule is much more flexible and changes as needed depending on the time of year, day of the month, and hour of the day. Though a typical day may vary from day to day, there are some things that remain the same. Each day, the greyhounds are fed and receive turnouts to run around while beds and kennels are changed and cleaned. With somewhere between 120 and 150 dogs on the farm at all times, there is a lot of work to be done. Fortunately, Darren and Rachelle have wonderful people working on the farm, with all the hands involved acting as one big family. Some of those helpers involve their grandchildren who help on the weekends and during the summer, making the time on the farm all the more special.

While the NGA Pup Giveaway was not on Darren or Rachelle’s radar, when Jim Gartland asked them to participate, they decided to give it a go. When selecting the greyhound to donate, Darren and Rachelle drew a name from a hat to determine which lucky pup would be in the Giveaway. That pup ended up being Mercury who is being sent for race training this month along with her nine siblings, all of which were named after elements from the Periodic Table in honor of their father, Flying Hydrogen. Mercury is described as a very sweet pup who loves attention but will allow her littermates to take the spotlight when they need it.

NGAPup_Mercury
Mercury

When naming the greyhounds, Darren and Rachelle tend to pull from a few different inspirations. Their grandchildren love to participate in naming the pups and provide suggestions whenever they can. Similar to Mercury and her littermates, often times the brood’s or stud’s name is involved or considered in some way. Darren and Rachelle have also auctioned off naming rights to adoption groups who want to get involved in the racing side of the industry.

Working with so many greyhounds over the years, Darren and Rachelle have many memories and favorite moments. One of which involves Arkans TT Gator who was the laziest pup they had ever raised, which they say with the utmost love and sincerity. While Gator’s littermates were running around and being very active, Gator just wanted to sleep all day. He never ran in the runs, which is not an exaggeration. Something, however, must have sparked in Gator while being finished because he ran well at Southland and ended up being the best in his litter. Arkans TT Gator is proof that while you can try to determine which pups will do well, you often cannot guess their success till they are racing around the track.

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One of Darren and Rachelle’s favorite things about working in the greyhound racing industry is that they get to see how their work spans out. It is a process to determine which brood and stud you want to pair up and seeing how the results pan out is an exciting and fun experience. Also, being able to handle the pups from birth till they leave to be finished, and then seeing how happy the pups are to see them again later on is a humbling and heartwarming experience for Darren, Rachelle, and their team. There is so much pride and joy when one of their pups wins a race or stakes event that it is an indescribable feeling. By far though, Darren and Rachelle’s favorite thing is working with family and seeing the love for the greyhounds within them.

“It warms our hearts to be able to see the dogs we love being raised and handled by the people we love. There is no better feeling in the world for Darren and I.”

We would like to thank Darren and Rachelle for speaking with us and sharing their greyhound racing industry story. One of our main goals is to promote the greyhound industry. Do you work in it or know someone who does? Would you be interested in being featured in our blog? Contact us at custserv@greyhoundchannel.com.

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Blog Spotlight: Shelley Lake

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Helper, trainer, veterinarian, and adoption coordinator. These are a few of the many hats that Shelley Lake has worn during her time in the greyhound racing industry. For the past 25 years, Shelley has been involved with greyhounds and it is clear the reason why she has devoted so much of her time to these pups – she is in love with the breed. That love for greyhounds has sparked a passion in Shelley so that everything she does is for those wonderful pups.

Shelley’s start with the greyhound racing industry began in 1993 at The Woodlands where she stayed until the track closed in 2008. She worked at The Woodlands while in college, helping out the kennel and Rob Gillette’s clinic. Instantly falling in love with greyhounds, Shelley worked her way through jobs at the kennel, including trainer. Once she was in the industry, there was no way she was leaving it.

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Shelley and her husband with their greyhounds.

Shelley credits her veterinarian career to the hounds because if it wasn’t for working at the track while in college, she probably wouldn’t have become a veterinarian. Graduating from veterinary school from Kansas State University in 1999, Shelley worked at a practice for about four years before she switched to part-time while helping with greyhound adoption efforts. Shelley mentions that she stumbled into greyhound adoption. She saw pups that had been waiting to be adopted for up to two years in Abilene due to the lack of a local adoption group. Once Shelley saw the need for greyhound adoption, she took on the role of coordinating placement of the hounds with adoption groups. Sometimes Shelley will do a direct placement of a greyhound when needed, but she typically likes to coordinate placing the pups with an adoption group who will then place the greyhound with their forever home.

With Shelley handling up to 100 greyhounds at a time, she is very busy but always thorough. When she checks greyhounds, Shelley gets their general information and pairs a number with a picture of the greyhound so that she can keep track of who is who. During her visits with the pups, she will often cat test as to whether the greyhound is compatible with cats. Cat testing involves having the cat in an animal crate while the greyhound is leashed and muzzled. The cat is released and the reaction of both the cat and pup are noted to determine whether the greyhound is cat friendly. Shelley mentions that usually you can tell whether a greyhound handles cats well based on the cat’s reaction. If the cat doesn’t want to get out of the crate at all, it usually knows that the dog has high prey drive and should not live with little friends. When the cat walks out and rubs all over the dog, then that greyhound is considered to be cat safe.

Not only does Shelley enjoy working with greyhounds, but she loves having them as a part of her family too. She currently owns 15 greyhounds. While Shelley loves all greyhounds, she will request for any senior or medically troubled greyhounds because she knows that it is difficult to adopt them out and she has the resources available to take care of them as a veterinarian herself. This decision also comes from a place of love where Shelley believes that every greyhound deserves to have a home, no matter how little time they have in that home. For instance, Shelley took in a pup with cancer that was only in her forever home with Shelley for one day. Even though it was an extremely short period, Shelley is happy that the greyhound got to have a home before they crossed the rainbow bridge. It takes a truly special person to do what Shelley does.

“Not everyone can open their doors and handle the heartache over and over again”

Being involved in the greyhound racing industry for the last 25 years, Shelley has many great memories. A funny experience involved Flying Halma when she was being unofficially schooled. When Flying Halma broke out of the box, she flew to the front of the race, but ended up running straight to her trainer at the escape turn, stopping to jump up on the fence in the middle of the race! Later that day, as Shelley headed to the kennel club, she passed one of the judges who then said, “I saw you school your pet today,” all while stifling a laugh.

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Another standout memory is of Flying Mancini who was great at the 550 and 660 courses, but they needed a greyhound to enter into the 770 Kennel Championship at The Woodlands. They ended up putting Flying Mancini in the race against competition that was experienced on the 770 course. Despite the odds being stacked against her, Mancini ended up winning that race and set the track record while she was at it. Shelley explained that Mancini was so tired after that race that they didn’t make her run the 770 course again, but she did so well that day that she remains the 770 track record holder.  Mancini went on to be a 2010 All American, then a momma dog, and is still living happily in Shelley’s home at over 13 years of age.

 

Shelley has adopted greyhounds, fostered greyhounds, and has even owned a few racers herself. Handsomestranger (Flying Culloden – CJC’s Elite) was born on November 24th, 2011, and as soon as Shelley saw the litter, she knew she needed to have one of the pups. He went to Derby Lane to race and made it up to grade A before retiring due to an injury. Shelley lost Handsomestranger at five and a half years, but he was her heart hound. She also owned Spatter Dash (Dusty Outback – Nightingale) who was another special greyhound that had a similar racing career as Handsomestranger, but she raced at Palm Beach before retiring due to an injury.

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With the passing of Florida’s Amendment 13 and Southland’s recent closure announcement for 2022, there has been an increase of retired pups for adoption placement. Shelley explains that a lot of studs and broods are being retired since many farms will no longer need to breed as many pups and other farms are starting the process of closing down their operation. The decline of racing and increase in track closures saddens Shelley because she sees the ending of greyhound racing as an ending to the dogs that we love. This encourages Shelley to continue to adopt, foster, and work with greyhounds for as long as she possibly can, enjoying every minute spent with these amazing athletes.

“They complete me. They make me who I am. I just try to give back. They are my calling.”

Blog Spotlight: Bob Crossland

BobCrossland

There are those who love animals so much that they try to work them into their everyday lives in their work or hobbies. Bob Crossland is one of those people, spending the last 30 years raising racing greyhounds as a hobby. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Bob about his life and experiences in the greyhound racing industry. Not only was Bob extremely knowledgeable about these amazing athletes, but it quickly became clear that he is passionate about the breed and the racing greyhound industry.

Bob grew up around pups, helping raise dogs of varying breeds. When The Woodlands opened in 1989, Bob’s childhood experience with dogs came back to him as he became interested in raising greyhounds. This was a venture that Bob did on the side since he was also working for UPS. It was through his involvement with The Woodlands that Bob learned everything he needed to know about greyhound racing, and where he made his connections in the industry. One of those connections was with Mooch and Dixie Olson, from Abilene, Kansas, who started training Bob’s dogs and have continued to do so ever since. Not only are they Bob’s go-to trainers, but they have also become good friends of his for 30 years now.

Bob ended up attending his first National Meet in Abilene, Kansas, in the fall of 1989, and has been at every single Meet since. That means, this fall will be Bob’s 30th National Meet. In honor of Bob’s participation in the industry and National Meets, the National Greyhound Association (NGA) awarded him and his family with a banquet in their name in 2017.

Because of Bob’s previous experience raising other breeds, making the decision to raise greyhounds wasn’t a far stretch for him. The biggest difference between greyhounds and other dogs is that greyhounds need more space to run. Over the years, Bob has kept the farm a family business with him; his wife, Debbie; and daughter, Nicole, all helping around the farm.

For Bob and the family, a typical day on the farm starts off with preparing the greyhounds’ food and feeding them. They then look over the dogs to make sure that they are well and that nothing is ‘off’. Having raised greyhounds for the last 30 years, Bob has a good understanding of indicators the greyhounds may show if something is wrong, which he can then take care of right away. After checking out the greyhounds, Bob lets them run around and roam. The farm is 5 acres and consists of 14 runs, 7 brood pens, and 1 puppy pen. The farm also includes swimming pools, water pens, and regular water bowls for the pups to enjoy.

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Aerial view of Crossland Farm.

When it is time to whelp the puppies, they keep the females in the house so that Bob and Debbie are right by them every step of the way. Bob tries to keep the litters together as much as possible on the farm. When the pups are young, he might keep six to eight greyhounds in a single run. As they get older and need more space, he’ll usually keep two greyhounds in a run. All of the pups get their tattoos at three months old when they also receive their first collar to keep.

Bob has had nice success with his puppies. He is a perpetuation breeder, which means that he looks at the line of producers of the female racers. If a female racer has had a good career and has come from a mother and grandmother who produced well, he tends to keep that female for breeding. Obviously, it isn’t a 100% guarantee that the litter will do well, but it is a start and seems to help overall.

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Whistler’s Wrath, the best producer Bob has had.

Whistler’s Wrath has been Bob’s #1 brood, and he is keeping her daughters, Beautiful Tease, Cashontheline, and Dogem’s Magic, for breeding purposes. Though the idea is that they will produce great pups, Bob finds that it all comes down to the greyhound’s drive for success.

“The favorites are the ones that go to the race track and make themselves the favorites.”

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Bob has tended to have more success with female racers as well. One of his favorite stories involves Flat Chat Cuppa, who was sold to Kristine Metz. Kristine had never owned a racing greyhound before and had only experienced greyhounds on the adoption side of their lives. After Flat Chat Cuppa was trained, she was sent to Palm Beach Kennel Club to race. She ended up making it into the finals of the Puppy Stakes, leading Kristine and her mom to drive all the way to Florida to watch her race in the final. Flat Chat Cuppa ended up winning the stakes. Bob thought it was amazing how people buy many greyhounds over the years and never win a stakes race, but Kristine’s one and only racing greyhound ended up winning the Bob Balfe Puppy Stakes. Bob loves this story because it really is a Cinderella story.

While Bob has ran his farm successfully for the last 30 years, things really took off when he was contacted by Candy Beck of Greyhound Pets of America New Mexico (GPA-NM). Bob had donated some items for an adoption event that GPA-NM was throwing. Not much later, Candy asked if Bob would be willing to donate naming rights of some of his pups for another adoption event. Bob agreed and Candy ended up buying half interest in Jean Krupa, whose name had been donated to the adoption group. This created a ripple effect with others requesting to do the same. Bob estimates that he has had over 100 people from the adoption community purchase greyhounds from him. The popularity of Bob’s greyhounds has continued as he now has a wait list for purchasing a greyhound or naming rights of one of his pups.

“It’s turned out really well for both parties. Worked out good for the racing community and worked out really good for the adoption community.”

As the adoption community became more involved in the racing industry, they started to see that the information anti-greyhound racing animal rights activists stated were not true. The adoption community that worked with Bob was able to come to this conclusion because they were able to see the process first-hand at Bob’s farm. Bob has always had an open door policy for farm visitors because he wants people to experience the greyhounds in their everyday lives and see for themselves what it is like for the pups. While Bob’s goal has not been to necessarily change people’s minds, he has found that once they visit the farm, their minds tend to change on their own as they see that the pups are happy and treated very well.

The popularity of Bob’s pups may be in part due to his honesty. He makes sure that anyone who purchases through him is aware that there are never guarantees when it comes to greyhound racing. He always wishes the best for someone’s pup but, of course, not all greyhounds are successful racing athletes.

“As the pup gets older, you can see indicators that you like in a pup, like having a better stride, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. If that dog wants to run and they show the ability and the heart, they’ll run. If not, they won’t.”

Bob also credits Nicole for their popularity, noting that she was the one who created and currently maintains the Facebook group for the farm. Bob’s daughter posts pictures and videos of the greyhounds, which people seem to really enjoy. Bob finds that Facebook has not only helped their business, but that it has helped excel the greyhound racing industry. Through Facebook, people can find loving, behind-the-scenes pictures and videos of greyhounds doing what they love and receiving the wonderful care that the farms, kennels, and tracks provide.

Bob’s whole goal was to get new people involved in the greyhound racing industry, a goal that he has seemed to accomplish. In his 30 years of raising greyhounds, Bob predicts that he has sold hundreds of greyhounds. About 7 years ago, Bob retired from UPS and continued to raise the pups that he has loved all these years. Though raising greyhounds is not an easy job, Bob loves it and enjoys having it as a hobby. As long as greyhounds are needed for racing, Bob will be there raising these wonderful athletes.

We would like to thank Bob Crossland for taking the time to speak with us and share his experience in the greyhound racing industry. Join the Crossland Farm Facebook group to enjoy updates, pictures, and videos of the farm and purchase Crossland Farm merchandise. One of our main goals is to promote the greyhound industry. Do you work in it or know someone who does? Would you be interested in being featured in our blog? Contact us at custserv@greyhoundchannel.com.

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Comment below to receive an entry to win a Crossland Farm hat donated by Bob Crossland! Double your chances to win when you share on Facebook or Twitter by receiving a second entry, and share on both Facebook and Twitter to triple your chances by receiving a third entry. Only Greyhound Channel account holders will be eligible to win this prize. Winner will be selected by a drandom drawing and announced Saturday, October 12th.

This Week With The Professor: Over Handicapping

Over-Handicapping

One of the most common and most difficult faults to overcome is over handicapping. There can be a fine line between being thorough in your analysis of a race, and being so thorough that you become paralyzed and unable to make a rational decision on what to play. I wish I had a magic pill for this malady, but I don’t. I can think of many times early in my handicapping career that my inital thinking of a race was correct, but I started doubting myself becasue of the odds or discussions I had with others so that I ended up changing my mind and then regretting it.

My best advice is to trust your initial thoughts when looking at the program. By saying that, I don’t mean that you should do a quick look and just go with it. You should have a fairly good idea of what you think the race looks like, then expand on that. It is not necessary or wise to try and make a case for every greyhound in the race becasue if you do that, you will end up confusing yourself and not having confidence in your wagering. The old saying “go with your gut” is a good one.

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Do you have a question for The Professor? Leave a comment below and you could receive a $2 wagering credit to your Greyhound Channel account if your question is featured in The Professor’s blog article!

Blog Spotlight: David Strong

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After Greyhound Channel sponsored a stakes race at the National Greyhound Association’s (NGA) Spring Nationals, a letter of thanks was received from the owner / breeder of the winning dog. The signator was a well-respected, second generation dog man and the son of legendary Wayne Strong. Strong Sr.’s past charges includes Hall of Famers Miss Gorgeous, Presentation, and Rooster Cogburn, to name a few. Although David Strong now breeds and sells greyhounds, it wasn’t always this way.

David was born in Norfolk, Nebraska, but landed in Abilene, Kansas, to start third grade. The family settled a farm where David developed a vigorous work ethic learning that there is no clock for dog men. There, Strong Sr. established Wayne Strong Kennel, and mother Janet handled all things domestic including David, his brother and four sisters. She continues a thirty year career at the local elementary school serving special needs students.

David played football and wrestled before graduating from Abilene High School in 1980. After completing construction trade school and studying wind energy at Cloud Community College, he worked two years for Upwind Solutions. However, he eventually returned to greyhound racing because of his love of canine athletes and gambling. Perhaps it was due to genetics as he ran Sr.’s kennel full time, charged with handling the likes of Rooster’s Spur, another Hall of Famer. Under David’s care, the white and red brindle male scored over $162,000.00, spanning a ninety four starts career. Eventually, he established Blue Sky Kennel. He recalled that his favorite track to run was the now defunct Multnomah Greyhound Park in Wood Village, Oregon, because the staff was easy going and pleasant.

In 2003, David put his construction skills to good use, building his farm including a home in Solomon, Kansas. He keeps only five or six broods and his best litter picks compete and sell at Nationals while the rest are sold privately. He also owns and operates Kansas Transportation Company, a hauling business. Wife Marcie is employed at the same school as his mother. Sons Andrew and Carson, ages 28 and 26 years old respectively, are FedEx employees. For a nominal fee, David transports retired racers, broods, and studs to select adoption groups in the states and Canada for permanent placement because it’s the right thing to do.

With his down time, whenever that happens, he watches and pulls for the NFL Seattle Seahawks and his native state’s Big 10 Conference Nebraska Cornhuskers. Mark Twain once said, “Golf is a good walk spoiled”, but not for David who’s out on the course two or three times a week during the summer happy to score an eighty three or eighty four. Right now he’s pulling for Kansas native and monster driver Gary Woodland ranked 12th in the world to make the cut at the British Open. But what makes him most happy is the birth of his first grandchild, Kenley, born June 2nd of this year … Greyhound Channel hopes she grows up to carry the greyhound torch for a third generation of Strongs. Watch for her.

We would like to thank David Strong for taking a moment to speak with us about greyhound racing and his experience in the industry. One of our main goals is to promote the greyhound industry. Do you work in it or know someone who does? Would you be interested in being featured in our blog? Contact us at custserv@greyhoundchannel.com.

This Week With The Professor: Long Distance Decisions

LongDistance

The reason that trainers run greyhounds in longer distance races are because they are either good breakers but not fast enough to get clear in sprints, or they are slow out of the box and are finishing well in sprints. Unlike in horse racing, when a dog is finishing well, it is not because they are speeding up at the end of the race, they are just keeping up their speed during the race and not getting as tired as the other dogs. For that reason, if the greyhound is showing speed in a longer race, that does not usually mean that the dog will show enough speed in a sprint, against faster dogs, to get clear. They will have to outfinish the speed dogs to compete. This does not mean that they will not do that, but their front running style in the longer race will be different in the sprint.

Also, the reason the trainer is dropping the greyhound to the sprint is important. The dog may be tired and they are trying to freshen them up a bit. It may also be a tactic to get the dog lowered a grade, along with the rest, so that when they are put back into the longer races, they will be rested and lowered in grade to get a win. The exception to the rule is if the trainer has put the greyhound in the longer distance for a few races, to stretch them out a bit, and then puts them back into a sprint. This may drop them in grade and then they have a good chance of running well when swithched back to their normal distance.

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Do you have a question for The Professor? Leave a comment below and you could receive a $2 wagering credit to your Greyhound Channel account if your question is featured in The Professor’s blog article!

Blog Spotlight: Steve Schiferl

SteveSchiferl

If there is one thing we can all agree on it is that greyhounds are FAST, 45 mph fast to be exact. That means, capturing photos of greyhounds can be a difficult task and takes a keen eye. That is something that Steve Schiferl has, snapping amazing shots of greyhounds both during their racing careers and after. Speaking with Steve, it is clear that he truly loves greyhounds. Whether acting as Vice President of Greyhound Pets of America (GPA) or capturing gorgeous photos of greyhounds, Steve’s life seems to revolve around the hounds that we all love.

Steve’s love for greyhounds started 23 years ago when his roommate had adopted a greyhound. Steve was able to get a firsthand experience with a greyhound and fell in love with the amazing breed. About one year later, Steve adopted his first greyhound, Tom Tom. Being so smitten with greyhounds, it wasn’t long before Steve joined the GPA Wisconsin board to help find homes for retired racers.

 

“These people are just amazing…I fell in love with the industry and the people.”

Working with GPA over the years, Steve participated in many greyhound adoption events. It was at one event that a photographer was brought in to get pictures of the hounds. This was before digital cameras, so it was special to have a photographer capture wonderful pictures of the greyhounds at the event. That experience gave Steve a bit of an itch for photography. Once digital cameras and camera phones made an appearance, Steve and his colleagues had a lot of fun taking pictures of the pups. This, ultimately, led Steve into getting his first digital camera. As he gained experience snapping photos of the greyhounds and trying out various camera lenses, Steve realized that he wanted to take a shot at capturing pictures of the greyhounds while they raced. This opportunity opened up last year for Steve when he was able to get great photos of the hounds racing at Iowa Greyhound Park. Having such a wonderful experience at Iowa Greyhound Park, Steve also visited Wheeling Island where he was able to get action shots of the hounds racing.

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When taking photos at the track, first thing Steve does is make sure that he has a program on hand so that he can note who he is taking photos of that day. He then sets up his camera and takes various pictures of the greyhounds before, during, and after they race. While Steve enjoys watching greyhounds race, he is not able to actually see the races while he’s taking photos because he is looking through a lens and is focusing on a certain point of the track or a specific greyhound. Once Steve is finished capturing photos for the day, he then goes through them to find the ones that turned out well. With Steve taking photos for up to twelve races, he can end up with 1,000 pictures from each visit, so this last step can take awhile. Seeing the photos is always fun for Steve, though, because he loves capturing the beauty and passion of a greyhound.

“To see the look in their eyes, the intensity, the love that they have… You can see it in the pictures.”

Being involved in the greyhound racing industry for so long, Steve has many memories that he treasures, but the very first greyhound he adopted would have to be his favorite. That decision and experience made Steve fall deeper in love with greyhounds, leading him to adopt 14 greyhounds over the years. In terms of memories taking pictures at the track, Steve’s favorite was a rainy visit to Iowa Greyhound Park on September 2nd of last year. Steve ended up capturing one of his favorite photos so far, an amazing shot of DS Rudolph running around the turn.

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DS Rudolph in race 12 at Iowa Greyhound Park on 9/2/18

Steve loves capturing the greyhounds in their racing element. Not only does he enjoy the experience of taking the photos and seeing the results for himself, but he loves giving the photos to those that will enjoy them too. For Steve, the best part of his photography hobby is giving the photos to those who share his love for greyhounds. Having a greyhound’s adopted family get to see their pup in action during their racing career through Steve’s photos is something special because it gives the adopters a peak at the previous years of their greyhound’s life that they did not get to see or experience. On the flip side of that, greyhound racing owners and trainers get to see the hounds they worked with and loved in their retired life via Steve’s photos of adoption events. Steve also hopes that his pictures will bring awareness to the public so that they can see the owners, trainers, and handlers walking the dogs out and loving on them. Perhaps it will pique people’s interest in the greyhound racing industry so that they visit a track or kennel and check it out, see it through their own eyes, and enjoy themselves.

“There’s a lot of big hearts in the industry.”

 

We would like to thank Steve Schiferl for taking the time to speak with us and share his wonderful involvement with greyhounds. Greyhound Pets of America is a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation founded in 1987, and is the largest single non-profit Greyhound adoption group worldwide. Since opening its doors in 1987, Greyhound Pets of America Chapters have worked together to adopt over 80,000 Greyhounds into loving homes. One of our main goals is to promote the greyhound industry. Do you work in it or know someone who does? Would you be interested in being featured in our blog? Contact us at custserv@greyhoundchannel.com.