Blog Spotlight: Trainer Carrie Edwards

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We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Carrie Edwards, trainer at Wayne Ward Kennel. Carrie provided so much wonderful detail of her time in the greyhound racing industry that we wanted to share it with you!

How and when did you first get interested in greyhound racing?

It was the winter of 1995. I had just finished my first year at the local hospital as an LPN. I was dating a guy whose family was into breeding greyhounds, but weren’t successful at it. He had taken me to the track to inquire about a kennel job for himself. After watching a race, all I could think was how I just wanted to pet one. To me, it was the most awe inspiring 30 seconds of my life. There was actual steam coming up off the track from the coils and it looked just magical. The greyhounds burst out of the steam in the far turn. I had never seen an animal more majestic than the greyhounds, which had just run that race. I actually felt the ground rumble as they passed me at the finish line. “Just let me pet one” is all I kept saying. Of course, the guy thought my reaction was hilarious. He had been around greys his entire life and thought nothing more of it than a race. He took me around to the cool out shed and asked someone if I could pet their greyhound. Of course they were hesitant, but they did let me. Back then, you had to know somebody or be kin to somebody to be in the “dog business.” It wasn’t customary to let strangers pet the dogs. I had been introduced to greyhounds before when I was much younger. My uncle was a big gambler at Southland and had taken me to Darby Henry’s house/farm to see greyhound pups. I was maybe 7 or 8. They had also adopted a retired racer from the Henry’s and when I went to my aunt’s house, she would put a racing blanket on her grey and let me walk her through the neighborhood. I knew they raced, but did not understand the connection till watching my first race.

You mentioned coming from a nursing background. What made you decide to change careers and join the greyhound industry? Why training racers?

The guy I mentioned before ended up getting a helper job with Wayne R Ward kennel. He had gotten permission from the trainer to bring me in while they did a turnout. They put me out in the pen with around 20 boys and I absolutely fell in love. They were falling all over each other to get to me. I was so overjoyed that I begged them to let them in one at a time, so I could pet and love on each one. The trainer’s wife was there with us. She told me, “You are a dog person”. She said that I could come to turnouts anytime I wanted. She also said that if I enjoyed turn outs that I should see morning schooling where the dogs were actually hand slipped on the track as opposed to coming out of the box. She explained that that is where the greys learn how to go around the track. That was it for me. I went to watch every chance I had, but of course that wasn’t enough; I wanted to be hands on. They did not need another helper and no one in the compound was willing to give me a job with no experience, so I spent the next 6 months volunteering just to learn enough to be a helper. I would have done it longer, but the guy and I broke up and I sadly went back to focusing on my nursing career. It didn’t take long for the guy to show up late and lose his job. So the trainer’s wife came and found me and offered me my first helper’s job. I did not even give a notice to the hospital. As to why training racers, where else could you see a greyhound run up to 45 miles an hour and be so happy doing it? That is all there was to do when it came to greyhounds.

 

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WW Char Fontane

 

Not having a racing background, were there additional challenges to learning everything you needed to know and getting your foot in the door?

One of the biggest challenges has and will probably always be getting respect from the older dog men, the ones that have been doing it all their life. Those are the guys that if you do earn their respect and trust, you want to pick their brains and spend as much time around them as you can. It has nothing to do with being a woman, in my opinion. So much as you weren’t born into it, like most of them were. Back when I started, the trainers wouldn’t share information. Anything they knew, whether it be flea and tick control or worming their dogs, it was a big secret and might give them the advantage over the competition.

Do you think that being a woman in the industry provided any additional challenges with the number of hours that trainers put in on top of having a family, etc.?

Back when I started, there were no women trainers that I can remember at Southland, for the first few years anyway. It was mostly families with the man being the trainer and the wives were just helpers. There were a lot of “kennel kids.” They would play in the cool out shed while mom and dad were doing their track work. We all kind of watched over them. Fast forward to today, and I am one of only two female trainers at this track. My husband is my assistant trainer and only works part time. I have the schedule set so that I am home with my daughter every night. Now that doesn’t mean that I’m not watching every race or constantly on my phone with my help. I am a mother hen in every sense of the word. My family comes first, but my child often sees me distracted from spending time with her because of the kennel. I’m sure it would be the same with the men and their families.

How many kennels have you worked with?

8 total, I believe: Wayne Ward, Thunderbird, Midsouth Greyhound Adoption, Rick Bartley, Bill Elliot, Gulf and Bay, Greymeadow, and Magic City.

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18 Win Week with Greymeadow Kennel

How did you come to working with Julia Ward and how long have you been with the Wayne Ward Kennel?

I left the dog business in 2005, my daughter was two and it did not work out for her to be a kennel kid. She was terrified of the dogs. The barking scared her and I’m sure their size. I was a stay at home mom for a few years before going to work at West Memphis police department as a 911 operator. I met my current husband there who was a police officer. I spent 7 years there. One day, my husband came in and was telling me about a stakes race that he had went and watched with one of his trainees. It just so happened to be Tim Thorne (his father owns Robert Thorne kennel). Tim had asked if they could stop and watch the race and Sam came to tell me all about it. I had not shared my dog racing past with my husband because when I spoke about it, I missed it more than anything. We had only been married almost a year. Sam said the moment he mentioned racing, I lit up and the grin that spread across my face was priceless. I told him all about my dog business career and began pulling out my photo album of dogs and telling him all about it. He told me he knew right then that racing greys was where I needed to be, that he saw the passion in my eyes. A few days later I read an ad for someone looking to employ a person that loved dogs. I did not know until I asked to apply that it was for a kennel at Southland. It turned out to be for Magic City Kennel. I applied and got the job as a helper. I gave my notice at the PD and went to work for Magic City. After about 4 months, Randy said he had to let me go, but had told me that his partner, Julia Ward, was opening a kennel at southland and was going to need a trainer. I didn’t get the trainers position; Julia brought in her own trainer from another track, but like so many trainers before him that came from other tracks, he didn’t do so well. After about 6 months, Ron Otto called me and offered me the trainer’s job. It was April of 2014, I believe. The kennel opened January 1st of 2014. I have been with her since she opened the doors.

Have you worked at tracks other than Southland? How would you compare the experiences?

No other tracks; Southland is my home.

You have worked with some greyt athletes, including Festival of Stakes Crittenden Super Sprint Consolation winner, RF NIX. Do you have any favorites from over the years? Best memories?

RF NIX was also the 334 track record holder until he was beaten in October by my WW’S SOUR PATCH who still currently owes the record. I can’t tell you how proud and honored I am to have been Nix’s trainer. I credit Jerry Cole with sending me that boy. He told me Nix was the fastest 3/16ths dog he had seen in a while. My husband and I drove our SUV to Illinois and picked him up personally. He had blankets and a knuckle bone to chew on all the way back. He has class, from the moment I put my hands on him, I could tell. He carried his self like he was all business. Nix got off to a slow start at southland, but when he got his timing down, he was unstoppable. He has been one of the few 334 dogs that I have seen that can come from behind the rest and win the race. He is retired now, heading to Australia to become a stud dog. I cried putting him on the haul. I also got to handle OSHKOSH SLAMMER at Southland briefly before his retirement. I have had so many favorites over the years that it’s hard to name them all. One of my fondest memories was being a greenhorn and being drug around the starting box by a 100 lb OSHKOSH HARMONY. The first rule in the dog business is “don’t let go”. Well, I didn’t and that big lug drug me all the way to the finish line. He just wanted to run and didn’t have to waste coming out of the box, or waiting on the lure.

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What is your favorite thing about working with racing greyhounds?

Making the greyhounds happy and receiving that unconditional love that they give. It doesn’t matter what type of day you have had, they are always happy to see you. The greyhound’s passion for running will always be mind-blowing to me. If people put as much passion into what they love to do like greyhounds do, they would be unstoppable and happy all the time. I also look at it like this: someone will do this job if not me. If i can do it better, then I will do all in my power to keep them healthy and happy. My kennel manager, Ron Otto, told me to just take care of the dogs, and they will take care of you. Now I live by that motto. My ultimate goal is to find what makes them tick, what really stimulates them and makes them happy. Each greyhound is different and each greyhound has their own personality. I’ll give you an example: I got a little female from another kennel that was a grade D. She didn’t seem to have much personality, just kind of stayed to herself, but she wasn’t spooky or shy. She just didn’t demand attention like most of them. She was happy just doing her own thing. I started out with pulling her out of the group of girls to make her feel special, to see if she would come around and start being an attention hog. That didn’t seem to work, so I started laying in her crate every morning after we fed. Now that started getting her attention, it wasn’t long and she began to expect me to do that every morning, which I did. She slowly began to win races. I promised her a new collar and matching muzzle if she made it to AA. She did just that. Not because of the collar I’m sure. She also started carrying around that new muzzle in her mouth and playing with it. She stayed in AA for me until she retired.

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Oshkosh Nicholas

Do you have any interesting stories about any of the greyhounds you have worked with? Funny habits? Quirks?

We have one now, WW GO PACK GO, aka Banks, aka Bleach Bottle; my first stake race winner. Now I don’t want anyone to take this as being cruel. It was for his own good so that he didn’t get hurt jumping fences. This wonderful little black boy loved to do his business and jump the fence in the turnout and come find us, even if we were in the other pen. Me, being the worry wart I am, started asking some old timers how we could solve this problem. The fences are well over 6 feet tall, and I was convinced he was going to get hurt or even worse, get loose. They all recommended the same thing…an empty bleach bottle attached to his collar. How in the world that was going to work was beyond me, but I was willing to try it if it meant keeping him in the fence. It actually worked. I was in disbelief. The best I can figure is it was distracting enough to keep him occupied. It did not take him long to figure out that all he had to do was drag thru a pile of his own poo and we would take it off to wash it and there he go over the fence. He did indeed fool us all a time or two. We ended up losing the bleach bottle and spending every turnout in the pen with him. As long as we did that, he never tried to jump the fence again. He is newly retired and I promise you, I will miss that boy and never forget him. I have others, we have one now, WW VESPA, aka Red that loves to lay in the paper trash pile at the back door. After we finish beds and sweep up all the loose paper, we intentionally sweep it to the back door just so he can lay in it awhile. Mind you, he has a perfectly papered bed to sleep in, but he prefers the dirty paper. One more that I adore and has a little quirk is WW BORNTO BOOGIE aka Hanks. He loves to go behind every dog and cover their poo with sand, just like a cat. We play hunt the poo with him every morning. I know, gross, but I am a proud certified poop picker upper. All in a day’s work. There are so many and have been so many over the years. They are all individuals and have their own personalities.

What does a typical work day look like? How many greyhounds are you personally training at one time?

A typical day starts at 5:30 AM and ends around 10 AM. It consists of doing first turnout, just letting everyone out to use the potty. As they come in, I weigh my racers. It all takes about an hour. Then we sprint the dogs. Any dog that is going longer than 7 days between races gets sprinted. A lot of the other trainers prefer every 3 to 5 days to sprint, but we do 7. It all varies by trainers. We have a break from 7AM to 8 AM, this just gives them time to relax and calm down; most of them go right back to sleep. At 8 AM, we turn just the girls out into the pens and we do their beds, we sweep out each crate every morning, change wet beds, etc. We have 3 groups that we turn out, so there are never more than about 25 in each pen. We do our main kennel of boys and their beds and then my puppy room comes last. Each group takes around 30 minutes to do as far as the beds. Unless it’s extremely cold or extremely hot or raining, then we break down the groups into about 10 dogs so they aren’t out in the weather for long. I always try to start mixing feed at 9 AM while my assistant trainers do the puppy room. Feeding is the last thing we do before we leave. There is nothing they love more than getting their bellies full and going back to sleep all tucked in. We return at 2 PM for a nice long afternoon turnout. They love laying in the sunshine in the afternoons. We weigh in our racers from 3:30 PM to 4 PM. The races start at 5 PM on a typical day. I have a guy that only catches the racers, he is there from 5 PM until the last racers cool down and can be fed. The kennel workers get back at 7 PM for a last turnout and their nightly tuck-ins. It takes an hour to an hour and a half.

Does training for a typical race day vary from training for a stakes race?

It should not; it should always be just another day at the races. If the greyhounds are talented enough they will get there on their own. All you have to do is make sure they’re healthy. For all the kennels that I have worked for, I have never won a stakes race. I have had dogs make it to the finals over and over again, but blow it the final go around. I have 3 consolation wins under my belt this year with Wayne Ward, but that’s it. Terry Green, my trainer at Thunderbird Kennel for years, my mentor told me years and years ago that I get too excited and the dogs pick up on my emotions. He said my number one downfall would always be my emotions and how the dogs are so in tune with me. My ultimate goal has always been to have a stakes winner in my kennel. He cursed me I think, and said I would never win a stakes race because I can’t contain my feelings. After my first consolation win with Ww Go Pack Go, I announced that the curse was broken, so we will see what the future holds. A trainer is only as good as the greyhound they snap at the end of the lead, or so I have been told.

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Terry Green

Do you own any retired racers?

I have two retired racers that I own. MOCHICAN SOUR BOY and WW THINBLUELINE. I broke my golden rule with both of these two, I always said if I couldn’t bring them all home I wouldn’t bring any home, because it’s not fair. Sourboy and Blue I broke in as pups here at southland. Blue was named by Julia Ward for my husband, who at the time was still a police officer. My husband made that poor dog love him and when he retired, my husband had to bring him home. We also foster all my racers and any others that Cheryl Plunk with Everything Greyt Greyhound Adoption brings over here. We turned our garage into a kennel with heating and air. We also have a six pack of crates and several fold-up crates as well. Having a kennel in the garage to foster out of is so much less stressful on the dogs. They have plenty of time to settle down before being introduced to the home environment. We are able to get them potty trained, introduced to hard wood floors, and we can even teach them stairs. I also have a small mixed bred that we can small dog test them. The biggest bonus is I get to be involved in my racers retirements.

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What are your thoughts on the unfortunate passing of Amendment 13 in Florida?

This is a tough question for me to answer because reality hasn’t set in yet. I think the people in Florida were blinded by Grey2k. If I had seen the commercials and read the articles that they wrote without knowing about the racing greyhounds, I would have believed it all too. They took our pictures and some of our words and used them against us. That’s all they had. And unfortunately, that’s what most people saw. That’s just my opinion. I think we should have had more involvement with the public long before Grey2k came along.

 

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We would like to thank Carrie Edwards for speaking 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: Q & A

This week, I will answer a question submitted by Craig R. Craig asked, “Why are the times so much different for Tri-State dogs and Jax dogs when both are 550 yrds.”

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There are a few reasons for time discrepencies between tracks that are racing the same distances. There are some tracks that prefer to keep the track surface deeper, believing that this is safer for the greyhounds. That may or not be true, as I have experienced that a softer surface can actually lead to more soreness, but people may differ on that opinion.

Another possible reason is the actual makeup of the surface. Some locations may experience more inclement weather and therefore may add sand to the track to keep it from getting muddy. In this case, the track may actually be faster wet than dry. An example of this is if you have ever run on the sand at the beach, it is easier to run on wet sand than dry. The bottom line is if you are going to use time in your handicapping, be aware that a fast time at one track may be a slow time on another, even though they are running the same distance.

Thanks for the question, Craig!

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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: Dennis Berry

Dennis Berry’s involvement in racing began in the 1960s as the proprietor of Original Steer meat market. Born October 22, 1939, to father Russ, an employee of Northern Pacific Railroad, and mother Debby, a full time homemaker, Dennis was raised in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Southeast Portland, Oregon, with one brother and three sisters. While attending Central Catholic High School, he worked at the old Vern’s Market at the meat counter not far from Portland mainstay the Original Hotcake house, then a tavern on the East end of the Ross Island Bridge. His career path never deviated as he eventually purchased and owned Original Steer meat market on Southeast Division for 42 years. It was there that he met the late, legendary greyhound breeder and owner Roy Grober.

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Foxy Red and her pups

The Berry / Grober duo partnered many successful greyhounds such as Here Comes Rebel. This male brindle and white monster by Rebel Charlie –Ballad took down back-to-back editions of the Royal Palm Beach Classic in 1983 and 1984. However, it was Multnomah Greyhound Park’s 1982 Derby winner and 690 yards track record holder Foxy Red, a fawn female by Carry On – Sabrina Rae, who is recalled as Portland’s canine sweetheart by fans in the early ’80s. As a brood, she only took once to Rural Rube award winner and All-American member Ben G Speedboat by PK’s Jet – PK’s Boat. With a litter of only two pups, she was never able to duplicate her prosperous racing career. When Multnomah Greyhound Park shuttered in 2004, so did Dennis’ participation in the sport.

This year’s 2018 Fall Nationals again offered a PUP GIVEAWAY of three donated youngsters. For a suggested but not mandatory $2.00 priced raffle ticket, this event raised over $9,500.00 to benefit the Greyhound Hall of Fame in Abilene, Kansas. One of the raffle prizes was a donated red female whelped September 13, 2017 known as Pizzaz by Counselor – Flying Antiqua. Many enthusiasts have hoped for over a decade that their ticket will be drawn and others have participated to show support for the National Greyhound Association. One winner this year belongs to the latter group…

Dennis Berry was thunderstruck upon notification of once again being the proud owner of a greyhound. Now a 79 year old retiree living in Happy Valley, Oregon, he misses spending time on a farm watching puppies develop. Although Pizzazz will be finished in Kansas, he will monitor her progress and wait to see if she has the desire and tools to race. Dennis already has her retirement mapped out as she will be placed with former greyhound farm owner, Jim Munch. Jim, who is 83 years young, lives on his farm in Aumsville, Oregon, breaking, riding, and racing thoroughbreds. He looks forward to having a greyhound around once again. Greyhound Channel prepares for its 2019 Fall Nationals PUP GIVEAWAY barrel stuffing hoping to pull a Dennis Berry next year.

Breeders’ Cup Picks by The Professor

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We have the Breeders’ Cup card available for wagering and The Professor has put together his picks for races 7, 9, and 11 of the Breeders’ Cup today. Have a question about the Breeders’ Cup? Ask in the comments below.

Breeders’ Cup Sprint – Race #7

#8 Limousine Liberal is in a great spot to pull off the upset here. He loves this track, having won 6 of 8 starts. His style of coming from just off the pace fits well, as there is a ton of early foot in the race. #5 Imperial Hint, is the favorite, has won a ton of races, and was the runner up in this race last year, but his lone start at Churchill was not one of his best; still a major threat. #9 Roy H, the defending champion, is a veteran performer who never runs a poor race. He will be a factor down the line.

Breeders’ Cup Distaff – Race #9

#9 Wow Cat, a Chilean invader, has been getting steadily better under Chad Brown, and may be the “now filly”. #2 Abel Tasman, is a very classy filly and would be no surprise, but her last effort is a bit concerning. #10 Blue Prize, is on a roll and loves this track; very dangerous. #11 Monomoy Girl, has been dominating the 3-year-old ranks, but this is a whole different kettle of fish.

Breeders’ Cup Classic – Race #11

The question is, do the Europena invaders have enough juice to beat the local guys? I am going to say yes. #1 Thunder Snow, won the Dubai World Cup in dominant fashion on the dirt. His race on 9/29, was a good prep and he should be ready to roll. #14 Accelerate, has been dominant on the west coast and has beaten most of these, but has never been out east before. #2 Roaring Lion, beat the top pick in England last out, but that was on turf. His only drawback is that he has never run on dirt; still a threat. #3 Catholic Boy, is a top 3-year-old and this type has run well in the Classic before; maybe.

 

This Week With The Professor: Pounding Chalk

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Today, The Professor explains the wagering technique “pounding chalk.”

If you have been reading my tips, you know that I am always preaching about getting value for your investments. This almost always means not playing heavy favorites. There are times, however, when the favorites look very strong and instead of just passing the race, you can do what is called “pounding chalk”. This phrase refers to, instead of spreading your wagers around and trying to get a large payoff on an exotic wager, using those funds to try and hit the bet or bets multiple times. You are wagering the same amount on the race, but instead of hoping for a large payoff, you are trying to get value by hitting a smaller payout multiple times. This method can be effective on stakes races when there are obvious mismatches and the favorites are just too strong to try and beat. Be cautious in doing this too much, though, because as we all know, in greyhound racing anything can and does happen.

In summary, my theory on trying to beat the favorites,  I believe, is still the best way to turn a profit, but by varying your play in certain situations, you can be turn a profit by playing favorites as well.

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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!

This Week With The Professor: Handicapping Distance Races

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While handicapping longer distance races can certainly vary from track to track depending on the distance and the position of the box in relation to the turn, one thing is sure, early speed is the key. A lot of people surmise that because the race is longer, this is an advantage for the late speed hounds, but this is not the case. I am not saying, of course that the early leader wins every race, but there is a major advantage to being in the lead. The late speed dogs may have more time to make up the deficit, but the speed dogs that they are trying to catch are stronger than dogs on the lead in a sprint.

Post position is also more important in the longer races, especially at tracks where the starting box is actually on the turn or just off it. Being on the inside with speed is a huge advantage, and a major handicapping factor. Think of the 440 yard races in the Olympics, where the inside positions actually start behind the outside runners to even out the advantage of being on the inside, and not having to run as far. Dogs on the outside at the start have to run farther than the dogs on the inside. So to sum it up, look for speed dogs positioned on the inside, and use the late speed hounds for exotic bets behind the speed.

One tip: You can sometimes get a good price on a speed dog that is positioned in the middle or even on the outside.  If the inside dogs have little or no speed, and that speed hound can get in the lead, some may eliminate that dog because he is not on the inside.

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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: Redhound Racing Repairs

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Owen Patrick Smith, the “Father of Greyhound Racing” introduced the mechanical lure in 1909. However, it was another innovator who refined the motor driven apparatus to run a more reliable, natural line.

In 1926, H. R. Alldritt, also known as the “Second Edison”, opened the Hurricane Fan Company in Miami, Florida and soon expanded into refrigeration. His expertise of motors and electricity made his word the last word when advising companies what kind of motor would best suit their demands.

In 1933, the inventor beat a path one evening to watch greyhounds race, and was disappointed that a race was cancelled due to a lure malfunction. It was from his discontent that inspired Alldritt to design Wonder Lure in 1936 that eventually spawned Alldritt Electric Motor Company founded in 1942. Wonder Lure offered an extended arm almost to the middle of the track while keeping the lure at greyhound eye level. When installed at Biscayne, it ran for 12 years without a hitch. When H. R. Alldritt retired, his grandson John Phillips succeeded him and renamed the company Greyhound Equipment Company.

James Phillips was born January 23, 1963 in Lawrence, Massachusetts to hardscrabble mother Ruth Pratt, who at 91 years old,  is still is as tough as a tire iron. James never knew his father, but has two older sisters, older half brother George, and younger half brother Steven. Ms. Pratt’s career ran the gamut from “working girl” to meat packer to police officer. In 1973 while employed as a secretary at Hinsdale Raceway, she met John Phillips who was installing rails during the track’s conversion from horses to greyhounds. They married and moved to Pensacola where John adopted George, James, and Steven. Though he lacked Alldritt’s ingenuity, John Phillips was a man who knew how to turn a buck. He began to mass produce parts on an assembly line and engaged his new sons as part of the labor force. James began at age 9.

James Phillips never considered other career paths after graduating in 1981 from Woodham High School. After John called it quits in 2001, sons George, James, and Steve purchased the company. George built tracks and installed rails for the lures while James served as shop foreman. Steve was president and office manager. James’ late wife Sharon, who left us way too soon, made lure rabbits and bones called socks stuffed with foam. George eventually left the business to successfully pursue a career in music as an opera singer and classical guitar player. Steve left the company abruptly in 2001 and now owns Psychotic Tattoo in Milton, Florida.

James became sole proprietor of Greyhound Equipment Company and in January 2012 formed Redhound Racing Repairs. It employs three workers who have served the parent company for over 25 years. The company name was chosen to honor James’ pitbull, Red, adopted as a stray and is now James’ go-to-guy. Redhound most recently rebuilt the entire rail system, minus the concrete, for Southland Greyhound Park in 2017. Potential clients as far away as Dubai and Ireland have expressed interest in Redhound services. When amendments 3 and 13 are optimistically defeated in Florida, he predicts a business surge. Tracks such as Daytona and Wheeling also utilize Redhound rail systems.

Video by National Greyhound Association provided by Redhound Racing Repairs.

James Phillips, who describes himself as a “laid back redneck”, is also a throw back to H. R. Alldritt who could build anything. Devoted to greyhound well-being, he invented an on-track safety device that, at a push of a button, retracts the lure into the rail system preventing injuries of the athletes.  He also designed a copper insulation to protect canine athletes from electricity.

James may be quiet and laid back, but don’t think he’s never vocal or opinionated. He thinks animal welfare for retired racers has leapt light years forward through track and adoption group programs. However, he questions why Palm Beach is the only track to install his safety devices to insure safer races. He believes that formation of a racing commission should have happened decades ago to oversee both racing and retired greyhounds and views this as a priority. He isn’t alone in this assessment.

James has already ordered eighty pounds of shrimp to be served at his annual Fall Nationals (October 8 – 13) bash. In his spare time, he enjoys the beach and hiking hoping someday to conquer the Pacific Crest Trail. Recently, James has started to shoot pool and sooner or later hopes to beat his girlfriend. Greyhound Channel anticipates Florida voters will sink measures 3 and 13 on November 6th as James buries the eight ball in the corner pocket.

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This Week With The Professor: Q & A

Today we will answer a question from William W.

William asked, “If I was to purchase a racing greyhound what could a person expect to pay and what costs are associated with purchasing?”

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There are several ways to purchase a racing greyhound.  You could buy a young pup, or litter off of a farm. There are generally several litters for sale on the National Greyhound Association site, or better yet, get a copy of the Greyhound Review, which has many ads. If you go this route, you can pay anywhere from $250-$1,500 for each pup.  The age of the pup will regulate the price you pay.  Generally, the older the dog the more it will cost you. You would then need to pay to board and train the youngsters, which can run from $50-$75 per month, per pup. Once the pup is trained and ready for the track, you would need to find a kennel to run the dog or dogs. You would lease the greyhound to a kennel for its racing life. Your expenses end at that point, and you receive 35-50% of the greyhound’s earnings. When the career is over, the dog will be returned to you or given to an adoption program for adoption.

A less common way to purchase a greyhound is to contact a kennel owner and try to buy a greyhound that is currently racing. This is not common and the price of the dog depends on the grade and their earning potential.  The cost for this can run into the thousands.

One other way to minimize the risk is to buy a pup at auction, which is held in Abilene Kansas during the fall NGA meet. The young greyhounds run in various stakes races, and then can be purchased at the auction.

Thanks for the great question William!

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This Week With The Professor: Q & A

Today, we will answer a question submitted by William W.

William asked, “If I was a racing greyhound, in general, what would I do, let’s say, in a ten day period?”

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Greyounds on the active list generally run every 3-5 days, depending on the track distance and grade. The following is a typical day in the life of a greyhound trainer.

The greyhound trainer’s day starts at around 6 am. They and their helper will let their greyhounds (40-60) out in large pens so that they can stretch their legs and relieve themselves. The people working in the kennel will use this time to clean and disinfect the kennel and the crates that the dogs live in. This generally takes 45-60 minutes. The greyhounds are then put back in their homes.

The trainer and helpers will then take the greyhounds who need exercise out to a “sprint path” to run. Greyhounds are usually “sprinted” every other day between races.
When that is completed, the trainer will mix the food, which consists of 1 ½ pounds of meat, 1 pound of meal (for each dog), as well as corn oil, and a vitamin mix. Sometimes the trainer will include fruits or a stew as well as honey for flavor. This is mixed together in a very large bowl with water for consistency.

The greyhounds are scheduled to race and the next day they are then weighed, as every greyhound must weigh within 2 lbs of their set weight (weight set by the trainer) or they will not be permitted to run and the trainer will be fined.

Each greyhound is fed from 2-3 lbs of food, carefully weighed for each. The dogs that are racing that day are given half feed. After feeding, the dogs are then turned out again in their pens for about 30 minutes. The greyhounds are then put back in their crates and the trainer will put each greyhound that raced the day before or is running that day on a “bench” and go over them for injuries and grooming. These tasks are generally completed at around 11am, at which time the trainer and his helper will leave the kennel until around 4 pm, if not Matinee racing. If there is Matinee racing, the trainer will take the dogs scheduled to run that day to “weigh in” (usually two hours before post time for race #1).

Greyhounds are placed in a lockout kennel, commonly known as the “ginny pit”, which is a kennel supplied by the track. The greyhounds will stay in the kennel until they are taken out to race. At that time the “paddock judge” examines each greyhound and checks their ear tattoos to identify the greyhound. The trainer or helper must then pick up each greyhound after racing, “cool them out”, and put them in the truck. After the last dog runs, they take them back to the kennel.

The trainer and his helpers will arrive at 4 pm to let the dogs out again for about 30-45 minutes. After they are put back in their crates, the trainer will give a snack to the night’s racers. The trainer will then take the racers to “weigh in” for the night’s races.
The trainer or helper will then again pick up the greyhound after they race and “cool them out”. After all of the racers have run they are taken back to the kennel and fed. All of the greyhounds are then turned out again for 30-45 minutes. After they are put up for the night, the kennel is locked up and the kennel staff can go home for the night (anywhere from 11 pm – 12 pm).

Please note that this is a general schedule from my own experience with greyhound kennels and can slightly differ from track to track. Thanks for the great question, William!

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Blog Spotlight: Quinn Smith

Owen Patrick Smith, the son of a Memphis funeral director, was always a tinkerer. It’s not easy to research this inventor’s major milestones, but it is agreed he was born in 1869. Where is a matter of speculation as some believe he was an Arkansas, California, or Oklahoma native. What can be verified is that he was a holder of over forty patents including a window lock and a locking garbage can lid. However, it was O. P. Smith’s 1909 prototype invention, the mechanical lure, that was instrumental in introducing the public to the sport of greyhound racing. Although racing was conducted at other venues, the sport sprouted wings and launched to the air when the Miami Kennel Club offered night racing at Hialeah beginning in 1922. Without competition from daylight horse racing, Hialeah drew blue collar crowds in droves, featuring its newly installed mechanical lure. Unfortunately, “The Father of Modern Greyhound Racing” passed away in his sleep unexpectantly January 15, 1927, after suffering a three-day flu bout. O. P. Smith didn’t live to see how the fruits of his tinkering shaped what was once America’s seventh most popular spectator sport.

Although racing is no longer offered at Hialeah, it’s alive and well at Derby Lane and has been since 1925. The responsibility falls to twenty-seven-year-old Quinn Smith to operate the lure to ensure canine athletes compete swiftly and safely. Quinn, a graduate of Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, Florida, remembers going to the track with his mother and father and hanging out in the arcade which was transformed to the poker room. He’s always loved dogs and someday would like to own a retired racer. Currently, he has all the canine he can handle with Copper, a German Shepard / Yellow Lab mix snagged off of Craig’s List. Together, they cheer the Tampa Bay Ray’s continued ascent in the AL East division hoping Blake Snell’s arm stays strong and Kevin Kiermaier isn’t traded. Superior in the outfield and a two time Gold Glove recipient, Kiermaier can sprint between bases like the greyhounds Quinn leads with Hare-son the lure around the track.

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Quinn and Copper

Quinn Smith doesn’t find it difficult to keep the lure a safe, visible ten to twelve lengths in front of a greyhound pack. He started his career at Derby Lane as a lead out fresh out of high school and has no plans to seek employment elsewhere. Quinn looks forward to operating the lure on Derby Lane’s Centennial Anniversary in 2025. Certainly, he’ll feel the presence of Owen Patrick Smith, born a tinkerer in 1869…

We would like to thank Quinn Smith for speaking 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.