Blog Spotlight: Steve Sarras & Joie Gates

During the National Greyhound Association’s (NGA) Fall Meet in October of this year, three greyhounds were once again given away for the NGA Pup Giveaway. One of the pups was donated by Steve Sarras, trainer and owner of Steve Sarras Kennel, and was won by Joie Gates. We spoke with Steve and Joie to delve deeper into the Pup Giveaway by learning more about the greyhound racing industry.

Steve Sarras got his start in greyhound racing at a young age when his dad purchased three pups that ended up being very successful.

“He got bit by the bug. Got enamored by the sport. He ended up buying a kennel and a farm. I grew up in it and have been doing it since I was 10 years old.”

Steve’s dad loved the farm, playing with the dogs, and watching the races. This transferred to Steve who ended up falling in love with the racing part of the industry. The family’s farm is in Massachusetts and Steve expanded the operations to Wheeling, followed by Southland. The love for greyhound racing has extended to Steve’s children, Nikolas and Alexandria, who are also involved in the sport, but have their main focus on their education.

“The greyhound industry is very labor intensive and requires a tremendous amount of time and dedication.”

Steve has raced excellent greyhounds, most notable being Rob Gronkowski who was 2013 All-America team captain, winner of the 2013 Festival of Stakes Sprint, Labor Day Stake, Father’s Day Stake, 2014 He’s My Man Classic, St. Patrick’s Day Championship, and he held the 545-yard track record in 2013 and 2014 at Palm Beach.

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Rob Gronkowski

This year was Steve’s second year participating in the NGA Pup Giveaway. The pup Steve gave away at the previous Pup Giveaway ended up making its way to grade A at Derby Lane. Steve likes donating a pup to the giveaway because he feels that it is a good way of getting new people involved in the industry. Usually, those who win a pup are very excited and can be someone who hasn’t raced a greyhound before.

“I’ve always tried to play an active role and try to bring in new people, new faces.”

In the case of Steve’s 2017 Fall Meet giveaway pup, Morticia, he already knew the winner Joie Gates.

“She used to work at one of the farms that raises dogs for me in Arkansas, Imark Farms. It was funny when I heard her name, I kind of grinned.”

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Morticia with Britney Parvin and Blake.

Steve anticipates that Morticia will do well. He raced her mother, Yahoo Bonita, who was a AA grade racer at Wheeling and Palm Beach. Having Djays Octane as Morticia’s sire certainly adds to her potential.

 

“We try to give away one that anyone would be proud to own, and hopefully Joie gets an All-American.”

Joie Gates became interested in greyhounds after coming across ‘rescue’ groups when she was living in Pennsylvania. Wanting to know more about the greyhound racing industry, Joie started her research, but what she found was a lot of anti-racing information. This prompted Joie to dive right into the source of greyhound racing by getting a pup of her own.

“Being a little dismayed at the information I was getting from ‘rescue’ groups on Facebook, of course, I decided I was going to cut to the chase… I decided I wanted to learn about the greyhound industry from the ground floor. Best I could do was buy a racing puppy.”

Joie contacted Terry Haber from Imark Kennels to get her first racing greyhound. Her first greyhound was named Honor Arlington, who raced at Derby Lane through Abernethy Kennel, before heading to Orange Park to race with Steve. She is now retired and at her forever home.

Having an appreciation for animal athletes from her love of equestrian sports, Joie instantly fell in love with greyhound racing and it wasn’t long till Joie moved to Arkansas to work with Terry on his farm to learn more about the industry. Through a fun exchange involving a kayak, Joie and Terry co-own Funny Car, who is racing at Daytona Beach, and Chas N It, racing at Tri-State. Both pups started their racing careers in April of this year.

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Funny Car, photo provided by Todd.

Having been an NGA member since January of 2013, Joie purchases raffle tickets for each pup giveaway. Little did Joie know that this year she would not only win one of the pups, but she would win Steve’s pup.

“I was tickled pink that Steve Saras was the person that donated Morticia because I had lunch with the man, I know the man, I know him from Terry. I’d been to his racing kennel at Southland… I think he’s an outstanding greyhound man.”

Joie decided that she would have Morticia race through Steve, where she will be starting out at Sarasota.

“He texted me this morning to ask if it was OK if Morticia went with her littermates to Sarasota to train. It was nice that he asked me.”

With Morticia currently training to race at Sarasota, Joie just received confirmation that Morticia’s racing name will be Dama Octano, a combination of her parents’ names in spanish meaning Lady Octane.

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Morticia / Dama Octano in her kennel, photo provided by Sharon McCreery.

Joie really enjoys the athleticism of greyhound racing and how greyhounds, unlike horse racing, have to figure out the race and dig deep on their own. You can see the passion for racing in the greyhounds’ faces.

“I enjoy horse athletes, greyhound athletes, I enjoy sporting dogs that are bred for a reason. I appreciate that greyhound racing gives dogs that are bred as sight hounds the ability to run in probably the safest environment they can get. Yes, accidents can happen, but in any sporting environment, unless you’re infused in bubble wrap, the potential to get hurt is always there.”

One of Joie’s favorite parts about greyhound racing and owning pups of her own is that she can see them go from training to rookie racer to veteran racer. Seeing the improvement is gratifying and impressive. When a greyhound continues to do well, you can tell that they want it.

“I loved watching As A Time Of Day. He was rather immature when he was at Derby Lane with the Abernathy’s and I loved watching him figuring it out when he got to Daytona Beach. You could see the dog pass other dogs and lift his head up over the butt of another dog to get around. You could see him making his moves and I just think that’s beautiful.”

As A Time of Day, also known as Burrito, recently retired and found his forever home where he lives with his owner, Christine, and four furry siblings.

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As A Time Of Day / Burrito and his siblings: Poncho, Romeo, Cosmo, and Chili.

Enjoying all aspects of greyhound racing, Joie also loves the wonderful pups themselves and is proud that each of her greyhounds has been adopted and placed in their forever homes.

“Retired greyhounds make excellent pets. I think everyone who has one is incredibly blessed.”

With three retired racers of our own, we couldn’t agree more with Joie.

We would like to thank both Steve Sarras and Joie Gates for speaking with us and sharing their wonderful stories 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 or podcast? Contact us at custserv@greyhoundchannel.com.

 

This Week With The Professor: Predicting Trouble

If you have read any of my articles, you know that I value early speed above all other handicapping factors. The reason for this is that the early leader always stays out of trouble, and is able to run their race as best as they can. If you are a trip handicapper and watch and chart races, you will be able to actually predict where the trouble is and if there will be trouble on many races. You will know each greyhound’s tendencies and whether or not they are in a position to avoid trouble.

One example would be a greyhound, who prefers to run midtrack, being pinned to the inside and then “blowing the turn” (going wide) and stacking up the field. It may also be possible for that dog to try and get to the outside early and hindering the progress of the dogs around them. Another example is a rail running speed dog who draws the outside post and has shown a tendency to “slash” to the inside and, therefore, bothering the dogs posted next to them. While it is not always possible to predict trouble, you can sometimes see the trouble coming and take advantage of that to your financial benefit.

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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! Tune into our podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel, for news and more greyt tips from The Professor.

Breeders’ Cup Picks by The Professor

We have the Breeders’ Cup card available for wagering and The Professor has put together his picks for races 4, 10, and 12 of the Breeders’ Cup today. Have a question about the Breeders’ Cup? Ask in the comments below.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies – Race #4

#13, SEPARATIONOFPOWERS, ran a huge Beyer figure while going long and winning the Frizette last out at Belmont. She showed that she can be rated along with good speed, which should help her overcome the far outside post. #1, HEAVENLY LOVE, improved a ton while trying two turns last out, winning the Alcibiad at Keeneland by daylight and draws a good post today. #12, CALEDONIA ROAD, ran a big race chasing the top pick last out and should only improve with a top jock aboard today.

Breeders’ Cup Sentinet Jet Juvenile – Race #10

#11, BOLT D’ORO, has improved every out and this $630,000 purchase is going to very tough, despite the outside post. #6, GOOD MAGIC, is still a maiden, but do not be fooled. He was just nipped in the Champagne and Chad Brown knows how to win the big one. #3, FIRENZE FIRE, came from well back to win the Champagne last out, and the change of style should serve him well today. #1, US NAVY FLAG, has been a monster in Europe, and this trainer knows how to ship and win in these races; dangerous.

Breeders’ Cup Classic – Race #12

Can anyone beat the defending champ #1, ARROGATE, is the big question. Is he going to revert back to his old form? I say yes. He was beaten in his last, but his Beyer suggests he is back in form. #5, GUN RUNNER, is the major threat. He has been winning by many lengths in Grade 1 races, but the last time he saw the top pick, he was chasing him home. #6, MUBTAAHIJ, is an older classy guy, who may benefit from a speed duel and be a major factor late. #11, COLLECTED, beat the top pick last out, but he had an easy lead in that one and his past races are not good enough to challenge this group; going against him today.

 

This Week With The Professor: Q & A

Lawrence A. asks “Every greyhound track seems to have different grading systems. Why aren’t there universal grades for all greyhounds?”

In a perfect world, every track would indeed have the same grading system. Believe it or not, it is more universal than it used to be. There was a time when several tracks used systems of AA, A, BB, B, C. Now the only real significant difference is that a few tracks such as Tri-State, Wheeling, and Southland use AA as their top grade instead of A, and therefore D is the lowest grade instead of E. My guess is to why they do this is to not use the Grade E, which may denote poor greyhounds. There may be some advantage to this when greyhounds are changing tracks as an A dog from one of these tracks may in reality be a B dog at their new destination and be overbet.

This might be a good time to go over some of the Grade designations and what they stand for. When you see an S or SA designation on a race, that means it is a “special” or “stakes” race. Though in reality a “stakes” race is supposed to be a race where the owner of a runner puts up money, which is then split up among the winning runners. In greyhound racing an added money race is called a stakes race. When you see a T or a TA, TB, etc, that means the greyhounds in that race are of different grades and the A or B, etc, represents the highest grade dog in the race. This is true everywhere except Daytona, where all races are designated TA or TB, etc. I have no idea why this is. One exception to all of this is when the Texas tracks run, all the races are designated with an S, which designates Texas bred greyhounds.

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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! Tune into our podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel, for news and more greyt tips from The Professor.

The 2017 NGA Fall Meet

The National Greyhound Association (NGA) concluded their 2017 Fall Meet Saturday, October 14th. Included in the Fall Meet are stakes races of greyhounds that are up for auction at the meet, Hall of Fame inductions, and a Pup Giveaway.

254 greyhounds were up for auction and raced in this year’s stakes. 11 stakes took place during the meet with organizations as sponsors. Greyhound Channel was happy to sponsor race 3 of Thursday, October 12th’s card. Winning our race was JT’s Blindnspeed who had excellent speed indeed. We wish him and all the pups the best in their future racing careers.

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JT’s Blindnspeed and Maria Clemente

Inducted into the Hall of Fame was kennel owner Jack Kahn, and greyhounds Izz A Champ, Wayside Carol, and Dodgem By Design. Jack Kahn has helped produce amazing greyhounds such as K’s Clown, K’s Viking, K’s Broadway, K’s Clever, K’s Moonglo, K’s Chestnut, and K’s Flak. Many of Jack’s greyhounds have made it on the All America Greyhound Team, as well as been honored with the Rural Rube and Flashy Sir awards.

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Izz A Champ, owned by Dorothy Roban and out of Tell Tom and Miss Ismay, was an impressive athlete. It is hard to not be in awe of Izz A Champ’s accomplishments which include winner of the Palm Beach and Daytona Beach Inaugurals, a 21 win racing streak, 27 wins out of 29 starts in 1991, All-America Team captain, and the first winner of the Rural Rube award.

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Photo of Izz A Champ. Found at Greyhound Data.

Wayside Carol, owned by Wayside Kennel and out of Rinaker and Lady Eve, was a Hollywood star. Her impressive resume includes the winner of the 1971 and 1972 Hollywood Endurance Classic, 1971 and 1972 Hollywood Derby, named 1971 and 1972 Hollywood Track Champion, and winner of the first Flashy Sir award.

Dodgem By Design, owned by Charter Kennel and out of Gable Dodge and Cruizin By Design, had a great racing career followed by a fantastic stud career. He won the 2003 Derby Lane Sprint Classic and Matinee Idol. Once retired, Dodgem By Design shined as a sire putting him at the top of the sire standings from 2009-2011. He continues to be a prominent sire within the top 50, siring many champions and All America team members.

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Photo of Dodgem By Design. Found at Greyhound Data.

We would like to give a big congratulations to this year’s Hall of Fame inductees. Within the Hall of Fame ceremony was the NGA’s Pup Giveaway, which included three donated greyhounds up for grabs by those who participated in the giveaway raffle. Taking home Pup #1 was Joie Gates. Pup #1 is out of Djays Octane and Yahoo Bonita and was donated by Steve Sarras. Pup #2 was won by Alan Harrel and donated by Mike Harris. Pup #2 is out of SE’s Charlie and RCK Midnight. Winning Pup #3 was Julie Ward. Pup #3 was donated by David Strong and is out of Flying Fired Up and Windy Reba. Congratulations to the winners of the Pup Giveaway! We can’t wait to see them tearing up the track.

With all the greyhound racing excitement that took place during the span of this year’s NGA Fall Meet, we’re already looking forward to the next meet! The NGA’s Spring Meet will take place April 16th through April 21st of 2018.

Blog Spotlight: Sarah Kinsella Continued…

Last week, we featured Sarah Kinsella, trainer and greyhound racing writer for the Irish Daily Star. This week, we continue our Blog Spotlight on Sarah Kinsella, delving further into her experiences in the Irish greyhound racing industry.

Thinking back on previous greyhound races, Sarah said that her favorite memories include Brewers Tune and Accordello, who was mentioned in the last blog as not much of a looker but fast. Accordello won impressive races and came close to winning one of the biggest races.

“Accordello got beaten on the line in the Dundalk International, the richest race in the world. I was gutted; it looked like he had won.”

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A win by Accordello

Even though Accordello didn’t win the Dundalk International, it is still one of Sarah’s favorites because it shows how impressive of a racer Accordello is. All of his big wins, along with Brewers Tune, make the top of her list.

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Brewers Tune at Harold’s Cross in 2002

“[Accordello] also made it to the final of the Cesarewitch in Mullingar, which was won by a dog called Definite Opinion who is the sire of the Irish Derby winner, Good News.”

The Irish Derby, ran on September 23rd, was lining up to be quite the race this year. A favorite greyhound of Sarah’s, Clares Rocket, was a running favorite in the Irish Derby, but had to drop out of the running. As one of the fastest greyhounds Sarah had ever seen, his withdrawal from the derby shook things up to make the Derby final a very exciting race.

“The Derby final itself was a huge success. The place was packed and the roars were so loud from the stand when Good News won the Derby. I have never heard anything like it in all my years going to the Derby.”

Sarah’s love for greyhound racing doesn’t stop with the sport itself. Sarah took in two of her racers, Accordello and Brewers Way, as pets once they retired. With greyhounds being such loving animals, that are often given the nicknames of ‘45 mph couch potatoes,’ they make great pets.

“I would recommend anyone to adopt a retired greyhound. They are fantastic dogs and easy to keep. They love attention and interaction.”

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Winning the Dog of The Year award at Harold’s Cross in 2009

Though Sarah loves the greyhound racing industry, it has gotten more tough over the years as Sarah mentioned that greyhound racing has become much more competitive, especially in the graded greyhound races. Sarah’s frustrations extend to the times that greyhounds have been caught with substances in their systems.

“It’s very sad to think that not everyone is honest… It makes you think twice about training and they ruin the game for everyone else and attract bad publicity.”

While this is something that happens from time to time, Sarah also discusses how much the greyhound racing industry has improved in testing the dogs frequently and with better ways to determine whether substances are present.

“Our industry is super. The dogs receive the best care, love, and attention. Over the last few years, the standard of racing on Saturday night in Shelbourne Park has been sublime. The best in the country all head to Shelbourne Park.”

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Accordello earns a win at Shelbourne Park

As someone who has been working with greyhounds since she was a kid, we asked Sarah what she recommends for those who are interested in getting into the greyhound racing industry. Sarah recommends getting involved with the heart of greyhound racing: the kennels and tracks. Helping out with the dogs at the kennels and asking the trainer questions will help expand your greyhound racing knowledge. At the track, taking notes of pups you like and certain things you notice about them will help you to improve your skills at picking out greyhounds.

“You will soon develop a love. The work with greyhounds can be very therapeutic, especially when the dog you have been walking and looking after starts winning, it’s some buzz and you will be sucked in. When I was being bullied in school, I always remember racing home to change my clothes and go outside to the kennels to help my parents. It was a great escape for me and greyhound racing has helped me through many bad times.”

Sounds like our kind of therapy!

We would like to thank Sarah Kinsella for sharing her story with us and her experience in the greyhound racing industry. You can follow her on Twitter at @SarahKinsella3. One of our main goals is to promote the greyhound industry. Do you work in the greyhound racing industry or know someone who does? Would you be interested in being featured in our blog or podcast? Contact us at custserv@greyhoundchannel.com.

Blog Spotlight: Sarah Kinsella

As many of you know, last weekend was the Irish Greyhound Derby final at Shelbourne Park. If you’ve ever watched an Irish greyhound race, it is easy to see how passionate they are about the sport. With our recent coverage of the Irish Greyhound Derby, we thought it would be great to speak with someone involved in the industry. We were fortunate enough to touch base with Sarah Kinsella, a greyhound racing enthusiast who races greyhounds of her own and writes about greyhound racing in The Irish Daily Star.

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Sarah Kinsella became interested in greyhound racing as a child through her grandfather. Her grandfather loved animals, owning jack russells and greyhounds. Sarah’s grandfather and his family got their start in greyhound racing by racing some greyhounds at flapping meetings. Though flapping meetings are no longer around, they played an important role in launching Sarah’s family’s role in the greyhound racing industry.

“The flapping meetings stopped years ago, but judging by the way my father explained them to me, they sounded like great fun.”

Sarah’s father, along with his cousin, began training and racing greyhounds for Navan Co Meah, Dundalk Co Louth, and Harolds Cross. Sarah and her father’s racing interest doesn’t stop with greyhounds though. Both also love horse racing and enjoy heading out to the horse tracks whenever they get the chance. Though Sarah has been to many of the horse racing festivals, some stick out more than others.

“We adore horse racing and my favorite meeting is Cheltenham by far, but in Ireland I love Punchestown and Leopardstown at Christmas.”

Don Cossack is one of Sarah’s favorite race horses and A.P. McCoy was her favorite jockey. She currently loves watching Davy Russell, Lisa O’Neill, and Mark Walsh ride.

Growing up, Sarah always worked with her parents and helped train the greyhounds. At one point, their family trained over 15 greyhounds and worked with about 10 different owners. At 16 years old, Sarah went to work for a family friend named Martin Lanney who ran a bigger training operation with over 40 greyhounds and 20 pups.

“I worked a whole summer with Martin and looked after all the dogs with him, and went racing nearly 6 nights a week. We had over one hundred winners that summer. I loved working with him, but sadly had to go back to school.”

As one door closed, however, another door opened as the ending to Sarah’s summer work lead her to her next opportunity: the race track. As part of a school work experience, Sarah became involved at Harolds Cross greyhound stadium. The Manager, Pat O’Donovan, took Sarah under his wing and hired her when her work experience was completed.

“I had a burning desire to learn everything I could and he could see that in me.”

Working a variety of different jobs at the track from the turnstiles to the photo finishes, Sarah absorbed everything she could about greyhound racing. It wasn’t too long, though, before Sarah was able to fulfill her dream of working at Shelbourne Park, where she received a full time gig in the booking office. When the booking office moved to a different location, Sarah then took a job at Betdaq, an online betting exchange, where she continues to work to this day. Her love for Shelbourne Park hasn’t faded as she continues to do some work there. Sarah also writes for The Irish Daily Star with her weekly column on greyhound racing at Shelbourne Park.

“I’m very lucky. I get to write about what I love most.”

Though Sarah is fully enjoying her career right now, she hopes that someday she can return to full time work at Shelbourne Park.

Sarah and her family currently operate a small kennel that runs about three race dogs. In addition to their race hounds, they keep a retired stud, a brood bitch, and two pups they plan on racing soon. It takes about a year to get a pup trained and ready to race, and it can be hard to tell whether they will be a good racer.

“You could spend a year rearing them and they might not turn out to be good, but that’s the chance you take with them. Sometimes, you find a good one and the rare time a very special one.”

If you take a chance on a pup, you never know where they might take you. That is exactly what happened with Sarah’s greyhound Accordello, who won over €60,000 in prize money ($78,414). He was a small black and white dog that Sarah said was not very attractive, but that didn’t matter because he was fast. Accordello’s biggest win was the Ladbrokes 600 Competition.

“I will never forget that for as long as I live; it was the best day of my life.”

Accordello now enjoys the retired life where he lives with Sarah and her family. Having been a stud for a bit, speed must be in Accordello’s genes because he has produced some great winners.

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Accordello winning the Ladbrokes 600

Besides greyhound and horse racing, Sarah loves farming and lives on a small farm in North Co Dublin where they own cattle. She loves her social media and having fun.

“I am addicted to Snapchat and Twitter and love the craic and a sing song. I am single and have no intention of getting married anytime soon; I’m not sure where I would find the time (haha)!”

On her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family, including her parents, brother, sisters, nieces, and nephews. Sarah’s best friends, Jess and Grace, aren’t too far away so she tries to see them whenever she can as well. Her travels with Jess and Grace have taken her to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Portugal.

“There are not many girls my age in the racing industry and I met them through horse racing, so it’s great that we have that in common.”

Of course, as Sarah and her father share a special bond over racing, they spend a lot of time going to the races. They also enjoy watching Dublin in the GAA, Gaelic Athletic Association, matches. Both of Sarah’s parents have helped her to become the person she is today.

“My dad is my mentor in life and has taught me everything I know about racing. My mam is my inspiration and she always pushes me to be the best person I can be and to always dive into everything I do and give everything 100%. I would be lost without my parents. They are the reason I am successful today.”

Sarah’s love for greyhound racing shines through in her work and conversation. Check her out on Twitter @SarahKinsella3. She provided so many great details of the greyhound racing industry in Ireland that we will continue our blog spotlight on Sarah, so stay tuned for part two next week!

Blog Spotlight: Irish Greyhound Derby

The following is written by George Quinn of Greyhound News. You may know him from his blog or his twitter page. George recently visited Ireland to experience one of the biggest events in international Greyhound Racing: the Irish Greyhound Derby at Shelbourne Park. Mr. Quinn was nice enough to write up his thoughts and allow us to feature them in our blog for everyone to enjoy.

2017 Irish Greyhound Derby Final at Shelbourne Park:
My fourth and final night at Shelbourne Park started earlier than the others. It was time for the “big” night and I wanted to get the full experience. Just a 15 minute walk from my hotel, I arrived at 4pm to collect my ticket and enter the stadium. Live music was scattered throughout the building starting at 4:30pm to entertain early arriving patrons like myself. As I wandered around the different levels, employees were feverishly putting

“As I wandered around the different levels, employees were feverishly putting on the finishing touches to an already immaculately staged venue.”

Judging by the amount of employees, this was going to be a busy night and it was time to think ahead. I grabbed a bite to eat in the food hall and started making my selections for the night. Next it was time to pick up a set of rosettes commemorating each of the derby finalists. All proceeds benefited the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust, 30£ well spent. Favorites Sonic and Good News sold out early with only a few of the others left towards the end of the night.

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Rosettes of Finalists in the Derby

With the crowd swelling, it was 7pm and time to place my bets. At Shelbourne Park you have 2 options, betting with the tote (like U.S.) or betting in the ring (bookie) with fixed odds. The dining experience is a big part of racing at Shelbourne Park, you can wager via table-side Tote service.

“On this night, betting in the ring reminded me of images from the floor at the New York Stock Exchange on a busy day.”

Wagering in Ireland is a little different from the U.S. since there are only 6 greyhounds per race. Wagers include: Win, Place, Forecast (Exacta), Trio (Trifecta), Pick 4, and Pick 6. *all 1£ minimum

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The Crowd at the Derby

It’s 7:20pm, time for the off (post time) of Race 1. No slot machines, no poker and no simulcast wagering to preoccupy patrons.

“Over 5,000 people in one place to watch greyhound racing! That was the scene for the Irish Greyhound Derby Final night.”

Similar to the finals of Southland Park’s Festival of Stakes, the race card is chock-full of top grade races from beginning to end. With the buzz increasing in the stadium after each race, ComeTwoPass takes the Derby Plate Final in Race 7 (basically a derby consolation with multiple rounds) and we’re on to the 2017 Irish Greyhound Derby Final!

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Ready to Take Off!

Greyhounds are on parade for Race 8 and Shelbourne Park is electric! After being placed in traps (boxes), the customary deafening roar of the crowd starts as the hare goes into motion. As we all know by now, Good News cleared the first bend (turn) and never looked back holding off Black Farren who finished second. In 29.37 seconds it was over, the crowd was crazy as Good News made his way past my spot on the rail to a very large group of connections in the infield waiting for the new champion.

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The Champ, Good News!

Since I only got into greyhound racing in 2004, I was never able to experience the heyday in the United States. Now I know how it might have been at Hollywood, Wonderland, Flagler, Raynham and others for their most prestigious races. If you love greyhound racing, the Irish Greyhound Derby Final needs to be on top of your bucket list.

We want to thank George Quinn for sharing his experience with us – we felt that much closer to the action! We always appreciate the work George does to better the greyhound racing industry, through his tireless efforts on social media and patronage of the tracks.

Blog Spotlight: Paul Wheeler

Paul first became interested in greyhound racing after his friends dragged him to Hinsdale Greyhound Park in 1980. Little did Paul know that he would fall in love with the sport. So much so that Paul ended up getting involved with the greyhound racing industry by racing greyhounds with his father-in-law, Ed Piziak.

Having owned 30 greyhounds over the years, each one has provided a learning experience for Paul and Ed. Paul got his first greyhound from a farm and just tried to “w it.” He waited and watched the whole 18 month process of training only to find that the greyhound didn’t have the right temperament for the track.

Those experiences have made them knowledgeable in the racing industry. Striking up a professional relationship with Monte Jacobs has been a great decision for Paul and Ed. When they first purchased a hound from Monte, he said that the pup would “make Southland or he would come and get him himself.”

“I just loved Monte’s passion and his honesty”

Sure enough, Ernie McCracken was a great AA racer at Southland. Monte evaluates greyhounds really well, and knows where they will perform best and how well they will race, which has helped Paul and Ed place their dogs at tracks and keep them there without shipping them all over. Monte’s passion and talent have led to a wonderful professional relationship with Paul and Ed. They now, exclusively make purchases with Monte.

Though greyhound racing is more of a hobby for Paul and Ed, that doesn’t mean that they are not competitive. Paul and Ed have raced impressive hounds, some of which that have stood out in their eyes more than others. Not surprisingly, All-American Kinda Cruel Red is one of the best they’ve owned so far.

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Kinda Cruel Red Post Parade at Wheeling Island

Kinda Cruel Red took second in the 2015 Daytona 550 and has been a stakes finalist multiple times. He continues to tear up the track at Wheeling with 13 Wins, 7 Places, and 4 Shows out of 32 starts this season. Paul also mentioned All Hail Eddie, Aye Doctor Run, Wayne Cleary, and Ernie McCracken as other notable greyhounds they have raced.

“Kinda Cruel Red’s first schooling race gave me chills… I knew then we had a very special greyhound”

Paul and Ed’s Wayne Cleary (Who is Kinda Cruel Red’s brother!) has also been racing well in AA at Wheeling. Having recently returned to racing after an injury, he has managed to rack up 10 wins, 5 Places, and 4 Shows out of 30 starts this season. It is always exciting to see a hound perform so well after an injury. He has even made the United Greyhound Racing’s top 25 list from July 5th through September 4th! Monte said he’s only worked with two or so dogs who have come back from an injury with this kind of success.

Paul loves the thrill of the sport, but his favorite part of greyhound racing has been enjoying retired racers as pets. Each retired greyhound Paul has owned has enriched his and his family’s lives. Paul and Ed’s racer, All Hail Eddie, ended up coming home with Paul after his racing career, which was one of the best decisions Paul had ever made.

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AllHailEddie and Hailee’s Girl

“Eddie was a tremendous pet and funny and loving. He gave more to us than he did on the track”

Hailee’s Girl also made her way into Paul’s home and heart. She was from a litter they owned and they were offered a chance to breed her, but Paul declined and decided to keep her. Noting this as the best greyhound decision he has made yet.

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Hailee’s Girl

“She’s the most intelligent dog I’ve ever owned… She’s intelligent, fun, and part of the family”

 

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Hailee’s Girl Being Silly

 

Both All Hail Eddie and Hailee’s Girl have made huge impressions on Paul’s family after their racing careers ended. We here at Greyhound Channel respect Paul and Ed for their humility and their contributions to our Industry. We have enjoyed getting to know Paul and his family and look forward to seeing continued successes from Kinda Cruel Red and Wayne Cleary!

This Week With The Professor: Evaluating Early Speed

In my opinion, the most important factor in greyhound handicapping is being able to decipher who is going to make the lead in a particular race. The reason this is so important is that, if you look at results charts, you will see the leader of the race will finish first or second in the major majority of the races. So, that being said, how do you evaluate who is the fastest greyhound in any race?

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There are a number of factors to take into consideration. One is the post position. Does the dog like to run from the post he is in? You can evaluate this by looking back at the performance of the dog in previous races from this post, or close to this post.

Second, how many times has the dog made the lead in his last six races, and did he make the lead in this grade or a lower grade? For example, a greyhound may have made the lead in three or four of his last races, but won his last race, so now he or she must be able to outrun dogs in a higher grade. The reverse is also true. The greyhound may not have been able to make the lead in a higher grade, but is now dropping, hence running against dogs that are not as fast to the turn.

Can a particular dog make the lead in a race with other speed dogs or do they need a race with less early speed to get clear? Don’t be fooled into thinking a particular greyhound is now quick to the turn because he or she made the lead in a race. The race may have been lacking early speed and the dog made the lead because of that. If you utilize these tools, you will be able to identify the true early speed hounds from the counterfeit ones.

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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! Tune into our podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel, for news and more greyt tips from The Professor.