Contest of Champions- 2015

We agree with our customers: the Track of the Week Saturday Handicapping Contest is one of our favorite promotions! The Saturday Handicapping Contest is offered every single Saturday throughout the year, spotlighting different greyhound tracks each week and inviting our customers to participate in the free handicapping contest for their chance to win up to $200! For this week’s 1/30/16 Track of the Week Handicapping Contest, we’ll be playing at Derby Lane! Enter this week’s Contest here for your chance to win up to $200!

The Professor has been putting on this handicapping contest since 2011. Every Saturday we watch the greyhound races and cheer on our contest participants. The winner is announced on Sunday morning and receives $100 credited to their wagering account. Not to be left out, the top five finishers receive Greyhound Channel Contest Points to their Greyhound Channel Contest site account, to be used to redeem for #greyt merchandise and wagering credits. We post the handicapping contest results to Greyhound Channel, and also our Facebook and Twitter pages because we’re impressed by our customers’ handicapping skills.

Saturday’s winner is then invited back to participate in the head-to-head Handicapping Challenge the following Monday. We pit the winner up against The Professor: he’s one of our dedicated in-house handicappers and authors the biweekly Greyhound Channel Blog series This Week with The Professor. Always a gentleman, The Professor allows the Saturday Winner to have first-pick to choose their greyhound to win the race, then he makes a pick. If the Saturday Winner’s choice finishes ahead of The Professor’s selection, they are declared the winner of the challenge and receive an additional $100!

The Saturday Handicapping Contest Winner from each week is recorded. At the end of the year, The Professor invites all of the weekly winners to participate in the Contest of Champions.

The Professor has been putting on this free contest for several years. Our first Contest of Champions was held back in early 2012 for the 2011 Track of the Week Saturday Handicapping Contest winners. Each year, the Contest of Champions is held at a different track and is only open to those previous year’s Track of the Week Saturday Handicapping Contest winners.

This year’s 2015 Contest of Champions will be using the night program at bestbet on February 6, 2016. And the #greyt thing about the Contest of Champions? Not only is the first-place prize pretty sweet ($250 credited to the winner’s Greyhound Channel account), but as something new this year and courtesy of bestbet, the first five finishers will receive a prize pack!

Are you a Champion? Be sure to check your email (including your spam and junk boxes) as eligible account holders will be notified via the email address on file in their Greyhound Channel account if they are eligible to compete in the 2015 Contest of Champions. (Note: if the email address is invalid, eligible customers must contact syoung@usofftrack.com with their new email address.)

Check out our Greyhound Channel Contest Site for the rules and further information on the Contest of Champions.

This Week with The Professor: Moving Back Down

Now that we know a little bit more about identifying pups who move up, The Professor wanted to mention when a greyhound drops grades too fast. Are these good bets? It’s a little more complicated. So Professor, are double grade drops a good bet?

Probably not, with a couple of exceptions. The reason the greyhound is dropping is because he or she is off form because of old age, fatigue or minor injuries. It is never a good idea to bet a hound that is off form.

One exception is a young pup who went up the ladder quickly and was not ready to compete at a higher level, they can return to form quickly. Another thing to watch for is a 7-10 day rest. The trainer has taken time to rest the dog and work with him or her, and they may be ready to return to the form that took them to a higher grade.

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!

Spotlight: New Year Survey Responses

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As 2015 ushered in 2016, we became introspective. While we don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions (ice cream tastes way too good!), we thought we could at least reflect on 2015 and set the bar higher for 2016. Sometimes, it can be difficult to see what’s right in front of you. We wanted to get a fresh perspective from people we care about so we turned to our customers for feedback.

We created a survey asking questions about our 2015 promotions. Over the course of two weeks, we had 146 participants take a moment out of their day to send us feedback. As we appreciate our customers taking time out of their busy lives to let us know how we’re doing, we thought it’d only be fair to share the survey results with everyone.

Questions 1 & 2: What was your favorite promotion or contest from 2015? Why was that promotion or contest your favorite?

We had over 30% of people say their favorite promotion was our Track of the Week Handicapping Contest. It’s one of our favorites, too, especially when our customers have the weekly chance to win up to $200–free! We had folks say their second most favorite promotion of 2015 was our 10% Deposit Bonus. Understandably, 58% of our customers said it was the prize or bonus that made our promotions engaging. The level of difficulty was also a big reason for people, as it came in with 18% of survey responses.

Question 3: How do you hear about our promotions and contests?

This question was very interesting for us because we promote our contests on many different platforms. You can always get the latest and #greyt-est news from the promotional banners and the promotions link on Greyhound Channel; our Greyhound Channel Contest site; our Facebook and Twitter accounts; by calling us and listening to our phone recording or speaking with a Greyhound Channel Customer Service Representative; signing up for and receiving our promotional emails and newsletter, the Inside Lure; or by word of mouth from a friend, family member, or promotional advertisement at your favorite greyhound track.

Over 68% of respondents selected they learn about new promotions and contests by visiting Greyhound Channel directly. Of that 68%, 36% of our survey responses said they learn about our contests and promotions by the promotional banners posted daily and 32% said they utilize the promotions link via Greyhound Channel.

Questions 4 & 5: Do you have a Twitter or Facebook? Would you be willing to create a Twitter or Facebook account to participate in our promotions or contests?

The majority (58%) of our survey-takers said they had some form of social media account. A total of 61% of folks were receptive to the idea of creating a Twitter or Facebook account just to connect with us–wow! That makes us feel pretty special. 🙂

Question 6: Do you have any additional feedback you would like to share?

This question was purposefully designed to be open-ended because we wanted truthful answers from our customers. The responses were overwhelmingly positive. Our Greyhound Channel Customer Service Representatives were praised several times for their level of professionalism, knowledge, and kindness. Folks provided additional information about their favorite promotions and why they liked them so much, which was great. We received a few ideas for new promotions, which is exciting for us as we plan to brainstorm new promotions for the coming year.

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Your comments and feedback were incredibly positive and we appreciated everyone taking a moment to help us reflect on 2015. Everyone who participated received a $2.00 wagering credit to their Greyhound Channel account and on the final day of the survey, we randomly selected Jeremiah W. from over 145 survey respondents to receive the $25.00 Survey Prize!

We’ve unpacked the survey questions and posted your feedback. Now the real question is, what do we plan on doing with the information? What does that mean for our customers?

It means we will continue to be as dedicated to you now as we were on our first day of business back in 2000. We pledge to bring you even more new and dynamic content for 2016. We have taken your feedback and are in the process of creating promotions to entice and challenge our customers. We plan to build on our popular promotions, such as the Track of the Week Handicapping Challenge and the daily Paydog Pick of the Day (PPOD), to offer more options and greater rewards for all.

 

Don’t forget your favorite weekly promotion, our Track of the Week Handicapping Contest, is coming up tomorrow at Naples Park! Be sure to play for your chance at a free $200.00!

Spotlight: Retired Wonder-hound Fernando Bale

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FERNANDO BALE retired to Meticulous Lodge in Devon Meadows, Victoria, Australia on December 18th, 2015.

It is surprising to see how much of an audience he has on social media. Each race day, #FlyingFernando and #FernandoBale were trending topics on Twitter. Today, they’re still popular. The enthusiasm and support from racing fans all around the world is obvious, even today. From well-wishes to the newly retired athlete to nostalgia for his first races almost a year ago, FERNANDO BALE was and will forever be a sensation in the world of greyhound racing.

Owned by Paul Wheeler and trained by Andrea and Tom Dailly, Australia’s FERNANDO BALE (US-bred KELSOS FUSILEER X AUS-bred CHLOE ALLEN) began his career in December 2014. He broke maiden in his third career start at The Meadows Park in Victoria, Australia and became the hot dog newcomer to the Victoria, Australia iditarod. Quickly he moved on from newcomer status to run at the head of the pack.

After a jaw-dropping victory in the Group 1 Adelaide Cup (515m) at Angle Park in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia on October 2nd, 2015, the dapper white and dark brindle male was the world’s first greyhound ever to win over $1 million in racing prize money. Check out the race, below:

While some argue he’s the greatest greyhound athlete of all time, none can dispute he breathed new life into greyhound racing. Fernando gained fans all over the world with his calm track presence and early speed.

And get this: the win from October 2nd was Fernando’s 31st victory. He totaled 35 victories with a record of 35-3-2 from 44 starts. In a career held only over 12 months, he broke records everywhere he went. Among other accolades, Fernando holds split records at the Victoria, Australia tracks of Sandown and The Meadows, as well as Wentworth Park (South Wales). He also holds track records at Traralgon and Bendigo (both in Victoria).

He has seen and done so much in his short career. During his last run, he suffered a slight back injury. At the ripe old age of only 33 months, FERNANDO BALE has been retired. While he flew around the racecourse, everyone flocked to watch the domineering youngster break old track records. #FlyingFernando, indeed!

We’re happy to report Fernando will soon begin stud duties at the picturesque Meticulous Lodge in Devon Meadows, Victoria, Australia. Cheers to FERNANDO BALE, Wheeler, Dailly, and all connections on such a short, though prolific, career.

 

Connect with FERNANDO BALE via his official website and on Facebook to learn more about this #greyt retired racer.

 

This Week with The Professor: Moving On Up

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We asked The Professor for tips on what to look for when searching for the next hot dog fresh from the maiden grade. Here’s what you should know when looking at pups who are moving up in class.

One of the most difficult things to assess is how pups will do when moving out of the maiden ranks to rise up the grading ladder.

Some outstanding pups will have no trouble moving up until they reach grade A, which is a dog of a different color, so to speak. Even the most outstanding pups will have trouble when reaching the top grade and are usually over-bet when they do. But I digress and will return to that later.

One way to discern what a pup will do when moving up is to look and see how other maidens have done after winning. This will vary greatly from track to track. At some tracks the pups are top notch and will be tough. At other tracks, not so much, and will find trouble against older hounds. Do your homework and it will pay off.

Back to pups who have risen up the ladder quickly into grade A. My advice is to try and beat these pups, as they are ALWAYS over-bet and will frequently take some time to adjust to the top hounds. If they do beat you, take solace in that the payoff will be small; if you win, the payoff will be great.

 

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!

Spotlight: Farmer Racing, LLC.

John Farmer grew up in the Lents neighborhood of Portland, Oregon with his three brothers and three sisters. They were raised by full-time homemaker mother, Barbara, a Klamath Tribe member who wrote for the Portland Indian News, and father, Loren, of Black Feet descent and now retired Bureau of Indian Affairs Superintendent.

John wanted to be a professional athlete. As a youngster, he practically lived at Pals Boys Club located on gritty Southeast 92nd Avenue. He excelled in Little League baseball, track and field, and especially Pop Warner football. Proud of his Native American heritage, he was a finalist for the prestigious 1979-1980 Jim Thorpe award named in honor of one of the most versatile athletes in modern sports. While playing nose and offensive guard for Marshall High School’s football team, he was named “Most Aggressive and Best Defensive Player” and also wrote the “John Farmer Sports Almanac” column for the school newspaper.

When John was eleven years old, his mother never knew she would change his life forever when he watched greyhound races with her at Multnomah Greyhound Park in Wood Village, Oregon.

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John Farmer

John was smitten by a red fawn legend named P.L. GREER by S.S. GENO X COLONEL VICKEY (a back-to-back Flashy Sir award winner and 2015 Hall of Fame inductee raced by Dick Moran). Young John wrote to Mr. Moran asking permission to visit his farm and soon after, was riding his bicycle 26 miles round trip to Moran’s volunteering to help in the kennel to be close to his canine idol. To facilitate this marathon trek, 7th grade Lents Elementary School teacher and greyhound handicapper John Fappas dismissed Farmer at 1:00 pm every day allowing him to get a jump on kennel duties and schooling races.

In 1977 through 1979, John volunteered to work for Doug Manley Kennel where he honed kennel skills in between athletic events. Following high school graduation in 1984, he turned down a University of Oregon journalism scholarship to work with greyhounds in the John Allen Kennel from 1986 – 1993. Starting as a kennel helper to trainer Frank Sadulski, John received his trainer’s license in 1985 and eventually replaced Sadulski.

 

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John Farmer with MY CYCLONE

His first stake winner trainee was MY CYCLONE by HAIL THE CHEF X WP TOOTS, victor of Multnomah Greyhound Park’s Fawn Warrior Memorial. John was just warming up…

In 1987, he trained MY SUZY Q by TARGET X BONSAI, victor of the 1987 Palm Beach Derby and found a way to the reviewing stand again for the same race in the 1988 edition with MY UNRULY DAN by UNRULY X SUSIE YORK. In 1990, under Farmer’s care, BIG ALE STAR by BJ GENTLEMAN X BEAUTIFUL STAR set a 550 yard Palm Beach track record stopping the clock in 29.24 seconds.

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Multnomah Greyhound Park provided a 1991 homecoming venue for one of John’s most memorable victories in the Coors Superstar Invitational with CHESTY MARINE. The son of RK’s WALT WHIZ X EXETER GIRL left in his wake a field that boasted six All-American competitors including win machine, MI DESIGNER by K’s FLAK X PROUD TREAT.

 

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John Farmer and Family

From 1993 through 2013, John trained for a number of kennels before forming Farmer Racing, LLC in 2014 campaigning exclusively at Derby Lane. His oldest son, 23 year old Loren, used to assist in the kennel but now pursues an accounting degree at University of South Florida. John’s youngest son, 22 year old Sean, is his kennel co-owner and assistant trainer, and still finds time to study nursing at Schiller University in Largo, Florida.

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John Farmer with winner HKF CRAZY HORSE

Father and sons celebrated HIGHLYCLASSIFIED’s recent December 12, 2015 victory in Derby Lane’s $75,000.00 Holiday Distance Challenge. Hopes were high for the white and brindle son of KIOWA MON MANNY X CANTRELL to perform well at the 550 yards distance in the 2016 Inaugural Stakes on January 2nd, but was shut off in the first turn and finished seventh. Although a fan favorite, HIGHLYCLASSIFIED isn’t nearly as popular with kennel mates. As an ambitious, slightly skiddish alpha male, he must be turned out separately to avoid “stirring the pot” with pack members.

As an avid Seattle Seahawks fan, John Farmer must be looking forward to the return of Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch, hopefully back by Sunday, January 10th when Seattle squares off against the Minnesota Vikings in an attempt to secure a solid path to the Super Bowl Playoffs. An anticipated comeback in progress is that of Farmer Racing charge RCK BLAZEN FAST by red-hot sire DJAYS OCTANE X RCK ZANDRA. Off for four months, John is optimistic this young, red male distance specialist will return to grade A form soon, but it will take time and patience of which Farmer has plenty of. In the meantime, Greyhound Channel anxiously waits for HIGHLYCLASSFIED’s next start at 660 yards to show his best.

On Sunday, regardless of the out come, John Farmer and his roommate, a former professional athlete, will pull for the Seattle Seahawks and share some snacks in front of the television. STARZ JENKO, coached by Farmer to All-American status, a Rural Rube award, and a victory in the 2008 Mardi Gras World Classic, looks forward to watching the 2016 bowl games with his friend.

Thank You, Friends: A Farewell to Bluffs Run & Gulf Greyhound Park

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On May 30, 2014, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill (Senate File 2362) which allowed the casinos for the Iowa-based Bluffs Run and Iowa Greyhound Park Racetracks to dismiss the requirement to host live greyhound racing on site by offering a pay-out option over several years to the local greyhound racing connections who were co-located on casinos’ property. Per the bill, the casinos may still offer simultaneously telecast (simulcasting) horse and greyhound racing but are no longer required to host live racing.

Using the casino funds from the mandated pay-out option, Iowa Greyhound Park will resume live racing starting May 2016. Meanwhile, Bluffs Run’s last day of live greyhound racing was on December 18, 2015.

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Bluffs Run Greyhound Park opened in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1986. For nearly thirty years, people gathered at Bluffs Run to encourage a sport that rewards careful study and, ultimately, supported the community. Bluffs Run supported approximately 1,400 employees and an impressive community of greyhound racing fans.

Though the track is closed, we still have our memories of those exceptional greyhound athletes and the hard-working trainers, staff, and mutuels. We appreciate all of you and thank you for providing nearly 30 years of excitement. We are lucky to have been able to work with everyone and wish you the best.

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Just a few states away, Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque, Texas has seen some tough times. Gulf opened their doors in 1992 to a staggering crowd of greyhound racing enthusiasts. After weathering 23 years, Gulf announced they are pausing live racing, with an announced resume date.

Sally Briggs, the general manager of Gulf Greyhound Park, offered a statement to the Austin American-Statesman where she asserted the track’s closure. She pointed to a decline in the racing industry: Gulf Greyhound couldn’t compete with the other racetracks in surrounding states. In the same article, Texas Greyhound Association’s executive director Nick James stated Gulf Greyhound Park’s closing will result in eliminating approximately 250-300 jobs and 11 nearby kennels. Ms. Briggs said the greyhounds housed at the track will be sent to other states or go to adoption programs. Gulf has always provided adoption resources for their retired racers, so we are glad to know they are stepping up to make sure nobody is forgotten during this difficult time.

We have always enjoyed working with the folks over at Gulf Greyhound Park. We had the pleasure of developing a relationship with Ron Godfroy and John Paul Faour, hosts of Gulf’s Big Money Gambling Parimutuel Podcast.

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Ron, JP, and the staff of the Big Money Gambling Parimutuel Podcast are all stand up folks. They are hard working people with talent, integrity, and a sense of humor that made listening to their podcast something we looked forward to every week. We wish them and the Gulf Greyhound Park staff the best with their future endeavors and know they will continue to be successful, no matter where they go or do.

We at Greyhound Channel appreciate the racing staff and the greyt people at Bluffs and Gulf who have always been devoted to working tirelessly around the clock for the sport and these magnificent furry athletes. Thank you.

 

To find more information about the topics listed in our article, we recommend you check out the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission as well as the Iowa Greyhound Association. You can also read up on the bill (Senate File 2362) here.