The Week with The Professor: Grade Theory Q & A

TP-Q&A

Last time, The Professor discussed the influences of race distances on greyhound running styles, and gave us good tips to remember when handicapping.

We received a great question from Pete T. who asked, “I generally handicap by grade first, and I read somewhere that the higher the grade, the wider the ability gap between grades. For instance, according to this theory, it would be easier for a greyhound to move from D to C than from B to A. Do you agree with this theory, and if so, how does it affect your grade handicapping? Thanks!

Thanks for asking, Pete! Let’s check in with The Professor for his thoughts.

Good question! Pete, I do agree with this theory. I believe that the higher the grade, the more difficult it is for the greyhound to succeed in that higher grade.

The difference between grade D and C is not as large as the difference between grade B and A. You regularly see greyhounds moving from D to C and finding success, but less regularly doing well when going from C to B grades.

I have found that the biggest difference in talent and success is between grade B and grade A. Hounds that are solid in B struggle mightily when raised to A. The greyhounds that are what we call solid A dogs will consistently run in the money in that grade and usually win right away when they drop to B.

This is especially noticeable when a pup goes up the ladder quickly and then runs in grade A. It takes an exceptionally talented pup to succeed in A right away. It usually takes some time for them to adjust to the speed of those greyhounds.

I would say that this is a major factor when I handicap, and have made some nice scores by beating a hot pup who will always be overbet when reaching grade A.

 

Thanks for your question, Pete! Do you have a question for The Professor? Leave a comment below and you could be like Pete and receive a $2 wagering credit to your Greyhound Channel account if your question is featured!

For more greyt tips, tricks, and handicapping knowledge, be sure to tune in to our podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel!

 

 

HUSKER MAGIC: Retired!

The official word came out on Wednesday, June 22nd: HUSKER MAGIC has retired! She finished her career with 105 wins out of 167 starts. She was on a 5 win streak before announcing retirement.

We have had the privilege of reporting on Derby Lane’s Darling Diva many times. Her career accomplishments are impressive: she was the 2015 Rural Rube Award recipient. She was the captain of the 2015 AGTOA All-America Team. She was the winner of the 2015 Daytona 550 (2nd 2016), 2015 Derby Lane Sprint Classic, and 2016 T. L. Weaver Memorial. She was 2nd in 2014 for Derby Lane’s Gold Trophy Juvenile, 2015 Inaugural, and T. L. Weaver Memorial. She was 3rd in Derby Lane’s 2014 Fall Sprint.

Husker-Yellow-Blanket

Don Jensen of the Tampa Bay Times wrote a dedication to HUSKER MAGIC:

“Husker Magic, who won 105 races from 167 starts — the only Derby Lane dog in history with at least 100 victories— was retired from racing Wednesday, kennel owner Jim Abernathy said. She ranks tied for 33rd on the sport’s all-time win list. The female is expected to spend several months at the Abernathy residence in St. Petersburg before going to Grapevine, Ark., to begin a breeding career.”

We’re proud of her because the Blonde Bombshell is retiring at the top of her game.  Congratulations to HUSKER MAGIC; she has had a truly historic racing career and we feel lucky to have had the opportunity to share her accomplishments so often.

HuskerMagic-Cooling-Pool-GHC-Hat
HUSKER MAGIC keeps it cool in her cooling pool. Photo courtesy of Kayruth Abernathy.

Wednesday Wisdom: The Heart of Racing

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom brings you a fact about greyhounds! With help from our friends at Greyhound Facts, we hope to help expand your greyhound racing knowledge, whether you are an experienced greyhound racing spectator or are new to the sport.

Did you know a greyhound’s heart is typically much larger than the hearts of other dog breeds? This is partly due to genetics as greyhounds generally have larger hearts in overall size. Their heart walls can also thicken due to their athleticism, which is a phenomenon that occurs in marathon runners as well. Similarly to other muscles in the body, the heart can thicken and get larger when it is worked hard. This occurs so that the heart can pump larger amounts of oxygenated blood to muscles, which is important because muscles need oxygen to work effectively.

Bandit_Heart

Not only is the size of a greyhound’s heart different from other dogs, but greyhounds’ heart rates are also slower than other pups. Dogs can have a resting heart rate of 60-140 beats per minute. Greyhounds fall on the lowest end of the spectrum with a resting heart rate of 60-90 beats per minute. Greyhounds have a low heart rate because their large hearts are able to pump more blood per beat to their muscles.

At the heart of the matter, the heart plays a crucial role in physical exertion. Because of the large size of a greyhound’s heart, we can begin to understand why greyhounds are such excellent athletes and one of the fastest land mammals.

 

GreyhoundFactsLogo_Web

Greyhound Facts is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Their mission is to provide a place to learn about all aspects of present day greyhound racing in the USA from those with hands on experience. Their network of volunteers includes people who are actively involved in the breeding, raising, training, and rehoming of these wonderful hounds, as well as those who adopt them. To find out more, visit: http://www.greyhoundfacts.org/.

Do you have suggestions or questions you would like answered? Let us know in the comments section!

2015 All-America Team: Where Are They Now?

It’s been four months since the AGTOA announced their 2015 All-America Team! We have enjoyed following the progress of the first team’s eight pups. Most of the first team pups have continued on to racing greatness; a few have chosen to retire.

These eight greyhound athletes were honored during the NGA’s 2016 Spring Meet held in Abilene, Kansas in April, where they celebrated their 2015 achievements. It has been a pleasure to follow their racing stories. Where are they now? Let’s find out!

HuskerMagic100WinsBlanket

Derby Lane’s Darling Diva, Husker Magic, has certainly owned up to her Team Captain title of the 2015 All-America Team. Since she was announced team captain, Husker Magic has racked up 104 career wins, an accomplishment managed only by the best of the best of greyhound racing and put her as 34th on The All Time Wins List. She was also announced the Rural Rube winner for 2015 in March of this year. On June 4th, the Blonde Bombshell won Derby Lane’s T. L. Weaver Memorial Challenge, adding another title to her already impressive resume. With no signs of Husker Magic slowing down, we look forward to watching her continue to work her magic on the track.

FlyingFiredUp

Flying Fired Up has seen continued success at Southland. He’s remained competitive through the S, SA, and AA grades with consistent in-the-money races. Flying Fired Up is currently on layoff due to a minor injury. We look forward to seeing him come back into action once he’s recovered.

NeedMyMoneynow

Previously the star at Gulf Greyhound Park, Need My Moneynow has adjusted nicely at Orange Park. Consistently finishing in the money, he has 14 wins and 5 places out of 19 starts since March 18th. Need My Moneynow also added bestbet’s $1,500 Sweet Sixteen title to his resume in March. He is currently on a 4 win streak and we will be cheering him next time he races to make that a 5 win streak.

BsHeadliner

As both an excellent sprinter and long distance runner, B’s Headliner was nominated for both 2015 sprint and distance awards: the Rural Rube and Flashy Sir. Being nominated for both awards is a feat only few greyhounds achieve. B’s Headliner retired in February of this year to dam in Abilene, Kansas. We wish her the best in her retirement.

SeldomTold

After the closure of Gulf Greyhound Park, Seldom Told moved to Orange Park, where he adapted to the track very quickly. “Seldomly” does he not win, finishing first in 49 out of 66 starts, 10 of which have been out of his total 12 races at Orange Park. We last saw him running in the James J. Patton Silver Cup in March, winning the first round and placing in the second, but he had to withdraw from the stakes due to an injured toe. Seldom Told has spent the last few months nursing his injury, but he’s ready to return to the track. He’s scheduled for a schooling race on Monday, June 20th at Orange Park. D. Q. Williams Kennel hopes to have him entered in the upcoming bestbet Spring Classic. With Seldom Told’s consistent first place streaks, we can’t wait to see him tearing up the track again.

BocsHankJr

After the closure of Bluffs Run, Boc’s Hank Jr moved to Southland where he has been racing since March of this year. He recently had a three win streak in May and has settled in nicely at Southland, where he is currently participating in the $50,000 Southland Derby. Watch this pup for more exciting racing action!

HighlyClassified

Highlyclassified earned the Flashy Sir award this year in March, one month after the announcement that he was on the All-America first team. Since then, he has continued to race at Derby Lane and will run in the $40,000 St. Petersburg Derby, with round 1 kicking off tomorrow, June 18th. After the St. Petersburg Derby, Highlyclassifed will retire to Kansas where he will stand as a stud, not surprising with his impressive resume. We wish Highlyclassified all the best in his future retirement.

StormControl

In April of 2015, Storm Control retired due to an injury, but that didn’t stop this greyhound from making the All-America first team. While this may seem surprising, you wouldn’t think so once you checked out his impressive racing history. In those 3 short months in 2015, Storm Control had finished first 18 of 28 starts at Palm Beach, winning the 2015 He’s My Man and the 2015 Arthur J. Rooney Sr. St. Patrick’s Invitational. We look forward to seeing his lineage on the racetrack.

Whether on hiatus, retirement, breeding, or racking up the wins at their racetracks, the Greyt Eight are still on our “watch” list. We anticipate seeing even more exciting feats from these pups through the rest of the year. Thanks to the greyhound owners, kennels, and tracks for hosting these athletes.

We look forward to seeing what the future holds for these hounds and the next generation of racers. Who will be on AGTOA’s 2016 All-America teams? Only time will tell.

This Week with The Professor: Distance Changes

This week, we check in with The Professor for some tips on how the distance of the race and the running style of the greyhound are related.

Today,  we will discuss how to handle greyhounds changing distances. When a greyhound is changing distances,  there are several possible reasons. They may be running short races and closing well, but not getting up in time. They may be breaking well, but not carrying their speed enough to clear the turn in a sprint. The reverse would be a greyhound that has been running longer races and getting tired, needs freshening,  or a new distance all together.

So what does all this mean?

dog_question

First, let me say that it is a risky proposition to play a dog that has never run a distance race in their first start at that longer distance. Not necessarily because they cannot run longer, but because they are used to running around two turns and the added turn can cause confusion.

I would let them have a start and see how they do, then evaluate their chances as they tend to improve greatly that second start. This can be a great value play. In regard to distance hounds going back to shorter races, that is not usually a problem as all dogs start their career running shorter races.

What to look for is how much early speed they have in the shorter races (and previous efforts in the sprint races) to evaluate their chances in that shorter race. Be wary, though, as some trainers are just giving the dog a couple of races to maybe get downgraded and get a short rest without taking them off the track completely. Also, don’t be fooled by thinking that the distance greyhounds are going to show that kind of speed against sprinters, who are generally faster early.

 

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 in to our new podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel, for news and more greyt tips from The Professor.

The Belmont Stakes & You

belmont_stakes

Did you know that you can bet the last jewel of the Triple Crown with us? As you sit down to handicap for the big festival of racing, do you know the full history behind the Belmont Stakes?

Imagine the year’s biggest horse racing events as a fancy, royal crown you can wear on your head. The Triple Crown has three spots for brilliant jewels: the first jewel is the Kentucky Derby. The second jewel is the Preakness. The third and final jewel is the Belmont Stakes. These elite horse racing days truly bring the best of the best–horse racing royalty. This year’s Belmont Stakes is no exception as the racing field is full of well-known contenders. The morning line favorite is Exaggerator (Jockey: Kent Desormeaux / Owner: Big Chief Racing, LLC / Trainer: J. Keith Desormeaux) at 9/5 odds.

Even though the Belmont is the third jewel in the Triple Crown and happens last in the horse racing extravaganza, it’s actually one of the oldest stakes races in North America. It’s also the oldest of the Triple Crown events: the Belmont Stakes first ran in 1867, the  Preakness in 1873, and the Kentucky Derby in 1875.

The tradition of betting the Belmont first started in 1867 thanks to the son of a 19th century banker and racing enthusiast. The banker, named August Belmont Sr, passed along his money and love for the sport to his son, August Jr. Among other things, August Jr. went on to be the chairman of the Jockey Club for 30 years, founded Belmont Park, and was the head of New York’s first Racing Commission.

The winner of the Belmont Stakes is the recipient of not just prestige, fame, and airtime on NBC, but also some fabulous gifts from Belmont Park. The winner is draped in the iconic Belmont Stakes white carnation blanket, which is made up of over 700 single carnations. The white carnations represent love and luck, and as such, are the traditional flower of the Belmont Stakes. The winner also gets to take home the awe-inspiring Belmont Trophy.

Known as the August Belmont Memorial Cup, it was first presented by the Belmont Family in 1926 to that year’s winner, Crusader. Each year that trophy is handed down to the next winner. The winning owner, trainer, and jockey receive a silver miniature Belmont Trophy.

BelmontCupTrophy
Jockey Mike Smith receiving the Belmont Cup after his win with Palace Malice, 2013. Photo courtesy of Belmont Stakes.

Specially crafted by Tiffany & Co, the trophy is a gorgeous silver bowl and cover with some distinctive features which set it apart from every other trophy out there. On the top of the trophy’s cover is a figure of the 1869 Belmont Stakes winner, Fenian, who was rode to glory by August Belmont himself. The cover sits on top of the bowl. Underneath it, the bowl is supported by three silver horses. These silver figures represent Herod, Eclipse, and Matchem; the three grandsons of the historic forefathers of thoroughbred racing.

These three horses pay homage to the three thoroughbred stallion grandfathers: Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian, and Godolphin Arabian. It’s said all thoroughbreds descend from these three bloodlines. From the three horses represented on the Cup, the lineage of Eclipse is predominant in the modern thoroughbred.

This weekend will be one to remember! Join in the excitement of the Belmont Stakes festival of races by taking advantage of our 10% Belmont Deposit promotion! Make a minimum deposit of $50.00 on Saturday, June 11th and you’ll receive a special 10% bonus (up to $50.00). After you’ve made your deposit, enter promotional code BELMONT into your account to receive your bonus same day. Remember, this promotion is good for ONE transaction only and you’ll need to wager the entire bonus and deposit before you may withdraw funds.

BelmontEpisode

Staying in the Belmont spirit, we published a very special Belmont Stakes podcast episode in this week’s installment of Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel! After checking in with greyhound current events and promotions, Alicia and Katie sat down with The Professor to glean tips and other insights on the Belmont Stakes. They learned quite a bit!

The Professor discussed his favorite Belmont Throwback experiences which included watching Secretariat, and also the memories of Affirmed boxing out Alydar in all three 1978 Triple Crown races. Before American Pharoah earned his Triple Crown bragging rights last year, Affirmed was the previous champion who most recently won the Triple Crown.

Do you have any favorite experiences or memories of the Belmont Stakes? We’d love to hear them! Share your experiences with us by replying to our Twitter and Facebook posts regarding the Belmont Throwback and you’ll be entered to win one of our two American Pharoah t-shirts!

Belmont-ThrowBack

And don’t forget: the main event this weekend is to have a good time! We have all of the Belmont Stakes action; this is your chance to be included in this year’s Belmont Stakes legacy! Place your wagers online or with one of our friendly wagering representatives.

Greyhound Genetics

GreyhoundGenetics

Greyhounds are bred for speed and athletic ability and are not limited to breeding simply for attractive coat and eye color combinations. Because of this, greyhounds can have a variety of coat and eye color combinations, some of which you may not see in other common dog breeds. Officially there are 18 colors of greyhound coats with a total of 55 variations available.

Greyhound_Color_Chart1
Image courtesy of Recycled Racers.

We know the pup’s coat and eye color depend on their parents; specifically, their genetics. There are three “main” greyhound colors: black, red brindle, and red. The greyhound receives one of these three genes from each of their parents, which is the basis for their coat color. Then, a gene modifier is passed down from both parents, which is what allows for the different coat variations.

One of the rarer genes passed down from greyhound parents to pup is the blue gene (a recessive modifier on the black gene). In order for a greyhound to have a blue coat or any variation of blue, the blue gene must be passed down by both parents. This unique gene makes blue greyhounds a rarity.

If you’re not familiar, “blue” is the term used when a greyhound has a gray coat.

Ethel-Is-Here
ETHEL IS HERE. Photo courtesy of Jeff Prince, Customer Service Manager at Palm Beach Kennel Club.

Recently in the racing spotlight, ETHEL IS HERE (TRENT LEE X J’S AIYSSA), is a beautiful blue greyhound. Her sire TRENT LEE is a black pup and dam J’S AIYSSA is blue.

Greyhound_Trent_Lee-big
TRENT LEE. Image courtesy of Greyhound Data.

TRENT LEE (BRETT LEE X SAN TAN GEM) has sired 3,860 puppies, of which 337 (8.7%) are blue. Interestingly, TRENT LEE’s sire and dam were both black. From this information, we know TRENT LEE passes down the blue recessive gene modifer, which is something he received both from his sire and dam. The same goes for J’S AIYSSA’s dam and sire, since she herself is blue.

Without going into the finer points of genetics, it makes us wonder what ETHEL IS HERE’s litter coloring would be. This hypothetical litter would depend on the sire, too, of course.

Speculation aside, the sire statistics can tell us one thing: greyhounds’ coat and eye color are not factors when it comes to racing. We were unable to find any scientific indicators that link a pup’s athletic prowess directly to the color of their eyes, or coat. However, we did find several articles on the science of greyhound genetics and would like to share with you one of our favorites.

We perused Greyhound Articles Online, a resource full of greyhound-related articles. The article on the subject of coat coloring was incredibly interesting and it related all of the genetic science, too. If you get a free moment, we encourage you to check it out here: Rainbow Colors – Rainbow Greyhounds. This article first appeared in the Spring 1999 issue of Celebrating Greyhounds Magazine and was written by Patricia Gail Burnham.

As breed enthusiasts, we can fawn (no pun intended) over our favorite colored pups. At the end of the day, we know that all greyhounds have one thing in common: they love to run.

 

Be sure to check out the greyt resource, Greyhound Articles Online. GAO is home to seemingly endless articles written by well-known folks in the field, spanning through many years. They host material from many greyhound-related publications (with permission, of course). Thanks also to Greyhound Data for all of the photos and information on greyhound lineage and sire statistics.