This Week With The Professor: Handicapping Distance Races

Last week, The Professor answered David L’s question on Irish track’s pools and odds. This week, The Professor explains the keys to handicapping distance races. 

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 they are trying to catch are stronger than dogs on the lead in a sprint.dog_questionPost 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 who is positioned in the middle or even on the outside, if the inside dogs have little or no speed, and that hound can get on the lead, as some may eliminate that dog because he is not on the inside.


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.

Blog Spotlight: Penny Wick

In a previous blog article, we interviewed Penny Wick, of The Women of Greyhound Racing, to learn more about the wonderful organization and their fall auction. Proceeds consisted of $12,000 this year and went to the Lee Ann Foundation in Wheeling, West Virginia. Penny also brought home four greyhounds for adoption from Nationals. We asked Penny about her start and involvement in the greyhound racing industry. She provided us with greyt information that we are excited to pass on to you.

“We sponsored a main stake at Nationals and it was won by the fastest female of the meet! That was very special. PJ Hunt You Down, owned by Victor Jay Range or Paul P. Bitterman, sold in the auction to Tom Ferris for $41,000”

In 1991, my husband and I went to the Wisconsin Dells Greyhound Track. Racing had come to Wisconsin and we started hearing negative comments about the care of the dogs. I wanted to see for myself, and having spent most of my life on my grandparents’ and uncle’s farms, I felt I knew something about animal care. I saw happy, muscular dogs and was very impressed with these athletes. We then made the mistake of going to the adoption kennel. We immediately fell in love and adopted our first greyhound a week later.

Penny’s present foster dog, who she raised for 6 months of his life, SE Tali Cimarron. “His brother is SE Tali Sundance, present track record holder at NGA National track. Cim broke a hock at Derby Lane last April and is hoping for a forever home soon.”

That summer, at a golf outing, we met the owner of “racing” greyhounds. He said we had to go to Nationals if we wanted to learn about the industry. So, off we went. He gave me Gary Guccione’s books “Great Names” and some Greyhound Reviews and I read the whole 10 hours to Abilene, Kansas.

This picture is of Tali Venus, out of Red Ranger and Tali Seela, doing a Meet and Greet and resting. She was pre-adopted as a baby and Penny raised her.

The brood auction was a turning point. That’s what I knew I could do. I saved to buy a brood and we kept going to Nationals every Spring and Fall. In October of 1995, I bought Oshkosh Bet. She came in season in December and we drove in a blizzard to get her to Oklahoma to be bred. Our first litter of 10 came in March and the rest is history.

Penny’s first litter of pups in 1996, out of Chrisse’s Twelve and Oshkosh Bet. “10 little beauties that started us on this greyhound adventure.”

I fully understand the risks in raising animals and never wanted to be in the business full time. One litter a year is all I’ve done and, in recent years, have partnered and raised pups only through the summer months. I’m too old for winter work in Wisconsin any more! That’s the industry side. I have been an adoption volunteer since our first litter started retiring. I feel good knowing where most of my dogs have gone in retirement.

A litter Penny raised that was whelped in 1998. They were out of Wigwam Wag and Free Horsdoeurve. “I got lucky; they all looked at the right time.”


We would like to thank Penny Wick for speaking with us and providing such wonderful information on her involvement in the greyhound racing industry. 

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

This Week With The Professor: Q and A

Last Professor post, David L. asked, “Do our stateside wagers go into the pools in Ireland and affect the odds? When I was in Ireland I saw bookmakers all over, even in small towns. The USA has a population at least 60 times that of Ireland yet they have almost as many tracks as us. Another note regarding betting pools, are wagers made at Las Vegas sport books included in the pari-mutuel pools at the tracks? I’m sure if there was something to be gamed, smarter people than me would have already figured it out.” This week, the Professor answers the questions David L. asked.

All wagers placed through Greyhound Channel are co-mingled in the pools at the host track, even wagers made at the Irish tracks. Greyhound racing is a very popular sport in Ireland, with anywhere from 19-21 tracks active. About half of those are regulated by the Irish Greyhound Board, with the remaining owned and operated by private enterprise, but licensed by the Irish Greyhound Board. These racetracks offer patrons a choice of wagering into Pari-Mutuel pools, or betting through private bookmakers operating at the track.


There are currently 16 greyhound race tracks operating in six states in the U.S.A. Today, when you are wagering on greyhound races at racebooks at casinos, all wagers are co-mingled with the pools at the host track.

For a little background, when casinos started taking wagers on greyhound racing back in the late 1970’s, as with thoroughbred racing, they would “book” the win, place, and show wagers and set limits on the odds (Ex: 20-1 for a win, 10-1 for place, and 5-1 for show), and would also need supervisor approval for a wager if it was over $20.00. The casino would also offer “house Quinellas”, which was calculated by multiplying the win price by 1/2 of the Place price (Ex: $10.00 payoff to win by 2 , if the place price was $4.00 = $20.00). The practice of booking greyhounds was quickly changed as it was too easy for a sharp gambler to manipulate the smaller pools at the greyhound tracks, and the books were losing money. At that point, they stopped offering wagering on greyhounds. When the ability of the racebooks to co-mingle pools with the tracks started, casinos were taking wagers at some greyhound tracks again, with limits still in place for wagers, such as 500-1 on Trifectas, regardless of what the payout is at the track. These limits are still in place today. Also, large wagers at casinos still require supervisor approval, whether on greyhound racing or thoroughbred racing.

Thank you, David L., for the greyt questions and feedback!


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.

Blog Spotlight: Jan Vasquez and Racing PROud!

We recently reached out to Jan Vasquez, co-founder of Racing PROud and winner of Pup #2 from the NGA Fall Meet Pup Giveaway. The following is the exchange we had with Jan on the Pup Giveaway, her life, and the greyhound racing industry.

What prompted you to participate in the giveaway? 

I’ve been a full member of the National Greyhound Association (NGA) since 2012 when I purchased and registered my first two greyhound racers. Every October at the NGA Fall Nationals, one of the events is called the Pup Giveaway, a raffle which takes place during the Wednesday evening banquet. Three generous breeders each donate a pup (generally younger dogs not quite track-ready) for the Giveaway. The NGA inserts raffle tickets in their magazine, “The Greyhound Review”, and also sends each NGA member two books of tickets in the mail. Tickets are also sold the night of the banquet. While not all members send in their tickets, I have always done so, along with a donation check. This year I was incredibly lucky enough to have had my name drawn as a winner of the second dog. It was a shock, and my memory is a blur but I recall everyone at my table hooting and cheering!

In this picture: Lesley Ezkovich, Bob Crossland, and Jan Vasquez at the 2016 Fall Nationals banquet, which honored the Blanchard family.

Did you always want a racer?

No, I never much thought about it until 2012. I adopted my first greyhound, Minnie, in November of 2003. Prior to Minnie I had always had small dogs, particularly miniature poodles. Although a native of Buffalo, NY, I attended college in Arizona and lived there for approximately 15 years until 1990 – mostly in Tucson, but a few years in Yuma. Both cities had greyhound race tracks and my husband and I frequently attended races as a form of entertainment. I loved watching the dogs and admired those in the holding area waiting for their races. It never occurred to me that I might one day adopt one of those dogs, let alone OWN a racer. Fast forward to 2003 after we had moved back to Buffalo. Our beloved poodles had passed away a few years earlier and I often longed for another dog. On many occasions, I had seen greyhounds with their adoption groups at local malls, and I would always stop to pet and admire them. Even then it didn’t cross my mind to look into.

Jan Vasquez presenting Jim Blanchard with a check to the Florida Greyhound Association at the 2014 Fall Meet.

Fast forward to 2003, after we had moved back to Buffalo. Our beloved poodles had passed away a few years earlier and I often longed for another dog. On many occasions I had seen greyhounds with their adoption groups at local malls, and I would always stop to pet and admire them. Even then it didn’t cross my mind to look into adoption, until one day in October 2003 while Christmas shopping with my daughter, my sister, and two nieces. We were at a mall and there were greyhounds there. Naturally, I went to pet them, but this time I started asking questions. I left with an application and a sense of excitement. When I got home, I showed my husband the application and reiterated the information I had been given. He looked at the application, looked and me and said …. “NO.” I knew better than to make an issue of it so I didn’t press, but I was quite disappointed. Imagine my surprise and delight when the next morning my husband said to me … “Why don’t we look into it?” Within a month, we had our first greyhound pet, Minnie. She was a tiny, black girl who was exceptionally shy, and frankly it took a few months to warm up to her because she was so aloof, but she eventually stole my heart and she was the reason for my now obsession with all things greyhound.

Pictured from left to right: Crystal Marie Carroll, Jim Blanchard, Florida legislator Kevin Rader, Sarah Elizabeth Kettlewell, and B’s Graciebswift in her own Racing PROud dress. Jan said this was from “2015 when a large delegation of racing professionals went to Tallahassee to speak with legislators about greyhound racing.”

I became involved with the adoption group from which Minnie came, helping with meet and greets and home visits. The more I spent time with these activities, the more it became apparent that they were extremely against greyhound racing and made every effort to tell people how badly the dogs were treated, and how lucky they were to escape to rescue homes. I couldn’t bring myself to swallow these ideas, having attended races in Arizona and remembering happy, healthy looking dogs. So I stuck to telling people what awesome pets they were. I joined an internet forum called GreyTalk and was addicted within days. Everything one could possibly discuss about greyhounds could be found there – except information about racing. My curiosity got the best of me, however, so I began to research the racing industry outside of GreyTalk. To my dismay, everything I looked up on the internet pointed to cruel and inhumane treatment of racing greyhounds. Against my better judgment, I joined an internet sensation at the time called Facebook.

Finally, I was able to find and join a rather obscure Facebook group called Grey2K Lies. Here were actual people who owned, bred, and trained greyhounds. As I became more comfortable with what they were saying, I began “friending” several and following their postings. None of what I saw or read jived with what my adoption group was promoting. So I followed the advice of my newfound friends: come and see for yourself. So I did. I recruited my daughter as a traveling companion and we made the trip to Abilene, Kansas in May of 2012 with the express purpose of visiting greyhound farms. I contacted two Facebook friends who were working on farms at the time and arranged for visits to their respective places of employment. I was in love, I was hooked, and the seed had been planted. By October of 2012, I was arranging the purchase of my first two racers from Bob Crossland.

In August of 2014, Lesley Ezkovich and Jan Vasquez purchased a beautiful male puppy from Bob Crossland and officially registered him as Racing Proud, aka Mario. Jan said that they “had high hopes for him, but unfortunately, after a few starts, it was clear he would not be competetive and he was retired. Lesley also runs a very successful pro-racing group called It’s A Grey Area Greyhound Adoption. She placed Mario in a wonderful home and he is very much loved.” This picture is of Mario as a puppy.

Do you already have racers? 

The short answer is Yes. The longer version is that those first two racers were co-owned with Bob, as I didn’t have a clue about how it all worked. Thankfully, he was patient and helpful in getting the dogs raised, trained, and sent to a track in Florida. Unfortunately, these two turned out to be the worse racers in an otherwise impressive litter. One never even made it to official schooling. She just wasn’t all that interested. The other managed to hang on for several months, finally going to a low-level track where she ran about a dozen races, mostly coming in 7th or 8th. She managed one 2nd place, for which I received a purse check for $9.78. I was so proud of that check! But, she clearly was also not cut out to be a star and both of these girls are now living the life of luxury in their adoptive homes. I might mention that I could have brought both of them home, as their owner. However, I felt that my home and lifestyle were not conducive to a two-year-old active greyhound. I don’t have a place for a young dog to run regularly for maximum exercise, and my own lifestyle consisted of working full time and coming home to relax. On the other hand, my current senior retirees are a perfect fit.

Racing Proud, aka Mario, before one of his races.

After the first two racers, I’ve partnered with others to own five more racers. One was acquired half way through her racing career and she did very well. It was a breakeven situation. Two others were racing washouts and are now in adoptive homes. I have one boy, co-owned with a gentleman in Arizona, who is doing very well – Darx  Ida da Moon, aka Floyd. He is currently racing in Jacksonville, Florida, and we hope he will continue to do well. We also co-own a female out of the same dam. She is currently at a finishing farm in Abilene, KS and hopefully will be traveling in a few months to a track to get her career started.

Racing Proud, aka Mario, in retired life as a beloved pet.

What is your plan for the greyhound you won? Where is the greyhound now? Training or on their way to the track? 

The greyhound I won at the Fall Meet was an incredible and unexpected stroke of good
fortune. I met the gentleman who donated her, David Petzold, and we had several conversations during the meet. This dog, a female, is already 18 months old and has been fully trained/finished and is ready to head to a track. She had already been registered under the name P’s Betsy, and is currently at Mr. Petzold’s farm in Oklahoma. While at the meet, we transferred ownership and I have the gold sheet naming myself as her racing owner. As of now, the plan is for her to be on a hauler to Florida at the end of the month (October). I have arranged for a kennel to take her and she will start out at Sanford Orlando Kennel Club. This will be my first solo-owned racer and I hope she will have a long, successful career.

Is there anything you would like us to include regarding Racing PROud or your involvement in greyhound adoption?  

Racing PROud embroidered collars made by Kathy Ford. Jan mentioned that their “good friend, Bec Maier of GreytGlass ( makes all the [other] Racing PROud apparel and decals for us. We get a portion of each item sold for our Racing PROud kitty. Bec traveled from Indiana for the last two Fall Meets to set up a booth to sell Racing PROud merchandise.”
Because the local group from which I adopted my first two greyhounds is an extreme anti-racing group, I have stopped all volunteer activities with them. These are not bad people, just woefully uninformed and set in their ways. I am cordial if I happen to see them, but I do not associate with group events any longer. I do not have official affiliation with any other group at this time, but keep up with and support many adoption groups I’ve come to know through social media.

Racing PROud booth at the 2016 Fall Nationals. In this picture from left to right: Bec Maier, Lesley Ezkovich, and Jan Vasquez.

I was the person who originally coined the phrase “Racing PROud” back in 2013. I wrote an article for The Greyhound Review, which gives all the details. Since its inception, we’ve sponsored a major stake race at every NGA Spring and Fall Meet, and have expanded our fundraising to include donations to both the Florida and West Virginia Greyhound Associations to help with lobbying efforts to keep racing alive. To date, Racing PROud has raised over $50,000 in this effort.

Racing PROud has become a popular mantra for racing professionals and adopters alike. Co-founder Lesley Ezkovich and I couldn’t be happier to see so many support greyhound racing.


To view Jan Vasquez’s article on Racing PROud for The Greyhound Review in 2014, click here. We would like to give a big thank you to Jan for providing us with greyt details of greyhound racing and how the industry has affected her life. We look forward to seeing her pup race on the track!

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