Every year Greyhound Channel looks forward to sponsoring a stake race at NGA’s Spring Meet, and the 2017 renewal was no exception. This year’s supported 5/16 race run on April 28th was captured by a speedy, dark brindle female named Peppermint Mandy by Cry Calaveras and Sweet Miranda and owned by Ray Wong. Soon after, a letter of appreciation from Mr. Wong was received at the Portland, Oregon business office stating it was a privilege to win the race with “Mandy.” Flattered, we had to learn more about Pepperment Mandy and her gracious owner.
Ray Wong grew up in the small, high desert city of Winslow, Arizona with his parents, three sisters, and brother. Always a shutterbug, he served as Winslow High School’s photographer. He lettered in wrestling, competing in the 115 lb weight class division and credits his success to countless hours of heavy lifting at his parent’s grocery store. After graduating from Arizona State University, earning a degree in Journalism in 1972, Ray received a master’s degree in Photo Journalism from University of Missouri in 1974.
He was hired as Picture Editor for the Toronto Star and in 1982 moved to Nashville where he was employed by The Tennessean as Graphics Editor. In 1995, Ray tackled a unique challenge offered by Middle Tennessee State University to revamp graphic sequence in the school curriculum. Boosting the university for the next 17 years, he retired Professor Emeritus in 2012.
Greyhounds were never on Ray’s radar until he and wife Mardy Fones adopted a whippet mix named Mac in 1999. Shortly after, they thought Mac would do well with a companion cannine and selected a retired red fawn racer named Mel (Bart’s Viper) by Jet Set Mr. Tea and Meadows Peach with assistance from GPA-Nashville. Ray was smitten with Mel’s elegant look and demeanor. His fascination with the breed increased and lead him to serve as GPA-Nashville President from 2003 – 2006.
In 2005, Ray decided to put his photo journalistic skills to work with the hope of publishing a book about greyhounds covering four distinct areas: farm, track, pet, and their uniqueness as a breed. While researching his project, he met his mentor trainer Peter Lomax at Birmingham Race Course who advised him that in order to learn the industry, he had to race a dog. Soon, Ray partnered with Peter in ownership of litter mates male Mac’s Happy and female Mac’s Hoppy by Dodgem By Design and Sisterhood. After schooling at Tri-State, the brindle brother-sister duo developed into grade A sprinters at Birmingham. These weren’t going to be Ray’s last grade A competitors.
While getting his racing fix at Birmingham in 2011, he spotted a blue male named Cry Calaveras by Dragon Fire and Cry Huron. After consulting Pete Lomax, Ray purchased the slow-starting, fast closing middle distance runner from owner Cameron Younts. After joining the Northshore Kennel roster at Southland, Cry Calaveras turned into a grade AA 660 yard win monster until he retired to stud.
Currently, Ray has runners competing at Derby Lane, Ebro, Mobile, Naples, Orange Park, and Wheeling Downs. We at Greyhound Channel are happy to report that Peppermint Mandy broke her Maiden at Wheeling in the 5th race, during the Matinee on Saturday June 3rd, in impressive come from behind fashion. Congratulations to Mandy and to her proud owner! Ray also advised to keep an eye out for her litter mates Smokies Rockytop, Doubledown Dewey, and Hillbilly Hunter’s debut starts. He’s also hopeful that young, red RHT Calvena by Cry Calaveras and SB’s Hattie retains her middle distance grade A form at Naples.
While Ray may have retired from academia, there’s no grass growing under his feet. When available, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Cry Calaveras, and Reta Raccoon at their Brentwood, Tennessee home. He may also be found clerking part-time behind the meat counter at Publix Super Market in Brentwood. The book he started in 2005 continues to morph. Greyhound Channel anticipates its publication at a later time… There are just too many chapters waiting to break the box!
We would like to thank Ray Wong for speaking with us about his journey so far with 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.