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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“[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.”
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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!