This Week With The Professor: Day or Night… Does It Matter?

Does day or night matter when handicapping? Absolutely! There are several reasons why you should consider whether the race you are handicapping is on a Matinee or Evening card. It is commonly known that early speed greyhounds fare better in Matinee racing then night racing. the reason for this is hotly debated among racegoers, but not knowing the exact reason, does not negate the fact that it is true.

Also, it is also true that the inside greyhounds break faster in Matinee races, than Evening races. The reason for this may be that the light is better in the day, or less glare from the lights to bother the inside hounds. The inside dogs should break better as they are the first to see the lure. Another factor is that some greyhounds like to run during the day better than at night, or vice versa, which also may have something to do with the better light and their vision. Bottom line is, this can definitely be a factor that can help you to pick more winners, so be sure and take these factors into consideration when handicapping.


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: Steve Sarras & Joie Gates

During the National Greyhound Association’s (NGA) Fall Meet in October of this year, three greyhounds were once again given away for the NGA Pup Giveaway. One of the pups was donated by Steve Sarras, trainer and owner of Steve Sarras Kennel, and was won by Joie Gates. We spoke with Steve and Joie to delve deeper into the Pup Giveaway by learning more about the greyhound racing industry.

Steve Sarras got his start in greyhound racing at a young age when his dad purchased three pups that ended up being very successful.

“He got bit by the bug. Got enamored by the sport. He ended up buying a kennel and a farm. I grew up in it and have been doing it since I was 10 years old.”

Steve’s dad loved the farm, playing with the dogs, and watching the races. This transferred to Steve who ended up falling in love with the racing part of the industry. The family’s farm is in Massachusetts and Steve expanded the operations to Wheeling, followed by Southland. The love for greyhound racing has extended to Steve’s children, Nikolas and Alexandria, who are also involved in the sport, but have their main focus on their education.

“The greyhound industry is very labor intensive and requires a tremendous amount of time and dedication.”

Steve has raced excellent greyhounds, most notable being Rob Gronkowski who was 2013 All-America team captain, winner of the 2013 Festival of Stakes Sprint, Labor Day Stake, Father’s Day Stake, 2014 He’s My Man Classic, St. Patrick’s Day Championship, and he held the 545-yard track record in 2013 and 2014 at Palm Beach.

rob gronkowski 2
Rob Gronkowski

This year was Steve’s second year participating in the NGA Pup Giveaway. The pup Steve gave away at the previous Pup Giveaway ended up making its way to grade A at Derby Lane. Steve likes donating a pup to the giveaway because he feels that it is a good way of getting new people involved in the industry. Usually, those who win a pup are very excited and can be someone who hasn’t raced a greyhound before.

“I’ve always tried to play an active role and try to bring in new people, new faces.”

In the case of Steve’s 2017 Fall Meet giveaway pup, Morticia, he already knew the winner Joie Gates.

“She used to work at one of the farms that raises dogs for me in Arkansas, Imark Farms. It was funny when I heard her name, I kind of grinned.”

Morticia with Britney Parvin and Blake.

Steve anticipates that Morticia will do well. He raced her mother, Yahoo Bonita, who was a AA grade racer at Wheeling and Palm Beach. Having Djays Octane as Morticia’s sire certainly adds to her potential.


“We try to give away one that anyone would be proud to own, and hopefully Joie gets an All-American.”

Joie Gates became interested in greyhounds after coming across ‘rescue’ groups when she was living in Pennsylvania. Wanting to know more about the greyhound racing industry, Joie started her research, but what she found was a lot of anti-racing information. This prompted Joie to dive right into the source of greyhound racing by getting a pup of her own.

“Being a little dismayed at the information I was getting from ‘rescue’ groups on Facebook, of course, I decided I was going to cut to the chase… I decided I wanted to learn about the greyhound industry from the ground floor. Best I could do was buy a racing puppy.”

Joie contacted Terry Haber from Imark Kennels to get her first racing greyhound. Her first greyhound was named Honor Arlington, who raced at Derby Lane through Abernethy Kennel, before heading to Orange Park to race with Steve. She is now retired and at her forever home.

Having an appreciation for animal athletes from her love of equestrian sports, Joie instantly fell in love with greyhound racing and it wasn’t long till Joie moved to Arkansas to work with Terry on his farm to learn more about the industry. Through a fun exchange involving a kayak, Joie and Terry co-own Funny Car, who is racing at Daytona Beach, and Chas N It, racing at Tri-State. Both pups started their racing careers in April of this year.

Funny Car, photo provided by Todd.

Having been an NGA member since January of 2013, Joie purchases raffle tickets for each pup giveaway. Little did Joie know that this year she would not only win one of the pups, but she would win Steve’s pup.

“I was tickled pink that Steve Saras was the person that donated Morticia because I had lunch with the man, I know the man, I know him from Terry. I’d been to his racing kennel at Southland… I think he’s an outstanding greyhound man.”

Joie decided that she would have Morticia race through Steve, where she will be starting out at Sarasota.

“He texted me this morning to ask if it was OK if Morticia went with her littermates to Sarasota to train. It was nice that he asked me.”

With Morticia currently training to race at Sarasota, Joie just received confirmation that Morticia’s racing name will be Dama Octano, a combination of her parents’ names in spanish meaning Lady Octane.

Morticia / Dama Octano in her kennel, photo provided by Sharon McCreery.

Joie really enjoys the athleticism of greyhound racing and how greyhounds, unlike horse racing, have to figure out the race and dig deep on their own. You can see the passion for racing in the greyhounds’ faces.

“I enjoy horse athletes, greyhound athletes, I enjoy sporting dogs that are bred for a reason. I appreciate that greyhound racing gives dogs that are bred as sight hounds the ability to run in probably the safest environment they can get. Yes, accidents can happen, but in any sporting environment, unless you’re infused in bubble wrap, the potential to get hurt is always there.”

One of Joie’s favorite parts about greyhound racing and owning pups of her own is that she can see them go from training to rookie racer to veteran racer. Seeing the improvement is gratifying and impressive. When a greyhound continues to do well, you can tell that they want it.

“I loved watching As A Time Of Day. He was rather immature when he was at Derby Lane with the Abernathy’s and I loved watching him figuring it out when he got to Daytona Beach. You could see the dog pass other dogs and lift his head up over the butt of another dog to get around. You could see him making his moves and I just think that’s beautiful.”

As A Time of Day, also known as Burrito, recently retired and found his forever home where he lives with his owner, Christine, and four furry siblings.

As A Time Of Day / Burrito and his siblings: Poncho, Romeo, Cosmo, and Chili.

Enjoying all aspects of greyhound racing, Joie also loves the wonderful pups themselves and is proud that each of her greyhounds has been adopted and placed in their forever homes.

“Retired greyhounds make excellent pets. I think everyone who has one is incredibly blessed.”

With three retired racers of our own, we couldn’t agree more with Joie.

We would like to thank both Steve Sarras and Joie Gates for speaking with us and sharing their wonderful stories in the greyhound racing industry. One of our main goals is to promote the greyhound industry. Do you work in it 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: Predicting Trouble

If you have read any of my articles, you know that I value early speed above all other handicapping factors. The reason for this is that the early leader always stays out of trouble, and is able to run their race as best as they can. If you are a trip handicapper and watch and chart races, you will be able to actually predict where the trouble is and if there will be trouble on many races. You will know each greyhound’s tendencies and whether or not they are in a position to avoid trouble.

One example would be a greyhound, who prefers to run midtrack, being pinned to the inside and then “blowing the turn” (going wide) and stacking up the field. It may also be possible for that dog to try and get to the outside early and hindering the progress of the dogs around them. Another example is a rail running speed dog who draws the outside post and has shown a tendency to “slash” to the inside and, therefore, bothering the dogs posted next to them. While it is not always possible to predict trouble, you can sometimes see the trouble coming and take advantage of that to your financial benefit.


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.

Breeders’ Cup Picks by The Professor

We have the Breeders’ Cup card available for wagering and The Professor has put together his picks for races 4, 10, and 12 of the Breeders’ Cup today. Have a question about the Breeders’ Cup? Ask in the comments below.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies – Race #4

#13, SEPARATIONOFPOWERS, ran a huge Beyer figure while going long and winning the Frizette last out at Belmont. She showed that she can be rated along with good speed, which should help her overcome the far outside post. #1, HEAVENLY LOVE, improved a ton while trying two turns last out, winning the Alcibiad at Keeneland by daylight and draws a good post today. #12, CALEDONIA ROAD, ran a big race chasing the top pick last out and should only improve with a top jock aboard today.

Breeders’ Cup Sentinet Jet Juvenile – Race #10

#11, BOLT D’ORO, has improved every out and this $630,000 purchase is going to very tough, despite the outside post. #6, GOOD MAGIC, is still a maiden, but do not be fooled. He was just nipped in the Champagne and Chad Brown knows how to win the big one. #3, FIRENZE FIRE, came from well back to win the Champagne last out, and the change of style should serve him well today. #1, US NAVY FLAG, has been a monster in Europe, and this trainer knows how to ship and win in these races; dangerous.

Breeders’ Cup Classic – Race #12

Can anyone beat the defending champ #1, ARROGATE, is the big question. Is he going to revert back to his old form? I say yes. He was beaten in his last, but his Beyer suggests he is back in form. #5, GUN RUNNER, is the major threat. He has been winning by many lengths in Grade 1 races, but the last time he saw the top pick, he was chasing him home. #6, MUBTAAHIJ, is an older classy guy, who may benefit from a speed duel and be a major factor late. #11, COLLECTED, beat the top pick last out, but he had an easy lead in that one and his past races are not good enough to challenge this group; going against him today.