Blog Spotlight: Derby Lane’s Mutt Derby and Palm Beach’s A FUNdraiser Event

It was a beautiful day for Derby Lane’s Mutt Derby on Sunday, February 18th. The Mutt Derby returned last year after a 20 year hiatus, and was so successful that Derby Lane decided to bring it back for 2018. The Mutt Derby gives pups of all breeds and sizes the opportunity to race on the iconic track. With 36 races that included more than 300 dogs and about 2,500 people in attendance, the event was another big hit. While greyhounds were more than welcome to attend the event, they were excluded from the races in an attempt to keep it fair for all the other pups. This allowed participating dogs a chance to show off their own racing skills by running the stretch of the track.

To race, the pups were released by volunteers at one end of the track while their owners awaited them at the other end of the track, giving them the opportunity to cheer for their pup as they raced down the stretch.

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An important aspect of the Mutt Derby is that all proceeds from the event go to Greyhound Pets of America, a nonprofit greyhound adoption organization. As a racetrack partner, Derby Lane’s kennels and trainers works closely with the Tampa Bay location, where many retired greyhounds go to be placed into their forever homes. We loved seeing the photos and video footage of the event and hope to see it return next year for another fun-filled day that supports such a great organization.

Palm Beach Kennel Club also hosted “A FUNdraising Event” on Sunday, February 11th. The event was filled with laughter as those in attendance watched a fun improv show. All proceeds from the event went to Forever Greyhounds, a nonprofit greyhound adoption organization that matches retired racers for homes in the U.S. and Canada.

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With Valentine’s Day this month, February is often viewed as the month of love and we are so happy that the greyhound racing community seized that, showing their love for the greyhound athletes by supporting organizations that care for the pups after their racing career. Greyhound adoption organizations do such wonderful work by helping transition greyhounds to home life and bringing joy to the families who are connected with these wonderful pups. If you are interested in adopting a greyhound or would like to get involved, check out the local adoption organization near you.

This Week With The Professor: Pups Moving Up in Class

One of the most difficult things to assess is how pups moving out of the maiden ranks will do on the rise up the grading ladder. Some pups, who are outstanding, will have no trouble moving up until they reach grade A, which is a dog of a different color, so to speak.

Even the most outstanding pups will have trouble when reaching the top grade, and are usually over bet when they do. But I digress, and will return to that later. One way to discern how a pup will do when moving up is to look and see how other maidens have done after winning.

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This will vary greatly from track to track. At some tracks, the pups are top notch and will be tough, and at other tracks, not so much, and will find trouble against older hounds. Do your homework and it will pay off. Back to pups who have risen up the ladder quickly into grade A. My advice is to try and beat these pups, as they are ALWAYS overbet and will frequently take some time to adjust to the top hounds. If they do beat you, take solace in that the payoff will be small, and if you win, the payoff will be great.

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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: Leo Stillmock

A greyhound racing fan for most of his life, Leo Stillmock has loved the sport for many years. More recently, Leo took that love for greyhound racing to the next level by owning greyhounds of his own. We spoke with Leo to learn about his journey in the greyhound racing industry and his experiences as an owner.

Visiting Bluffs Run greyhound track as a teenager, Leo was an instant fan of the sport. Though Leo had to watch from the parking lot because of his young age, he enjoyed it and visited the track a lot once he was 18. It was then that Leo knew that someday he would want to own greyhounds of his own. That goal never faded for Leo, who 27 years later, while living in Florida, bought his first pups from Buddy Scitern of C & C Greyhounds in January of 2017. Those hounds began racing soon after in April of 2017. This was a thrill and excitement that instantly had Leo hooked.

Not having experience as an owner previously, Leo partnered with Buddy on all three greyhounds (Leos Larry N Jim, Leos Tammy Jo, and Leos Tv Event). Leo was given the honor of naming the pups and pulled from his experiences as a kid to name them.

“Growing up at the dogs and horses with my dad, uncle, and cousins, they always loved to bet on a dog or horse with someone’s name we knew in it.”

Taking this into consideration, Leo decided that he’d put his name in all three. Leos Larry N Jim was named after Leo’s Uncle Larry and cousin Jim Johnson, who would go to Bluffs Run a few times a month, so he knew he wanted to honor them in one of the pup’s names. Tamara, Leo’s significant other, inspired the name Leos Tammy Jo, and Leos Tv Event is named after a phrase from Leo’s work (a TV event meaning when the news shows something that is played off as really bad when it’s not necessarily the case).

Leo is a hands-on owner, visiting his pups as often as possible to spend time with them and get in on the action. One of his favorite things is washing the dogs down after they race.

“I mean, how much better can it get than to watch your dog run a race and as soon as they come off the track, you are there cooling them off and spraying them down with a hose? I love that.”

Having Leo’s dogs at multiple locations, he has gotten to know many trainers and the staff at the kennels. Ed Trow and Oxbow Trow Kennel, Melissa Lloyd and TLC Kennel, and Casey Alves in Daytona have all been wonderful with Leo’s pups.

“I have spent time with all the people that take care of the dogs and feel really great that they are taking care of my greyhounds.”

Since Leo’s first three pups, he has since owned several more. Currently, he has Ringleader and Trust at Naples-Fort Myers and Tammy has Cotton, also at Naples. Recently, Leo purchased young pups from Bob Crossland and can’t wait to see them tearing up the track when they are a little older. Buddy Scitern did a great job in helping Leo determine the best tracks for his greyhounds to race at. Depending on the dog, certain tracks are better than others. Ed Trow didn’t think one of Leo’s hounds would race well at Flagler or Naples so they tried Daytona for a bit before the pup ended up at Sarasota. It’s often about finding the right fit for the right pup.

Leo loves everything about owning greyhounds, but to him the best part is watching his dogs race. Though money is an aspect to owning greyhounds, Leo explains how you quickly realize that the money doesn’t compare to watching your hounds race.

“There’s nothing that can top watching your dogs run… I don’t have any children so this is the same as watching my kids perform in a Christmas pageant or dance recital.”

Being so involved in each of his pups’ lives, you can get the sense of how much Leo loves his greyhounds. Leo’s involvement also gives him the opportunity to understand his dogs really well. For instance, he knows that Leos Tv Event clicks his teeth and has formed such a special bond with him that he plans on bringing him home with him when Leos TV Event is done racing. The relationships that Leo has formed with his greyhounds makes him love the sport even more and looks forward to being involved in the sport for years to come.

“Owning greyhounds is something I plan to do as long as I am able to. Once you get to look forward to watching your dogs run every week, I can’t think of not doing it.”

We would like to thank Leo Stillmock for speaking with us and sharing his story 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 custserv@greyhoundchannel.com.

Blog Spotlight: Wolf Pack Captains 2017 All-America Team by Jim Gartland

Multiple stake winner and Southland win leader, Flying Wolf Pack, has been named Captain of the 2017 All-America team, as announced today by the American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA).

The annual naming of the All-America team dates back to 1963. The program pays tribute to the top eight greyhounds nationally, as voted on by the member tracks of AGTOA.

Others named to this year’s squad are: Real Good Feelin (bestbet Jax), RT’s Bo Jangles (Derby Lane), Janice Dean (Palm Beach), Magnetic Drive (Flagler/Naples), Fire Blitzen (Naples), Tip Top (Palm Beach) and Barts Outofmyway (Wheeling).

This year’s second team is comprised of: Dutch Casey (bestbet Jax), Fraulein Morgan (Palm Beach), Martha Macullum (Naples), TMC’s Zoomba (Southland), WW’s Nextbigthing (bestbet Jax), Craigie Renegade (Southland), WW’s Odessabeach (Derby Lane) and Konomi (Wheeling/Dubuque).

First Team All Americans

 

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Flying Wolf Pack winning the 2017 Festival of Stakes’ Darby Henry Male Sprint

Flying Wolf Pack (Flying Lone Wolf – PJ Aces Up), was an obvious choice for All American as well as Captain of the team. He captured the $20,000 Best of the Best Series, the $25,000 Hound Madness Stake and the $200,000 Darby Henry Sprint at Southland. In addition to those wins, he made the finals of the Southland King & Queens, the 2 for the Money Challenge and the Sprint Derby. He put together numerous win streaks along the way including ten in a row at one point, all while racing against the very best in the country! His overall record for 2017 was 61-30-9-7-5. His 30 wins were enough to give him the 2017 win championship at Southland. Owned by Vince Berland and racing for the Lester Raines kennel, the Red and White racing machine is the odds on favorite to pick up the Rural Rube award for 2017.

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Real Good Feelin winning the 2017 Sprint Classic

One of two females on the roster, Jacksonville’s win leader, Real Good Feelin (TMC’s Remedy-Need A Date) joins the 2017 team making it the third year in a row a pup out of the female Need A Date has made the All American team. Half brothers Seldom Told and Need My Moneynow made the team in 2015 and 2016. Owned and raced by Tina Williams, she won the bestbet Sprint Classic and was a finalist in the Patton Silver Cup. In June, she set a new track record at 29.95 while picking up 37 wins along the way to make her track champion at Jacksonville. She has accumulated 97 wins in her career and will most certainly break the 100 win mark before it’s all over.

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RT’s Bo Jangles winning the 2017 Thanksgiving Stakes

RT’s Bo Jangles (Kiowa Mon Manny-Penrose Karrie) picks up All American honors after an amazing year at Derby Lane. Owned by Randy Toler and raced by Cal Holland, this speedster won Derby’s Howl-O-Ween and Thanksgiving stakes while cruising to a 71-45-10-4-3 record making him not only track champion but giving him National Win Honors as well! He dominated racing at the St. Pete oval often winning by large margins and putting together win streaks of 3, 4, 5 and 8 in a row.

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Janice Dean winning the 2017 James W. Paul 3/8ths Mile Derby

Janice Dean (Rhythmless-Audra Barkley) owned by Anthony Napolitano Jr. & Brindle Kennel, was the talk of the industry early in the year after winning the He’s My Man Classic and James Paul Derby at Palm Beach, all the while garnering much national attention as the namesake of Fox weather anchor, Janice Dean. She ended up running 4th in the Rooney Stakes missing her chance at Palm Beach’s Triple Crown, but nonetheless had a great year going before being injured in April finishing with 9 wins in 22 starts during 2017. She is one of only two females to make this year’s team.

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Tip Top

An emerging Palm Beach star, Tip Top (Barcelona Boss-Kiowa Starz Sage) joins the team for 2017. Tip Top has taken Palm Beach by storm. Breaking his Maiden in July, he quickly climbed the ladder straight to Grade A and ran 2nd in the Gallagher Puppy Stake in just his 11th lifetime start. Following the stake he went on a tear winning 16 of 17 (finishing 2nd in his only loss) including a stretch of 14 wins in a row! He is owned by Just Win Enterprises and raced by Norm Rader. This pup and his littermates have bright futures ahead of them.

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Magnetic Drive winning the 2017 Marathon Championship

Magnetic Drive (Flying Westover-Johara) joins the 2017 team representing Naples. Another White & Red male, he dominated the Naples meet in 2017 winning 27 races. He won the $20,000 Naples Marathon Championship and ran 2nd in the Naples Derby. He ran the fastest times of the meet for 3/8ths and 7/16ths at Naples and reeled off two 6 race wins streaks. Just to show off he also won a couple of 5/16th races at Flagler before moving on to Southland near the end of the year. Magnetic Drive is one of two All Americans on the team owned by Anthony Napolitano, Jr. and raced by the Brindle Kennel in Florida.

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Fire Blitzen winning the 2017 Derby at Naples

Fire Blitzen (Dragon Fire-Cry Heather) makes the 2017 All American roster coming off a great year in South Florida. Starting off the year in sprints, he captured the $30,000 Naples Sprint in January. He immediately switched over to 3/8ths and rolled on to a victory in the $50,000 Naples Derby in the midst of a nine race win streak at the distance. His 2017 record was 36-18-7-3-3 between Naples and Flagler. Records need to be checked, but Fire Blitzen may be the only, blue greyhound to make All American. He is owned by Sharon Williams and races for the D.Q. Williams Kennel.

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Last but not least on the first team of All Americans is the only Wheeling representative on the team, Barts Outofmyway (KC And All-Seadon Enchanted). The big red male, was one of the best sprinters at Wheeling winning 21 races. He dropped out of AA only once (and only for that one start) through all of his 47 starts in 2017. Unfortunately, there was no stake money to run after in Wheeling, but this greyhound is deserved after compiling a 47-21-4-3-7 against tough Wheeling competition day in and day out. He is owned by Rick Bartley and runs for the Lester Raines Kennel.

These eight will be honored with All-America plaques in ceremonies at the Greyhound Hall Of Fame Thursday night, Apr. 19, during the NGA Spring Meet in Abilene, Ks.

The Second Team

Orange Park Derby Champ, Dutch Casey (Djays Octane-Djays Im A Star) leads the Second Team of All-Americans. He charted a 73-11-18-11-9 record at the track, while also finishing 2ndd in the Marathon Challenge and 3rd in the Holiday Marathon. He is owned by Jo Ann Koerner and races for the Ocala Kennel.

Fraulein Morgan (Kiowa Mon Manny-Fraulein Kaci), owned by Jacobs Racing and raced by Crystal Carroll, won the $50,000 Arthur Rooney Stakes and ran 2nd in the James Paul Derby. She finished an abbreviated year with a 24-13-6-2-0 record. She retired in June after sustaining an injury.

Martha Maccullum (Flying Westover-Johara) A returnee from last year’s second team, Martha started out the year running 5th in the Daytona 550. She then returned to Naples and won 14 of her next 15 starts (finishing 2nd in her only defeat). Owned by Anthony Napolitano, Jr. and raced by the Brindle Kennel, she compiled a 22-15-1-2-0 record while missing 6 months of racing in 2017.

TMC’s Zoomba (Craigie Whistler-TMC’s Moneymaker) owned by Eddie McDonald and raced by Darren Henry won the Two for the Money Championship (beating Flying Wolf Pack among others) and was 2nd in the Barry Baldwin Juvenile at Southland. Her career only started in May, but she finished the year with a 41-17-6-2-1 record racing against the best at Southland.

WW’s Nextbigthing (Bella Infrared-WWK Big Money) won the Orange Park Puppy Stake, was 2nd in the Patton Silver Cup and a finalist in the Orange Park Battle of the Sexes. Adept at either 5/16 or 3/8, she racked up 15 wins at Orange Park before moving to Southland in July. Her overall record for the year was 70-19-12-3-5. She is owned by Julie Ward.

Craigie Renegade (KC And All-Toni Works) owned by James Zawisa and raced by Steve Sarras, may be the best super sprinter in the country. He captured the Crittendon Super Sprint at Southland and won 50% of his starts for the year. He had an amazing streak of races between April and October where he finished worse than 3rd just three times in 28 starts. He finished the year at 40-20-6-6-3.

WW’s Odessabeach (Djays Octane-WW’s Gucci) was the winner of the $20,000 Derby Lane Holiday Distance Championship. Racing both 5/16 and 3/8 this greyhound competed against Derby’s best all year finishing with a 38-15-4-2-2 record. He is owned by Julie Ward and raced for the Patriot Kennel at Derby Lane.

Rounding out this year’s 2nd team is Bob Hardison’s Konomi (SH Avatar-Money Maid). Racing at four different tracks in 2017, Konomi was the winner of the $100,000 Wheeling Island National and runner up in Dubuque’s King and Queens and Iowa Breeder’s Cup races. He broke in at Melbourne, moved on to Wheeling, had a lot of success at Dubuque and is currently racing at Southland. Overall he was 44-31-7-1-1 for the year.

Congratulations to these great greyhounds and all their connections!

This Week With The Professor: Race Times – Greyhounds vs. Thoroughbreds

There are a few reasons that a greyhound’s running time is not a major or even an important factor when handicapping a race. 1) The racing surface varies from one day to the next depending on weather or how the track was conditioned by track maintenance. 2) The time will be affected by how the race is run. In a race with a lot of trouble or maneuvering, the time will be slower than a race with no trouble. It is common to see a lower grade race being run faster than a higher grade race because of how the race was run. 3) Early speed dogs will generally have faster times than closers because they do not have to maneuver around dogs during the race. A common saying among top greyhound handicappers is “time is only a factor if you are catching a plane.”

Thoroughbred handicapping is a whole different animal, however. The split times and the final time of a horse race are major factors to consider. If a horse runs too fast at the start of the race, they will have nothing left for the stretch. If, however, the horse is allowed to settle into a slower pace and still have a lead, they are likely to be able to hang on. There are more ways to evaluate splits of the race than I have time for here, but this is just one reason that handicapping greyhounds and handicapping thoroughbreds are totally different.

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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.