Having a prospective greyhound representing us on the track, we have been in contact with those involved in the process of preparing GreyhoundChannel for his racing debut. One of the people in GreyhoundChannel’s everyday life includes Tom Taplin, one of the owners of Patriot/Taplin Kennel and Taps Racing Greyhounds farm. We had the pleasure of speaking with Tom and wanted to share his experiences with you.
Tom’s interest in greyhound racing sparked at a young age with some of his early childhood memories involving the racetrack. Tom’s grandfather owned greyhound racers that his dad trained. For Tom, it was a big deal to be at the racetrack helping cool down the dogs in the back. When his grandfather passed away, his time with greyhound racing would take a break. Moving in 1982, he bought a meat packing plant that would later burn down. When this happened, Tom turned to the dogs.
For Tom, working at Taps Racing Greyhounds with his wife, Patty, and one of his sons, Brant, is a wonderful experience. Working with family helps with scheduling so that Tom and Brant can count on one another when one of them needs to go away. This same reason, however, is also why having a family business can be difficult.
“We do it because we love these wonderful, crazy dogs, but we can’t do many things together. We both enjoy hunting and it’s hard to take a hunting trip together because one of us has to be here to run the farm.”
Though they may not be able to go on many trips together, Tom and Brant certainly get to spend a lot of time together on the farm. With a family business, you can imagine that you would have to get along pretty well with one another, which is no problem with Tom’s family. With some family living really close, Tom gets to see them often.
“They bought land right across the road, so their house is 100 yards from me, and the grandkids can run back and forth across the road. We’re very family oriented and all of our kids are within an hour and a half from us, so we have a lot of family get-togethers.”
A general day at the farm begins with an early start of 6 AM when Tom and Brant arrive to turn out the greyhounds by letting the pups out while they refresh the beds. The rest of the staff arrives at 7 AM for feedings and putting the dogs back in their kennels. Around 8 AM, they start working the dogs in their various stages of where they are in terms of racing. Around noon, they take a couple hours at home before heading back to the kennel for another turnout. A crew goes in again at night for one more turnout. Patty takes care of all the small puppies up to three months old.
Working on the farm, Tom explains that he breeds pups that would be a good fit for Southland and Wheeling. When it comes to naming, Brant usually gets the honor. They enjoy going off some sort of theme for the naming of the litter, and they have many lists they keep for naming ideas. With about 300 dogs on the farm and around 100 of them training, it’s good to have a working list of names. Tom also makes sure that part of the greyhound’s registered name is always part of their call name as to not confuse the pups.
Working with greyhound racers, Tom says that his favorite thing with being involved in the sport is simply being with the dogs. Tom has always loved animals and he can’t recall a time that he didn’t have some type of pup. Throughout the years, there have been many racing greyhounds that have stood out for Tom, but some of his favorites have included Flying Wolf Pack, winner of the 2017 Southland Hound Madness and 2017 Festival of Stakes Henry Male Sprint; Caravan Hildie, 1994 Raynham track champ and 99-race winner; and Tracy’s Fantasy, winner of the 1992 Hinsdale Invitational, 1992 Wonderland Inaugural, and 1993 Raynham-Taunton Blue Ribbon. Tracy’s Fantasy was also the 1991 Wonderland track champ and had 98 career wins. Highest on the list for Tom, though, is TNT Star Wars who holds a special place in his heart.
“When we’d exercise them, he would be standing on top of the dog house waiting for us to go by.”
More currently, at the time that we spoke to Tom, he was excited about TNT Mama Mia, TNT Mind Games, TNT Marchmadness, and TNT Mercuryrisin, all of which just kickstarted their racing careers.
Tom had a long-standing relationship with Bob Rider, known in the industry for raising and racing greyhounds. When Bob was diagnosed with cancer, he and Tom partnered up for breeding so that Bob could continue to be as involved as possible with the greyhound racing industry before he passed away on October 10th, 2018. This partnership resulted in our namesake pup, GreyhoundChannel, who came from one of the litters. We were happy to hear that GreyhoundChannel has been doing well in the pens and on his runs. He will begin formal training in April with a projected racing start in August or September.
As our conversation with Tom came to a close, we spoke about the passing of Florida’s Amendment 13. Though Tom is disappointed and realizes that the amendment ultimately will hurt the entire industry, he is staying focused on his pups and plans to continue running their best at Southland, Wheeling, and Tri-State for as long as they can.
We would like to thank Tom Taplin for speaking with us about greyhound racing and his experience in the 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? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.