Blog Spotlight: Tom Taplin

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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.

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Tom (right) and Brant (left) with two greyhound pups.

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.

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Tom with GreyhoundChannel.

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.

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Tom with GreyhoundChannel.

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 custserv@greyhoundchannel.com.

An Unexpected and Disheartening Defeat in Florida by Jim Gartland

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Going into election day in November, many of us felt that we had done our best and had a decent shot of defeating Amendment 13. After all, the polls looked good. Pundits claimed that most, if not all, the amendments would go down. The industry had stepped up, worked hard, contributed what and where we could, and given their all towards the effort. But early into the evening of November 6, things got ugly. By the end of the night, Amendment 13 had passed by a wide margin and you could feel the collevtive air leave the body of greyhound racing.

What happened? There is no real answer to that question. There is much speculation and some would like to say blame, one way or another, but in the end, it looks like the industry wasn’t able to overcome fighting a massively funded campaign by anti-racing groups. Even if that campaign was chocked full of half-truths, misrepresentations, hyped up numbers and outright lies, the sheer amount of dollars behind it was something that we could not compete with on a scale that would have been necessary. It certainly wasn’t for lack of effort though. Hundreds, if not thousands of greyhound people and supporters worked tremendously hard for months and months in trying to defeat the amendment. Far too many people to name here spent unbelievable amounts of time, money and energy working towards the cause. Kennel owners, trainers, helpers, farmers, adopters, NGA members, FGA members, track personnel, adoption groups and racing fans all did what they could and more. The industry stepped up in a way unlike anything before, and everyone should be proud of that fact as well as the battle that was fought. And yes, that is little consolation, but stand tall and be proud nonetheless.

Last thought on the vote – I for one found it very strange that all of these amendments, most, if not all of which, looked to fail, passed by nearly identical margins with the exception for one. I’m not here to say the election results were tainted, but with other issues arising in this election as has been the case with other elections in Florida, maybe there should have been a second look.

What’s next? Several tracks have indicated that they will close immediately and/or not re-open for 2019 (Melbourne, Pensacola, Mardi Gras). The majority of Florida tracks have committed to racing until the 2020 deadline, based on the ongoing availability of kennels and greyhounds (Jax, Palm Beach, Derby, Sanford, Daytona, Naples, Ebro). So, for the time being it is business as usual. Obviously, we will need to be thinking about the eventual closings and the adoption needs for all the greyhounds. Thankfully, we have the support of the National GPA and hundreds of other adoption groups. Unlike the anti-racing groups, we will have a plan and see to it that every greyhound is accounted for, be it for racing elsewhere, returning home or adoption into a welcoming home.

In the meantime, people are working behind the scenes to explore any and all avenues with regard to a legal, or legislative challenge to the amendment. Other possibilities include some form of “settlement” from the state based on a similar case in Florida some years ago. No path will be easy. All of these will take time and, in most cases money, so we need to be patient. There are obviously no guarantees, but be assured that work continues.

Finally, the debacle in Florida must also serve as a massive wake up call to any and all other tracks and states where racing takes place. The time to take action against anti-racing factions is not when they show up in your state. The time is NOW. Every kennel and every owner at every racetrack in America (and around the world for that matter) should be showcasing and promoting the sport for all that is greyt about it and what it means to their communities and the people who live in them. The Florida amendment should also put anyone who works with, hunts, farms, utilizes or simply enjoys animals on high alert. It truly was a “Trojan horse” and should be taken seriously by anyone involved with animals.

JimGartland Jim Gartland, National Greyhound Association (NGA) Executive Director.

This Week With The Professor: Don’t Let The Odds Scare You!

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I have seen over the years friends of mine who may handicap a race well, find a greyhound with high odds that has a great chance and then get scared off wagering on that dog because nobody else is playing them. What, is that not the whole point? To be able to see something in a longshot that few others see?

My theory on why this happens is that this person also plays the horses, where if the horse is not being played as much as they should, it is said they are “dead on the board.” Many believe that this means the smart guys or stable money is not being played on the horse because the horse may not be sound. This is not an issue with greyhounds. Greyhounds grade themselves by their performance; whereas in horse racing, the owner or trainer decides what class the horse runs in. Trust me when I say that the owners or trainers of greyhounds are the worst bettors on the track, so the fact that they are not betting on them means nothing.

The point I am trying to make is to have confidence in your handicapping and if the odds are high on your selection then all the better, bet more. There are no “wise guys” when it comes to greyhound racing, which is the beauty of it.

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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 in The Professor’s blog article!