Blog Spotlight: Irish Greyhound Derby

The following is written by George Quinn of Greyhound News. You may know him from his blog or his twitter page. George recently visited Ireland to experience one of the biggest events in international Greyhound Racing: the Irish Greyhound Derby at Shelbourne Park. Mr. Quinn was nice enough to write up his thoughts and allow us to feature them in our blog for everyone to enjoy.

2017 Irish Greyhound Derby Final at Shelbourne Park:
My fourth and final night at Shelbourne Park started earlier than the others. It was time for the “big” night and I wanted to get the full experience. Just a 15 minute walk from my hotel, I arrived at 4pm to collect my ticket and enter the stadium. Live music was scattered throughout the building starting at 4:30pm to entertain early arriving patrons like myself. As I wandered around the different levels, employees were feverishly putting

“As I wandered around the different levels, employees were feverishly putting on the finishing touches to an already immaculately staged venue.”

Judging by the amount of employees, this was going to be a busy night and it was time to think ahead. I grabbed a bite to eat in the food hall and started making my selections for the night. Next it was time to pick up a set of rosettes commemorating each of the derby finalists. All proceeds benefited the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust, 30£ well spent. Favorites Sonic and Good News sold out early with only a few of the others left towards the end of the night.

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Rosettes of Finalists in the Derby

With the crowd swelling, it was 7pm and time to place my bets. At Shelbourne Park you have 2 options, betting with the tote (like U.S.) or betting in the ring (bookie) with fixed odds. The dining experience is a big part of racing at Shelbourne Park, you can wager via table-side Tote service.

“On this night, betting in the ring reminded me of images from the floor at the New York Stock Exchange on a busy day.”

Wagering in Ireland is a little different from the U.S. since there are only 6 greyhounds per race. Wagers include: Win, Place, Forecast (Exacta), Trio (Trifecta), Pick 4, and Pick 6. *all 1£ minimum

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The Crowd at the Derby

It’s 7:20pm, time for the off (post time) of Race 1. No slot machines, no poker and no simulcast wagering to preoccupy patrons.

“Over 5,000 people in one place to watch greyhound racing! That was the scene for the Irish Greyhound Derby Final night.”

Similar to the finals of Southland Park’s Festival of Stakes, the race card is chock-full of top grade races from beginning to end. With the buzz increasing in the stadium after each race, ComeTwoPass takes the Derby Plate Final in Race 7 (basically a derby consolation with multiple rounds) and we’re on to the 2017 Irish Greyhound Derby Final!

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Ready to Take Off!

Greyhounds are on parade for Race 8 and Shelbourne Park is electric! After being placed in traps (boxes), the customary deafening roar of the crowd starts as the hare goes into motion. As we all know by now, Good News cleared the first bend (turn) and never looked back holding off Black Farren who finished second. In 29.37 seconds it was over, the crowd was crazy as Good News made his way past my spot on the rail to a very large group of connections in the infield waiting for the new champion.

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The Champ, Good News!

Since I only got into greyhound racing in 2004, I was never able to experience the heyday in the United States. Now I know how it might have been at Hollywood, Wonderland, Flagler, Raynham and others for their most prestigious races. If you love greyhound racing, the Irish Greyhound Derby Final needs to be on top of your bucket list.

We want to thank George Quinn for sharing his experience with us – we felt that much closer to the action! We always appreciate the work George does to better the greyhound racing industry, through his tireless efforts on social media and patronage of the tracks.

Derby Lane Holiday Distance Challenge / Exotic Howliday Jackpot

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One of the biggest stakes series of the holiday season concluded Saturday, December 12, 2015 with the final round of the $75,000 Derby Lane Holiday Distance Challenge. The Challenge consisted of five rounds and ushered an impressive complement of greyhound athletes every race.

Running parallel with Derby Lane’s Holiday Distance Challenge, we created a dynamic promotion to coincide with the five rounds. The Exotic Howliday Jackpot promotion was comprised of hitting specific wagers to earn points (1-exacta, 2-trifecta, 2-superfecta) in any of the official Holiday Distance Challenge races in the specific round. A maximum of 5 points could be earned per round, with the contest’s total amount of points being 25.

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Saturday, November 28 kicked off round 1 with four races (4, 6, 8, 10) and we had posted our hot dog picks right here on the Blog. We are pleased to report we were in the money every single race, two of which were winners. HIGHLY CLASSIFIED and LK’S MC CLINTOCK each won, NIGHT GODDESS placed, and LK’S TRAMONTINA showed.Our Greyhound Channel Exotic Howliday Jackpot participants racked up points and took their spots on the official leaderboard.

Round 2 of the Holiday Distance Challenge took off on Wednesday, December 2 with another four races (4, 6, 8, 10). We had another great turnout with the hot dogs we picked. LK’S MC CLINTOCK won his race with HIGHLY CLASSIFIED and BARTS MOUSTAKAS placing in each of their races. Our Greyhound Channel Exotic Howliday Jackpot participants scored here, with names being added and points flying onto the leaderboard.

Saturday, December 5 flew by with only two races (6, 10) in round 3 of Derby Lane’s Holiday Distance Challenge. In race 6 our hot dog, HIGHLYCLASSIFIED, won! In race 10, our other hot dog, BARTS MOUSTAKAS, flashed across the finish line for another win! By this point, our Greyhound Channel Exotic Howliday Jackpot participants were feeling the crush, what with only two races to score points in vs. the prior four race rounds. Impressively, points continued to be earned despite this extra level of difficulty.

The semi-finals were full of anticipation on Wednesday, December 9: both for the actual races at Derby Lane, and to see how the Exotic Howliday Jackpot contenders fared. The two-race (6,10) round was full of anticipation as we wondered whether our hot dogs could make the cut. In race 6, we were not disappointed as BARTS MOUSTAKAS blazed through for the win. Race 10 boasted a full card of eager pups who didn’t disappoint with their impressive performances. The fact participants could only earn points in the two races, again, made it difficult to stay ahead in this promotion. Not surprisingly, the handicapping caliber of our contenders saw them through another tough round. Points steadily increased on our leaderboard.

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Race 10 on Saturday, December 12 was the final round for the Holiday Distance Challenge and it went off with a bang. Eight stellar hounds went head-to-head and we were so impressed with the entire field that it was truly tough to say who would win this final race. Our early first round hot dog pick, HIGHLYCLASSIFIED, won it going away. He had a flawless break and by racing smartly to avoid trouble and using the final turn in the backstretch, he was on the chase and overcame GT’S GIN N JUICE to snag the win. As Derby Lane’s Jim Peake stated, “it [was] a two dog race!”

Our Exotic Howliday Jackpot finished with the final round of the Holiday Distance Challenge. We had two winners, both of which finished with the maximum amount of points possible. Rick C. and Jason G. split the $1,000 jackpot for $500 each. Great job to all who participated!

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Don’t forget: We still have our other promotion, Bonus Bandit’s Greyt Gifts, with 6 days of greyt gifts left to receive! Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, and contest site for daily updates.

Track of the Week: Orange Park Evening

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We have Orange Park Evening as our featured Track of the Week! Tonight is the final round of bestbet’s $20,000 Sprint Classic with the evening card post time starting at 7:45 PM EST. Here are some hounds that are sure to shine tonight.

#8, O YA GUNSMOKE, didn’t break as well as he normally does last out, but should recover this race to take the win.

#7, CJ’S COLIN, did not draw a favorable post. If he can cut to the inside quick enough, he has the speed to take the lead.

#3, PAT C EYE OPENER, runs well on the inside and should get a piece of the action.

Don’t forget to play our free handicapping Track of the Week contest featuring Orange Park’s evening card tonight for your chance to win up to $200!

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Good luck tonight and have a greyt weekend!