A Day in the Life of a Greyhound Kennel

When greyhounds aren’t running around the oval, they spend time at their home kennel. Wondering what exactly life entails at a greyhound kennel, we have gathered a general schedule of day-to-day activities for trainers, kennel staff, and the beloved greyhounds.

A greyhound trainer’s day typically begins bright and early around 6:00 am. Starting off the day, the kennel caretakers let the greyhounds stretch out and run around in large pens. The kennel staff will use this time to clean and disinfect the kennel and the crates that the greyhounds live in. This generally takes around 45-60 minutes, giving the greyhounds plenty of time to play. After the kennel and crates have been disinfected, the greyhounds are then put back in their crates to enjoy their freshly cleaned homes. These pups love their kennel spaces; it’s where they feel most comfortable and relaxed to sleep and rest. Some greyhounds love their crate so much that they prefer to spend most of their time in their home. Husker Magic, captain of the All-America Team, greets her kennel mates for about 10 minutes of their play time before she is wanting to head back to her crate for blanket snuggles.

huskerghchat huskermagiccutie

Once the pups are back in their crates, the trainer and helper will take the greyhounds who need exercise out to a “sprint path” to run. A “sprint path” is exactly how it sounds- a path utilized for greyhounds to sprint for racing practice, conditioning, and other various reasons. Greyhounds are typically “sprinted” every other day between races. When the greyhounds have completed their sprints, they are weighed and groomed.

DArcyKennel_DogandToy

After grooming, the trainer will prepare and mix the greyhounds’ food. While food may differ from kennel to kennel, in general each pup’s meal consists of 1 ½ pounds of meat, 1 pound of meal, corn oil, and a vitamin. Sometimes the trainer will include fruits or a stew as well as honey for flavor. This is mixed together in a very large bowl with water to help with consistency. The greyhounds who are not racing eat a full meal and those who are racing receive a snack, which is half the portion size of the meal. After eating, the pups enjoy more time outside before heading back to their kennel to relax and nap.

GreyhoundRacer

Greyhounds who are racing that day are taken to the track kennel where they wait till it’s their turn to race. Once a greyhound has raced, a caretaker will “cool them out.” This means the greyhounds are cooled down and walked. There are many different ways a trainer can cool down a greyhound: dip tanks, hoses, walk through tanks, etc. This helps relax the racing greyhound’s muscles and cools down their body temperature after the exertion of racing.

DogDays_Image

After the day’s racers have run, they are taken back to the kennel and fed. All of the greyhounds are then turned out again for 30-45 minutes to stretch out and play. The pup’s racing that night are then taken to the track kennel for their races. After the night’s races have ran, all the greyhounds are let outside for one more romp before heading back to their crates for bed. Once the pups are put up for the night, the kennel is locked up and the caretakers head home.

Playing, sprinting, and resting are all a part of the kennel life for a racing greyhound. While the schedule we have outlined may slightly differ between locations, each kennel has a strict regimen they follow to help keep the pups happy, healthy, and race ready. Tons of care and love from the trainers, kennel staff, and owners allow the greyhounds to race at their full potential.

We would like to thank Catherine D’arcy from D’arcy Kennels for providing kennel life information for us to utilize. Check out her “Day in the Life of a Racing Greyhound” from a greyhound’s perspective.

The Week with The Professor: Grade Theory Q & A

TP-Q&A

Last time, The Professor discussed the influences of race distances on greyhound running styles, and gave us good tips to remember when handicapping.

We received a great question from Pete T. who asked, “I generally handicap by grade first, and I read somewhere that the higher the grade, the wider the ability gap between grades. For instance, according to this theory, it would be easier for a greyhound to move from D to C than from B to A. Do you agree with this theory, and if so, how does it affect your grade handicapping? Thanks!

Thanks for asking, Pete! Let’s check in with The Professor for his thoughts.

Good question! Pete, I do agree with this theory. I believe that the higher the grade, the more difficult it is for the greyhound to succeed in that higher grade.

The difference between grade D and C is not as large as the difference between grade B and A. You regularly see greyhounds moving from D to C and finding success, but less regularly doing well when going from C to B grades.

I have found that the biggest difference in talent and success is between grade B and grade A. Hounds that are solid in B struggle mightily when raised to A. The greyhounds that are what we call solid A dogs will consistently run in the money in that grade and usually win right away when they drop to B.

This is especially noticeable when a pup goes up the ladder quickly and then runs in grade A. It takes an exceptionally talented pup to succeed in A right away. It usually takes some time for them to adjust to the speed of those greyhounds.

I would say that this is a major factor when I handicap, and have made some nice scores by beating a hot pup who will always be overbet when reaching grade A.

 

Thanks for your question, Pete! Do you have a question for The Professor? Leave a comment below and you could be like Pete and receive a $2 wagering credit to your Greyhound Channel account if your question is featured!

For more greyt tips, tricks, and handicapping knowledge, be sure to tune in to our podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel!

 

 

HUSKER MAGIC: Retired!

The official word came out on Wednesday, June 22nd: HUSKER MAGIC has retired! She finished her career with 105 wins out of 167 starts. She was on a 5 win streak before announcing retirement.

We have had the privilege of reporting on Derby Lane’s Darling Diva many times. Her career accomplishments are impressive: she was the 2015 Rural Rube Award recipient. She was the captain of the 2015 AGTOA All-America Team. She was the winner of the 2015 Daytona 550 (2nd 2016), 2015 Derby Lane Sprint Classic, and 2016 T. L. Weaver Memorial. She was 2nd in 2014 for Derby Lane’s Gold Trophy Juvenile, 2015 Inaugural, and T. L. Weaver Memorial. She was 3rd in Derby Lane’s 2014 Fall Sprint.

Husker-Yellow-Blanket

Don Jensen of the Tampa Bay Times wrote a dedication to HUSKER MAGIC:

“Husker Magic, who won 105 races from 167 starts — the only Derby Lane dog in history with at least 100 victories— was retired from racing Wednesday, kennel owner Jim Abernathy said. She ranks tied for 33rd on the sport’s all-time win list. The female is expected to spend several months at the Abernathy residence in St. Petersburg before going to Grapevine, Ark., to begin a breeding career.”

We’re proud of her because the Blonde Bombshell is retiring at the top of her game.  Congratulations to HUSKER MAGIC; she has had a truly historic racing career and we feel lucky to have had the opportunity to share her accomplishments so often.

HuskerMagic-Cooling-Pool-GHC-Hat
HUSKER MAGIC keeps it cool in her cooling pool. Photo courtesy of Kayruth Abernathy.

2015 All-America Team: Where Are They Now?

It’s been four months since the AGTOA announced their 2015 All-America Team! We have enjoyed following the progress of the first team’s eight pups. Most of the first team pups have continued on to racing greatness; a few have chosen to retire.

These eight greyhound athletes were honored during the NGA’s 2016 Spring Meet held in Abilene, Kansas in April, where they celebrated their 2015 achievements. It has been a pleasure to follow their racing stories. Where are they now? Let’s find out!

HuskerMagic100WinsBlanket

Derby Lane’s Darling Diva, Husker Magic, has certainly owned up to her Team Captain title of the 2015 All-America Team. Since she was announced team captain, Husker Magic has racked up 104 career wins, an accomplishment managed only by the best of the best of greyhound racing and put her as 34th on The All Time Wins List. She was also announced the Rural Rube winner for 2015 in March of this year. On June 4th, the Blonde Bombshell won Derby Lane’s T. L. Weaver Memorial Challenge, adding another title to her already impressive resume. With no signs of Husker Magic slowing down, we look forward to watching her continue to work her magic on the track.

FlyingFiredUp

Flying Fired Up has seen continued success at Southland. He’s remained competitive through the S, SA, and AA grades with consistent in-the-money races. Flying Fired Up is currently on layoff due to a minor injury. We look forward to seeing him come back into action once he’s recovered.

NeedMyMoneynow

Previously the star at Gulf Greyhound Park, Need My Moneynow has adjusted nicely at Orange Park. Consistently finishing in the money, he has 14 wins and 5 places out of 19 starts since March 18th. Need My Moneynow also added bestbet’s $1,500 Sweet Sixteen title to his resume in March. He is currently on a 4 win streak and we will be cheering him next time he races to make that a 5 win streak.

BsHeadliner

As both an excellent sprinter and long distance runner, B’s Headliner was nominated for both 2015 sprint and distance awards: the Rural Rube and Flashy Sir. Being nominated for both awards is a feat only few greyhounds achieve. B’s Headliner retired in February of this year to dam in Abilene, Kansas. We wish her the best in her retirement.

SeldomTold

After the closure of Gulf Greyhound Park, Seldom Told moved to Orange Park, where he adapted to the track very quickly. “Seldomly” does he not win, finishing first in 49 out of 66 starts, 10 of which have been out of his total 12 races at Orange Park. We last saw him running in the James J. Patton Silver Cup in March, winning the first round and placing in the second, but he had to withdraw from the stakes due to an injured toe. Seldom Told has spent the last few months nursing his injury, but he’s ready to return to the track. He’s scheduled for a schooling race on Monday, June 20th at Orange Park. D. Q. Williams Kennel hopes to have him entered in the upcoming bestbet Spring Classic. With Seldom Told’s consistent first place streaks, we can’t wait to see him tearing up the track again.

BocsHankJr

After the closure of Bluffs Run, Boc’s Hank Jr moved to Southland where he has been racing since March of this year. He recently had a three win streak in May and has settled in nicely at Southland, where he is currently participating in the $50,000 Southland Derby. Watch this pup for more exciting racing action!

HighlyClassified

Highlyclassified earned the Flashy Sir award this year in March, one month after the announcement that he was on the All-America first team. Since then, he has continued to race at Derby Lane and will run in the $40,000 St. Petersburg Derby, with round 1 kicking off tomorrow, June 18th. After the St. Petersburg Derby, Highlyclassifed will retire to Kansas where he will stand as a stud, not surprising with his impressive resume. We wish Highlyclassified all the best in his future retirement.

StormControl

In April of 2015, Storm Control retired due to an injury, but that didn’t stop this greyhound from making the All-America first team. While this may seem surprising, you wouldn’t think so once you checked out his impressive racing history. In those 3 short months in 2015, Storm Control had finished first 18 of 28 starts at Palm Beach, winning the 2015 He’s My Man and the 2015 Arthur J. Rooney Sr. St. Patrick’s Invitational. We look forward to seeing his lineage on the racetrack.

Whether on hiatus, retirement, breeding, or racking up the wins at their racetracks, the Greyt Eight are still on our “watch” list. We anticipate seeing even more exciting feats from these pups through the rest of the year. Thanks to the greyhound owners, kennels, and tracks for hosting these athletes.

We look forward to seeing what the future holds for these hounds and the next generation of racers. Who will be on AGTOA’s 2016 All-America teams? Only time will tell.

Greyhound Genetics

GreyhoundGenetics

Greyhounds are bred for speed and athletic ability and are not limited to breeding simply for attractive coat and eye color combinations. Because of this, greyhounds can have a variety of coat and eye color combinations, some of which you may not see in other common dog breeds. Officially there are 18 colors of greyhound coats with a total of 55 variations available.

Greyhound_Color_Chart1
Image courtesy of Recycled Racers.

We know the pup’s coat and eye color depend on their parents; specifically, their genetics. There are three “main” greyhound colors: black, red brindle, and red. The greyhound receives one of these three genes from each of their parents, which is the basis for their coat color. Then, a gene modifier is passed down from both parents, which is what allows for the different coat variations.

One of the rarer genes passed down from greyhound parents to pup is the blue gene (a recessive modifier on the black gene). In order for a greyhound to have a blue coat or any variation of blue, the blue gene must be passed down by both parents. This unique gene makes blue greyhounds a rarity.

If you’re not familiar, “blue” is the term used when a greyhound has a gray coat.

Ethel-Is-Here
ETHEL IS HERE. Photo courtesy of Jeff Prince, Customer Service Manager at Palm Beach Kennel Club.

Recently in the racing spotlight, ETHEL IS HERE (TRENT LEE X J’S AIYSSA), is a beautiful blue greyhound. Her sire TRENT LEE is a black pup and dam J’S AIYSSA is blue.

Greyhound_Trent_Lee-big
TRENT LEE. Image courtesy of Greyhound Data.

TRENT LEE (BRETT LEE X SAN TAN GEM) has sired 3,860 puppies, of which 337 (8.7%) are blue. Interestingly, TRENT LEE’s sire and dam were both black. From this information, we know TRENT LEE passes down the blue recessive gene modifer, which is something he received both from his sire and dam. The same goes for J’S AIYSSA’s dam and sire, since she herself is blue.

Without going into the finer points of genetics, it makes us wonder what ETHEL IS HERE’s litter coloring would be. This hypothetical litter would depend on the sire, too, of course.

Speculation aside, the sire statistics can tell us one thing: greyhounds’ coat and eye color are not factors when it comes to racing. We were unable to find any scientific indicators that link a pup’s athletic prowess directly to the color of their eyes, or coat. However, we did find several articles on the science of greyhound genetics and would like to share with you one of our favorites.

We perused Greyhound Articles Online, a resource full of greyhound-related articles. The article on the subject of coat coloring was incredibly interesting and it related all of the genetic science, too. If you get a free moment, we encourage you to check it out here: Rainbow Colors – Rainbow Greyhounds. This article first appeared in the Spring 1999 issue of Celebrating Greyhounds Magazine and was written by Patricia Gail Burnham.

As breed enthusiasts, we can fawn (no pun intended) over our favorite colored pups. At the end of the day, we know that all greyhounds have one thing in common: they love to run.

 

Be sure to check out the greyt resource, Greyhound Articles Online. GAO is home to seemingly endless articles written by well-known folks in the field, spanning through many years. They host material from many greyhound-related publications (with permission, of course). Thanks also to Greyhound Data for all of the photos and information on greyhound lineage and sire statistics.

This Week with The Professor: Running Time a Major Factor?

TP-GreyhoundRunningTime

Seeing a pup’s race time on a program can give you a general idea of their performance. But is a greyhound’s running time a major handicapping factor? Here’s what The Professor has to say about it.

Generally, a greyhound’s running time is not a major handicapping factor. There are a few reasons that this is not a major, or even an important, factor when handicapping a race. The next time you’re handicapping and trying to make heads or tails of the greyhound’s race time, keep the following in mind.

Reason one: The greyhound’s time will be affected by the track racing surface. The surface varies from one day to the next, depending on weather or how the track was conditioned by track maintenance.

Reason two: The greyhound’s time will be affected by how the race is actually run. In a race with a lot of trouble or maneuvering, the time will be slower than a race would be without 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.

Reason three: Early speed dogs will generally have faster times than pups who are closers because they do not have to maneuver around other dogs during the race.

A common saying among top greyhound handicappers is, “Time is only a factor if you are catching a plane.”

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 in to our new podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel, for news and more greyt tips from The Professor.

Sorceress of Sprint: Husker Magic

Something extraordinary happened Monday afternoon, May 16th, at Derby Lane. It wasn’t that the 2015 Rural Rube award winner Husker Magic coasted to another 550 yard Grade A win, but in this event, she tallied victory number 100 in her 156th start. Just as rare is that this 72 pound four year old fawn female, when not romping in stake races, has never dropped from grade A company. Jointly owned by Jim and Kayruth Abernathy and Terry and Lisa Haber, the Sorceress of Sprint is a member of the Abernathy Kennel roster. According to Kayruth, Husker Magic has a sweet, laid back temperament and prefers to remain indoors. Her turnouts last about ten or fifteen minutes; just long enough to take care of business and greet kennel mates. Husker Magic, then, routinely stands facing the door waiting to be returned to her crate with a cookie in her mouth.

Husker Magic Blanket.jpg

When asked about Husker Magic’s 100th career win, Kayruth said the achievement was “unbelievable!” Jim elaborated saying “how rare it is for dogs to reach the 100th victory mark.”

Abernathy Kennel is no stranger to campaigning champions or hypersonic runners, though. In 2014, distance specialist Odd Greyson claimed the Flashy Sir award, capturing 44 wins in 131 career starts while a potential stud pilgrimage to Ireland is under current negotiations.

Third generation dog man Jim Abernathy is quick to credit the kennel’s success to the joint efforts of wife and kennel co-owner Kayruth, trainer Claudio Lopez, and helper Jordany Rodriguez. Kayruth, a Venezualan national, graduated from University of the Andes in 1999 with a degree in education, later taught second grade, and also modeled in her native country. In 2001, she ventured to Florida to study English and that March, attended races at Derby Lane with a friend. There, she met Jim and they were married April 21, 2003. Ironically many decades ago, Jim’s parents, James, Sr., and Carol Abernathy also met at a greyhound track and exchanged vows shortly after. Fourth year Abernathy Kennel trainer, Claudio Lopez, born in Mexico, enjoys cooking and the beach almost as much as greyhounds. Introduced to Jim and Kayruth by their son, he started working in the kennel and has never looked back. Helper Jordany Rodriguez, who hails from Cuba, formerly employed as a Derby Lane leadout, joined Team Abernathy last November. Jim believes that Abernathy Kennel and its sixty-five charges are fortunate to not only have the most loving and dedicated staff in the compound, but possibly in the country.

Team Abernathy Kennel

As Greyhound Channel anticipates Husker Magic’s presence in upcoming qualifiers for the T. L. Weaver Memorial Classic to be run on June 6th, Jim Abernathy remains collected. He said she’ll run until she doesn’t want to anymore. He looks ahead to her career as a brood and speculates the Flying Penske line may prove a successful match. Flashing even further into the future, when she’s finished with motherhood, the Sorceress of Sprint will spend her “Golden Years” with the Abernathys inside their Orlando home with a stockpile of cookies. However, Kayruth, who converses in Spanish with her daily, hasn’t heard Husker Magic utter a word about retirement. How fortunate for racing fans that can’t wait for her to cast a spell before victory number 101…

Wednesday Wisdom: Cooling Down!

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom brings you a fact about greyhounds! With help from our friends at Greyhound Facts, we hope to help expand your greyhound racing knowledge, whether you are an experienced greyhound racing spectator or are new to the sport.

Summer is right around the corner and, with it, rising temperatures! We will take a look at how greyhound athletes stay cool in warm weather, but first let’s answer the question: Why do greyhounds overheat easier than other breeds? As you can see when you look at a greyhound, they have a thin coat and very little fat. Because of this, greyhounds don’t have the same insulation as other breeds do to help regulate their body temperature from cold and hot weather. During hot temperatures, it is important that greyhounds stay cool to prevent overheating.

DogDays_Image

At the track, greyhound athletes are cooled down and walked after they race. Combining water cooling techniques and walking them helps to lower their heart rate and body temperature. It also aids in relaxing their muscles.

Tracks have different forms of water cooling techniques; Walk through tanks, dip tanks, kiddie pools, and hoses are some examples of what are used.

WednesdayWisdom_CoolDown

For your greyhounds at home, and other breeds too, it’s important to avoid overheating by walking and exercising your pets at cooler times of the day, typically in the morning and evening. Plenty of accessible drinking water is key and, if your pet is up for it, spraying them down after walking and playing in the heat or relaxing in a kiddie pool are quick ways to cool down your dog. Of course, if you’re ever worried your pet is experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call your veterinarian immediately.

Stay cool this Summer and remember to keep your pets cool, too!

GreyhoundFactsLogo_Web

Greyhound Facts is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Their mission is to provide a place to learn about all aspects of present day greyhound racing in the USA from those with hands on experience. Their network of volunteers includes people who are actively involved in the breeding, raising, training, and rehoming of these wonderful hounds, as well as those who adopt them. To find out more, visit: http://www.greyhoundfacts.org/.

Do you have suggestions or questions you would like answered? Let us know in the comments section!

She Did It: HUSKER MAGIC’s 100th Win!

HuskerMagic100Wins

SHE DID IT!

Are we surprised? No. Are we thrilled? Absolutely.

We’ve long been supporters of Derby Lane’s Darling Diva, having featured her throughout the years in our Inside Lure newsletter and here in our blog. Last week we talked about the Blonde Bombshell in our Catch the Action podcast and speculated about her 100th win–but wow, she did it!

From Imark Kennels and racing for the Jim Abernathy Kennel, the 2015 AGTOA All-America team captain and 2015 Rural Rube award winner, HUSKER MAGIC, is in the spotlight again having earned her 100th career victory on Monday, May 16, 2016 at Derby Lane. Although, can we say she’s in the spotlight again when she’s really never left it?

Now more than ever before, HUSKER MAGIC truly is among racing royalty. She now belongs to an elite group of greyhound athletes, both active and retired, who have individually managed to earn 100 career wins.

After HUSKER MAGIC’S 100th win accomplishment, we chatted with Kayruth Abernathy and got the inside scoop on what’s next for the accomplished sprinter. Stay tuned to the blog this coming Friday, May 27 for our exclusive interview!

Be sure to watch for her racing tonight at Derby Lane’s evening card, race 10. We’re crossing our fingers for her tonight; here’s hoping for HUSKER MAGIC’S career win 101!

This Week with The Professor: “Resulters” & Negativity

TP-ResultersNegativity

This week, we check in with The Professor for tips on being confident with your choices. Don’t second guess yourself. Let a loss go and stay positive!

One of the things I discovered when I started playing the races was that you must have a couple of traits to be a consistent winner. One of those traits is to have confidence, and also, be positive. You must believe that you are good at what you are doing.

Don’t be afraid to play the greyhounds you like, regardless of the odds. I believe in the saying, “if you are afraid of losing, you WILL lose.”

Another trait that is necessary is the ability to let a loss go and move on. This is where the term “resulter” comes from. A “resulter” is someone who is always complaining about the last race; they should have won, but didn’t. This promotes negativity and is a sure way to bankruptcy. Watch the replay of the race to see why your selection won or lost, learn from it, and move on.

This same principle holds true in sports. The players who are successful are the ones who can learn from a mistake, then forget about it and not dwell on the negative.  Always try to be positive and you will reap the rewards.

 

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 in to our new podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel, for news and more greyt tips from The Professor.