The first round of the 2017 Ironhound Stakes was run over the 660-yard course on Friday evening March 17th, and we saw a couple of great efforts for not only the win, but to finish up into the money at the wire. Kudos to WW Blair from the Sarras Kennel and Trackinfo Rich from the Ward Kennel for taking home the top spot in the first round of qualifying.
Trackinfo Rich took home the win in the 15th race on the card with an all-out determined effort. Breaking behind the leaders, he was in chase mode from the get go as Boc’s Queen Lady seized early control and drove off the lure from the rest of the field. Cruising around the racetrack on the front end, she stretched her lead to 3 full lengths over the rest of the field at the far turn, but it was not over yet. Digging in deep, Trackinfo Rich just kept on coming. Swinging out wide, he tuned on the jets and just continued to make up ground with every step he took. Over and over he went to the well and came back with a bucket full of close. As the duo crept closer to the wire, Queen Lady’s lead dwindled and dwindled and in a flash, it was gone. At the finish line, it would take a photo to separate them. Rich got up by a nose and ousted the leader at the wire. Boc’s Queen Lady had to settle for second after a strong front running effort. Coming on strong late, Mr Tito stole away third from the steady chasing threat Sheezsohot at the finish line. Completing the field was Lee Trinity in 5th, Jack’s Big Drama in 6th, Pat C Da Ta in 7th, and CBJ Sooner in 8th.
WW Blair won the 11th race on the card, but did it in a different fashion. Breaking right behind the leader, Boc’s Free Bee, WW Blair chased the back early and took over around the turn and down the backside. Pat C Hartie also made a move as the early leader left he rail open and allowed others to go on by. Blair continued to flourish in the clean air up front and stretched his margin to 3 full lengths as they headed for home. Down the homestretch, it was apparent that no one was going to get to him as the never let up and crossed the finish line easily ahead of the rest of the greyhounds in this round 1 race. Winning by 2.5 lengths, Blair showed that he was clearly the best greyhound in this field tonight. Second went to the always gaining Pat C Hartie on the rail. A big effort, just not quite good enough tonight to score a victory. The real battle in this race was for third as everyone was trying to get into the trifecta in the stretch. It all came down to a tight photo finish as 3rd through 6th were separated by just a length at the finish line. Stealing away the show spot was the mighty closer Fiesta Bonker. Coming from well off the pace, Bonkers late rush was just too much for the rest in the stretch. Fourth was the early leader Boc’s Fee Bee, followed by Dutch Reagan in 5th, JS Beer Pressure in 6th, Jack’s Full Moon in 7th, and Herstal in 8th.
The second round of the stakes, two trips over the 330-yard course, will take place on Monday evening March 20th at bestbet Jacksonville. Points will be added together and all the finalist will return for round number three on Saturday evening March 25th for the 550 Yard leg. The top 8 point getters will make it into the finals which will be run over 770 yards on Saturday evening April 1st at bestbet Jacksonville.