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Monday, October 9, 2017

DUBUQUE, Iowa – At the halfway point of the qualifying rounds for the $148,000 Iowa Breeders Cup at Iowa Greyhound Park, a pair of greyhounds lead the charge.

Kobayashi and Premium Grade share the top spot having earned the maximum of 40 points.

Premium Grade (Stidham Racing) went box-to-wire from the five box to win in round two. The 78-pounder, born Jan. 15, 2015 out of Djays Octane – Jet Force, had the fastest time, 30.59 seconds, among the second round winners, and the largest margin of victory, five and a half lengths. Premium Grade is 24-17-3-0 for the season.

Kobayashi (Stidham) ran out an impressive box-to-wire victory from the four box in round two, winning going away by five lengths. That comes on top of a come-from-behind two-length win in the first round. Kobayashi, an 83-pounder born July 6, 2015 out of Sh Avatar – Money Maid, moved into the quarterfinals with a 21-13-1-4 record.

A step behind with 32 points is Flex Fuel (Stidham), 21-8-6-3; Bgr Yeah Yeah (Boeckenstedt), 25-4-6-6; Konomi (Stidham), 19-15-3-0 and Sh Tomfoolery (Stidham) 22-8-5-1.

Four more greyhounds sit with 28 points.

At the other end of the list Star From Heaven (Xtrem Hess), 27-4-1-1 was the last greyhound into the quarterfinals with seven points. But all 48 greyhounds that advance have a chance; a pair of wins in the two remaining rounds would give any of the greyhounds enough points to have a shot at a berth in the championship race.

The field returns to action on Wednesday, October 11, for the third round. After the third round, the field will be cut in half so that 24 greyhounds will run in the fourth round on Sunday, October 15.

The Iowa Breeders Cup championship race and the consolation race will run on Saturday, October 21.

I'm a native of the Washington, D.C., area and a graduate of the University of Maryland. I'm now retired after a two-decade plus stint as the sports editor of the Council Bluffs, Iowa, Daily Nonpareil.