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Monday, November 27, 2017

Before the first round of the $65,000 West Virginia Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association Middle Distance 3/8 Stakes at Wheeling Island, a handful of racers – GF Taras Tango, Hit Me Chief, GF Street Song, GLS Chief and Mac’s Finn – looked like solid contenders for a spot in the championship final.

On Saturday afternoon, all five will go to post in Race 20 with a shot of winning the final stakes event of the year at Wheeling Island. Completing the final field are Bo Bo Bruiser, GF Calamity Kate and Billy Bibbit.

GF Taras Tango (Patriot/Taplin) tops all qualifiers for the championship final with 32 points followed by Hit Me Chief (Steve Sarras), 31 points; GLS Chief (Jacobs Racing), 30 points; Billy Bibbit (Steve Sarras) and GF Street Song (Patriot/Taplin), 28 points each; Bo Bo Bruiser (Steve Sarras) and GF Calamity Kate (Patriot/Taplin), 27 points each; and Mac’s Finn (A Ray), 24 points.

The post positions for the final follow:

1—Bo Bo Bruiser 2—Hit Me Chief 3—GF Taras Tango 4—GF Street Song 5—GLS Chief 6—GF Calamity Kate 7—Mac’s Finn 8—Billy Bibbit

Following are capsule looks at the eight finalists by post position:

1 – Bo Bo Bruiser (Steve Sarras Kennel, trainer Cris Ohler): had a first, a third and a fourth in the qualifiers; went right to the front in all three preliminary round races; will need to steal several lengths early, can be short in stretch.

2 – Hit Me Chief (Steve Sarras Kennel, trainer Cris Ohler): had a pair of victories – both from the eight hole – and a seventh in the three qualifying races; just needs a clean trip through the first turn, has some closing speed if close.

3 – GF Taras Tango (Patriot/Taplin Kennel, trainer Joe Otto): had a first, a second and a third in the preliminary round races – qualifying as the top point producer; can catch any greyhound in the final field, if not too far back.

4 – GF Street Song (Patriot/Taplin Kennel, trainer Joe Otto): had a first, a second and a fifth in the early rounds; went to the front in all of her preliminary round races; needs the front early, won’t come from off the pace.

5 – GLS Chief (Jacobs Racing Kennel, trainer Louise Strong): had a first, a second and a fourth in the qualifiers; Tr-State invader has taken to the Wheeling surface; needs to break decent and duck in behind the early speed.

6 – GF Calamity Kate (Patriot/Taplin Kennel, trainer Joe Otto): had a pair of seconds and a third in the early round races, but all from preferred inside holes; probably needs to break and be near the lead to have a shot.

7 – Mac’s Finn (A Ray Kennel, trainer Joe Palmer): had a win, a third and a sixth in the preliminary outings; can be a powerful force on the front end early; may face a tall task though, outrushing the early speed on the inside.

8 – Billy Bibbit (Steve Sarras Kennel, trainer Cris Ohler): had a win, a second and a fifth in the early rounds; needs to get around the first turn clean and within striking distance at the escape; has some finishing speed.

RACE ANALYSIS: Look for Bo Bo Bruiser, GF Street Song and GF Calamity Kate to break sharp and vie for the early lead. Right behind the frontrunners should be a group including Hit Me Chief, GLS Chief and GF Taras Tango as they hit the escape turn. Down the backstretch, Hit Me Chief and GLS Chief will start to reel in the frontrunners as GF Taras Tango still bides her time behind the leaders. As the greyhounds round the final turn, GF Taras Tango will find her powerful closing gear and explode to the wire on top by the smallest of margins over GLS Chief.

Let’s go $1 trifecta, 3-5-all, 3-all-5 and 3 over 1, 2, 8. On the side, a perfecta box 3-5.

I was introduced to greyhound racing by a friend in the late 1970s at Wheeling Downs and fell in love with the sport and the athletes immediately. Throughout the years, I have developed a deep passion for racing. In the mid 1990s, I started writing a weekly greyhound column and shortly thereafter became a writer for The Greyhound Review.

I have enjoyed watching and writing about these wonderful competitors, including All-Americans DD's Nelson, Kiowa Sweet Trey, Gene's Champion, WW Apple Jax, Greys Royalcrown, Nimby TP Jan, Hi Noon Hero, Gable Sour Cream, KB's Ruckus and Cry Case.