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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

  Fix A Drink – (76 Points) OP Career Totals (36/20-3-3-1) BD – M May 2016 Pat C Clement – Barts Sweet Pea Owned By – Kate Bartley Runs for the Jim Blanchard Kennel Trained by Mark Blair

Not a real big surprise here as the most recent stakes winner at the racetrack, Fix A Drink, posted up 4 straight wins in qualifying to dominate in the top spot heading into this final round race. Competing in his second stakes, and his second final, he has something to prove as he has not yet lost against the best at the racetrack. Clearly it is tough to narrow it down to just one effort to talk about, as he won 4 times, but let’s see if we can give you a clear example of this Blanchard Kennel greyhounds true form. Even though he won by 8 in round number one, that was probably not his best race. As the rounds move on, the competition gets tougher, and start after start he continued to make it look easy. In the third round he showed just what he can do around the racetrack. Breaking has never been his forte, but rushing to the turn, well that is another matter. Coming out 6th at the start, he took full advantage of the space in front of him and put the hammer down. Bursting up the front stretch with every stride he took, he outran the field to the front end and took control at the turn. Once his nose is in front, he is a whole different greyhound. Breezing in the clear air up there, he continued to push the pace and drive away from the chasers. By the far turn he had put two more lengths on this field and coasted all the way to the finish line for the easy victory. Clearly, he will be the post time favorite to win the whole shooting match, but he will still have to work against this talented field. Post position could be important to him as he doesn’t break the best and needs room to rush the turn. Outside, specifically the 8 box, is where he wants to be! He has never lost a race in his career, 9 in a row, when starting from the 8 box. The pressure is on, let’s see if he can run the table in the 2018 James J Patton Silver Cup and take home the top prize in the riches stakes race of the year.

Jedi Texas Acre – (69 Points) OP Career Totals (48/22-10-5-1) W BD – M August 2015 Hallo West Acre – Sakkara Wave Owned By – Louie Rivera Runs for the Ocala Kennel Trained by Antonette Gerard

Back from TEXAS and taking to the racetrack like a moth to a flame, Jedi Texas Acre posted up 3 wins, and a second-place finish, for the Ocala Kennel in qualifying. It’s hard to believe, but this was his first shot at stakes racing competition at bestbet Jacksonville and he made it all the way to the finals. What has really improved over the last month or so has been his break, and that made all the difference for him in the rounds. In each round he came out close, either first or second, and that allowed him to outrush the rest and be in the lead at the first turn in all four of his qualifying races. The best example of this was in his semi-final round race. There he broke quick, pulled even with the leaders, outrushed everyone to the lead, and continued to dominate on the front end all the way to the finish line. He never looked back and was easily the best greyhound in the field on that occasion. Post position has been helping on his journey as well. It is always easy to say a greyhound likes the rail or outside posts, but it takes courage to say that one like the 4 box. I have proof to back it up though. Acre has won 5 of his last 6 efforts in the green blanket, and in the other, he was caught late and finished 2nd by a length. He finds room with that extra space between the boxes and could continue to factor even if he draws the midtrack posts. Clearly, breaking has been his best attribute and he needs to keep it up tonight if he wants a chance to win at the wire.

L’s Sum Dog – (62 Points) OP Career Totals (80/25-20-8-11) W BD – M September 2015 Lonesome Cry – L’s Rovi Owned By – Ken Le Febvre Runs for the Jim Blanchard Kennel Trained by Mark Blair

L’s Sum Dog is as fast as he wants to be, and it was on clear display in all the rounds of the stakes. Winning twice, and finishing second twice, he was a closing machine in all the rounds of qualifying for the Jim Blanchard Kennel. Running his 4th stakes, and in his 3rd final, he is no stranger to winning against talented fields of greyhounds. He took home the trophy twice last year in the Redemption stakes, and the Holiday Stakes Consolation race. L’s Sum Dog possess gears late that several in this race just wish they had. When he wants to go and run someone down, he does. He was the only greyhound to beat Jedi Texas Acre in qualifying, and that came in the second round of the stakes. There he broke closer than normal and was pushing the pace from the start. Chasing the leader, he was reeling him in all the way around the racetrack, and in the stretch, he hit the turbos and stole away the victory at the finish line. It seems the rest right before the stakes did him well, and that might not be the only advantage he would have if he gets the right post position come Saturday evening. Red is where he wants to be! Just give him the one box, and the rest of this field could be in trouble. In 13 career starts from the one box, he has won 10 times and finished in the quiniela in 12 occasions. All he must do is be in the conversation at the break, and he will factor at the wire.

 Midnight Loot – (62 Points) OP Career Totals (16/8-4-1-1) BK – F July 2015 Soprano Drive – World Of My Own Owned By – Dave Robinette or Plum Creek Runs for Global Racing, Inc Trained by Eric Griffin

Midnight Loot might be new to the racetrack, but the way she has been running, she looks as if she has been a factor for years here at bestbet Jacksonville. Bursting from the box and factoring throughout has gotten her this far, the finals, in her first ever attempt at stakes racing competition. With a pair of wins and a pair of second place finishes in the rounds, she is the first of two in the finals for the new kids on the block, Global Racing. Never was her box beating moves more on display than in her semi-final race in the 2018 James J Patton Silver Cup. There, she exploded to the front end and left the field far behind her in the first few strides. Pushing the pace as the rushed the turn, she was already 2 lengths clear of the talented field and was looking for more. Around the turn she went, then down the backside, and through the far turn, her lead never diminished. But that would all change in the stretch. She put it into another gear and drove away toward the finish line 3.5 lengths better than the rest. But it is not just about the early speed, she can come on late too, and just missed a prefect run by length in one rounds and a neck in the other. No doubt that she will need to get our fast to have a shot to win, but the post could aide her in this effort as well. The inside posts seem to be where she wants to start from. Anything inside the 4 box, and she could plunder the LOOT from everyone at the finish line.

WW Whatsapp – (53 Points) OP Career Totals (14/7-0-2-2) W R – M March 2016 Kc And All – WW’s Sweet Heart Owned By – Jaws Racing, LLC. Runs for Global Racing, Inc Trained by Eric Griffin

Finding his form and growing up right before our eyes was the other Global Racing greyhound in the finals, Ww Whatsapp. Coming into the rounds, no greyhound was hotter, he has just won 3 races in a row, and he put up two more wins, for 5 straight, in the first two rounds of the stakes. The streak came to an end, but he still managed to stay in the money throughout with a 3rd and 4th place finish to round out qualifying. He impressed everyone with a 10-length win in round 1, but his second-round trip was really showed who he is on the racetrack. Not clearly early, he was close, had to work a bit to get clear, and was just stalking the leader around the turn and down the backside. By the 660 box, he was done chasing, and decided it was time to take control of the race. Driving hard, he stole away a couple of lengths as they turned for home, but he was nowhere close to being done just yet. Expanding his margin, he drove away from the field and easily was best at the finish line. This closer is toughest when he breaks, but he can come from off the pace as well and score at the wire. Another dual threat with little experience, that could factor at the were as well. As for post positions, this greyhound would like to be somewhere on the inside to the rail positions at the start. If he can get back to breaking in the final, after a couple of starts where he was slower from the box, he too has a chance to take home the hardware at the wire.

LK’s Black Gold – (52 Points) OP Career Totals (55/27-11-8-2) BK – F October 2015 Jack’s Big Lad – LK’s Live Wire Owned By – Jill Lashmet Runs for the Lashmet Kennel Trained by Randell Graham

LK’s Black Gold is a cagey veteran that knows how to wins races and make it into finals here at bestbet Jacksonville. This one will be her 3rd final for the Lashmet Kennel in 4 attempts and those include a second-place finish in the redemption stakes and a 3rd place effort in the Holiday Sprint Stakes final. Here she made it into the elite eight with a win, a pair of seconds, and a third-place finish. Her best effort was obviously the victory, and that was where she showed her true colors. She is a breaking and front running machine, and that is exactly what she did in the first-round race. Hitting the lid, she stole away a couple of lengths over the field early on and come the wire she would need every inch. As she progressed through the race, she saw her lead dwindle, and in the stretch, it nearly evaporated into thin air. Lucky for her, she made it to the wire and scored those 19 points, which helped her get a spot in this final round field. As everyone knows, breaking is what really sets the tone for her in her efforts. She can pay for it late though and has been short in the stretch against talented closers. Post position is not that important if she hits the lid, but it could aide in her efforts. Looking through the lines, the edges, inside or outside, either one, would be a good place for her to start from. If she hopes to win this race, she must come out running and have the early lead tonight.

Drink It Off – (44 Points) OP Career Totals (35/17-6-4-1) F BD– M May 2016 Pat C Clement – Barts Sweet Pea Owned By – Kate Bartley Runs for the Double J Kennel Trained by Chris Maynard

Lucky for Drink It Off that he showed up in the first three rounds of the stakes, a pair of wins and second place effort, as he stumbled out of the starting box in the semis and finished last. Either way he won enough points to find himself here in his third straight stakes final for the Double J Kennel. The winner of the 2018 Orange Park Derby, is the only multi round stakes winner in this field, who can get it done with or without the early lead in any race. Remember he can run sprints too as he missed by a half a length to his brother, and fellow finalist, Fix A Drink in and finals of the Holiday Sprint Stakes. Breaking, has never been his strong suit though, but rushing to the turn is. He has a similar style to his brother, and it was in full effect in round number two. There he came out slowly but made the most of the clean lane in front of him from the 8 box. He drove up into contention at the turn, chased the leaders to the far turn, and then took over the race. He drove harder with every step he took home and stretched his lead by 3 lengths from the far turn to the wire for the win. For sure he will prefer the outside post positions in this field, but he has shown that he can fire and run well from the inside boxes too. Just give him some room to rush, and he will be in the hunt at the first turn in this effort. Late he might be the best closer we have left in the stakes and can run down several of the other finalist late. He must not let the leaders get away too far early tonight, if he wants a chance to win back to back stakes races over 2 different distance.

Speedo Tuxedo – (43 Points) OP Career Totals (67/20-11-9-9) BK – M October 2015 Makeshift – Kiowa Jill Vik Owned By – Dianne Shadle Runs for the Ocala Kennel Trained by Antonette Gerard

Last, but not least, is Speedo Tuxedo who gets another chance at a stakes title after competing in three and making the finals twice for the Ocala Kennel. Running well throughout the rounds, Speedo Tuxedo never missed the money and recorded a win, a pair of thirds, and a fourth-place effort. Breaking well and leading early is what he is known for, but so is coming up short at the end of the race. Lucky for him, round one turned out to be a box to wire win, not a lead early and surrender late effort like his other three trips. Coming out strong early, he got a nose in front at the turn to take the lead down the backside. There he drew away from the field and took a comfortable lead around the far turn and down the stretch. Relaxing all the way to the wire on the lead, he crossed as the easy winner a couple of lengths ahead of the rest of the field. Against this talented field, Tuxedo might get overlooked, but don’t be fooled. This greyhound has won multiple grade A’s and can get to the turn like nobody’s business. Post position could aide him in this race, especially if he could get something on the edges. He likes it on the rail and the far outside and has won multiple races from each area of the racetrack. Just because he was the final greyhound to get into the race, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t belong here. If he can steal a bunch early, and get some help behind, he could be upset minded tonight.