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Friday, March 9, 2018

Flying Wolf Pack and Magnetic Drive Tabbed for NGA Awards

A Southland sprinter and a distance specialist from Naples have picked up the NGA’s annual Awards; Flying Wolf Pack winning the 47th Annual NGA Rural Rube Award as the nation’s top sprinter for 2017, and Magnetic Drive capturing the Flashy Sir Award as the best distance greyhound in the land. Wolf Pack easily outdistanced all vote getters for the Rural Rube and Magnetic Drive edged out Janice Dean for the Flashy Sir in this year’s voting.

A 2014 son of Flying Lone Wolf-PJ Aces Up, Wolf Pack captured three stake races and made the final of another on his way to winning 30 races and capturing the win title at Southland for the year. He also put together a 10 race win streak against the best in the country and was easily tabbed as the best sprinter in the land. He was also voted Captain of the All American by the AGTOA.

Owned by Vince Berland and racing for the Lester Raines Kennel, Wolf Pack started the year on a slow note winning just twice in his first 12 starts. As stake action picked up however, he put it in gear in time to capture the Hound Madness Championship in March. Next up was the Southland Sprint. After impressive qualifying wins, he was bumped at the break and ran 4th in the final to eventual winner, Bar Gin. After a couple more rough trips and a brief layoff, Wolf Pack came back with a vengeance, reeling off ten straight wins including a victory in the Best of the Best Series. He had two wins in stakes qualifying on his way to a game win in the $150,000 Darby Henry Male Sprint during the Southland Festival of Stakes. He finished out 2017 with 5 more wins giving him 30 for the year. His final stat line for the year was 61-30-9-7-5, almost a 50% win clip. A well deserved award and congratulations to Vince, Raines Kennel and all the connections of Flying Wolf Pack!

Runner-up in the Rural Rube voting was Randy Toler’s RT’s Bo Jangles who raced for Cal Holland at Derby Lane. This son of Kiowa Mon Manny-Penrose Karrie captured the National win title this past year after winning 45 races at the St. Pete oval. He also picked up a couple of stake wins and was named to the All American team as well. He compiled an amazing 71-45-12-4-4 record over the course of 2017 and most likely would have been a shoe in for the Rural Rube in any other year.

Others high in the voting for the Rural Rube were Bob Hardison’s Konomi, Anthony Napolitano’s Janice Dean, John & Bob Hardison’s Bar Gin and Jon Stidham’s JD Implosion.

Voting was much closer in the Flashy Sir contest. In a very competitive race, six greyhounds received double digit votes and were separated by only six votes in total. In the end Magnetic Drive won out over Janice Dean, Flyin Honor Code, Raiders Bacardi, Red Handed and Ethanol, in that order.

Magnetic Drive is a white and red son of Flying Westover-Johara and is owned by Anthony Napolitano, Jr. His dam, Johara, finished 4th in the final 2017 Dam Standings. He raced for the Brindle Kennel at Naples for the majority of the year. His 2017 campaign at Naples was nothing short of extraordinary. He was dubbed the “Phenom” by the Naples chartwriter based on his many unbelievable performances. His credentials for the year read as follows: Naples Marathon Champion, 2nd in the Naples Derby to Fire Blitzen, track win leader, fastest 3/8ths time of year, fastest marathon time of the year, and AGTOA All American. Overall 2017 record – 47-32-6-1-2.

He began the year on a good note winning his first start on January 1st. From there he would pick up 13 more wins in 18 starts including winning all qualifying rounds heading into the Naples Derby. In the final he lost to Fire Blitzen by a length and a half in a tough, tough race. With the Derby over, he would switch to the 7/16 distance and after a 2nd place finish in his first effort, the “Phenom” would reel off six wins in a row including a victory in the Naples Marathon Championship. During qualifying he ripped off the season’s fastest time for the distance of 42.65.

After winning the Marathon stake he switched back to 3/8ths and would win 10 of his next 12 outings, finishing 2nd and 3rd in the other two. Several of those wins would be by double digit margins including a 10 length win on April 26 run in a time of 38.11, the fastest time for that distance at Naples for the year. Earlier in the season he had won a race by 13 lengths in a time of 38.12, which was the best 3/8ths time until his performance in April. Over the first 5 months of the year he would have win streaks of 6, 4, 6 and 7 at one time or another.

A minor injury required a 3 month layoff and in September he moved on to Flagler, schooling in and winning a couple sprint races before heading to Southland to meet up with the “big boys”. He won his first start at Southland but has since struggled somewhat and is looking to return to his winning form. He won a total of 32 races for the year which is a great feat considering he missed 3 months of year recuperating. Congratulations to Mr. Napolitano, Brindle Kennel and all the connections of Magnetic Drive!

The 47th Annual NGA Rural Rube and Flashy Sir awards will be presented at the awards ceremonies program at the Greyhound Hall of Fame on Thursday night, Apr. 19, during the NGA Spring Meet.

 Jim Gartland is the Executive Director for the NGA and serves as the Secretary Treasurer to the Board.