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Friday, April 26, 2019

There were greyhounds coming into the championship race of the $25,000 River Course Classic that seemed to be on a collision course with taking home the coveted championship on Saturday afternoon, April 20th.  ARKANS LEO (Darren Henry) nearly went undefeated in the four qualifying rounds, earning victories in the last three to firmly plant himself as a favorite to win it all.  HEY ROCKEFELLER (Magic City Kennel) drew the coveted one box for the big race, which nearly netted him a victory (ran a close second) in the semi-finals. 

Speaking of sitting well, CHIP DAWSON (Ryan Farms Kennel) won two straight from some tough post positions before finding himself situation in the far outside box (#8) for the championship race.  The midtrack running style this greyhound has couldn’t have started the race from a more perfect post position.  And even AMERICAN AIRDINE (Lester Raines) opened up qualifying with two straight wins himself, before wrapping up qualifying with a second and a third place finish.  He already won some championship hardware this past Fall during the Festival of Stakes and the Monte Hoopes trained entry had some “street cred” with the bettors, and rightfully so.

One greyhound wasn’t getting much betting love though, despite never missing the paysheet during qualifying.  PCH FAITH IN U (Mike Harris Kennel) only failed to not get the lead at some point in all four races just one time (round 2) and finished with a win, two seconds and a third place finish.  The early speed specialist enjoys an inside post, which she got when she drew post #2, but the other name power in the race was enough to inflate her odds of winning to almost 10 to 1!  Oh ye of little faith.

She made those who forgot about her pay for it.  And she paid others who had her back, to the tune of $21.40 for every $2 placed on her head to win.  She didn’t even make them sweat it out either, as she “popped the lid” to lead in the race from nearly the start and coasted home for the victory cruising at the finish line by 5 ½ lengths ahead of her closest rival.  Speaking of her closest rival, he was also a longshot in the race (15 to 1) by the name of WW JOHN FLORENCE (Wayne R. Ward, Inc.) and the combination of the two created a nearly $75 quiniela for just a $1 and nearly $200 for a 50 cent trifecta pairing HEY ROCKEFELLER who finished 3rd.

The victory marks the first stakes championship for the 61 pound brindle female when she stopped the clock at 39.33 which was her fastest time of the five races involved in the stakes and not far off her season’s best time on the course at 39.15.  She is owned by Mike Harris and trained by Victor Hall.

The finishing order for the rest of the crew included race favorite ARKANS LEO (4th), CHIP DAWSON (5th), AMERICAN AIRDINE (6th), MORAL CODE (7th) and DRINK IT OFF (last).

Shane Bolender