Mar 12, 2021
One of the most popular stakes events for racing fans of Southland looks to give it another go this Saturday after this event was canceled midway through March last year as the COVID-19 pandemic altered life for so many people. The three month delay in returning to live racing caused the event to be canceled but hopes are high that this year’s version will not only be completed, but provide many upsets and close calls at the wire that “Hound Madness” has been known for over the years.
Sixty-four greyhounds start the event in a “bracket” style elimination format. In order to advance in this stakes race, you must beat the greyhound you are bracketed with. There are no earned points. There are no “top four finish” automatically advances. You can finish second in the race and be eliminated, while at the other end of the spectrum, finish seventh and still have a shot to make it to the next round. The only way to ensure advancement is to win six straight. Do that, it will also earn you the 2021 racing season’s first stakes championship.
So who will “cut down the nets” so to speak? See below for a preview.
AIR ACE (Gloria Dorsey Kennel) earned the number 1 seed in this region, but looks to face some tough competition in a hurry if top seeds do indeed advance in this part of the bracket. Palm Beach star BUG BRUSH won 13 of 22 down in South Florida to close out live racing in the state and took only 3 starts to get into top grade here at Southland. He is the #8 seed here and would pair up with AIR ACE should both advance to the round of 32.
Stakes veteran ARKANS PHERKAD (Darren Henry Kennel) and PAT C RAM ROD are the #2 and #3 seeds respectively at the bottom of this region’s bracket. Pherkad has been a solid AA greyhound since the beginning of 2020 and competed in the finals of two stakes races last season while PAT C RAM ROD (Gloria Dorsey) finished second in the Festival of Stakes to World Ruler in the Male Sprint championship and won the Southland Derby consolation last season. Either one of these greyhounds would be capable of making a “FURRY FOUR” run.
It is not often you see a greyhound with 13 career starts get tagged with a #1 seed, but that is exactly what CRAIGIE DELEGATE (Lester Raines Kennel) earned via winning 10 of those 13 starts to rocket up to top grade and win four of five in that top grade as well. He has beaten the likes of ARKANS PHERKAD and MONSTER BOX already and beat other fields by 9 and 10 lengths already. He looks the part and uses a fantastic rush to the turn to do most of his damage on the track. Is there anyone in this region that can mount a challenge to this youngster?
FGF MATHIAS (Charter Kennel) definitely has the late speed to do it. He was the 2020 Great American Greyhound Futurity Champion and even won the Barry Baldwin Juvenile Consolation race in the Festival of Stakes. Due to that late speed, he has been spending a lot of time lately on the Razorback (660 yards) and River (703 yards) courses, where he won tallied his last seven wins since October. JS PRETTY FLY (Lester Raines) is the #3 seed in the division who has a pretty good rush to the turn herself, and has victories in top grade over AIR ACE and CTW CHIP N DALE. She tends to sometimes gas out a little bit near the finish line, so she will need the lead in the race against either of the two favorites more than likely to have a chance.
The greyhound with likely the best “name recognition” in the field has the #1 seed here, the second such top seed for trainer Monte Hoopes and the Lester Raines Kennel. JS FLAMIN ACE has been on a tear over the past year or so plus, winning the Darby Henry Male Sprint Championship and the Kings Vs. Queens Stakes in 2019 and parlayed that success with winning the Southland Derby this past year. He won half his 32 starts last year in a shortened racing season, but he is also approaching four years old in a couple of months.
This region might give us an incredible “Greyt 8” showdown between the old and young starts if kennelmate JS KEEPHOPEALIVE can make it that far. It took this red fawn female only seven starts to reach top grade and has won 8 of her 17 career starts so far and she doesn’t even turn two years old until next month. It will take some really good early speed to compete with her to the first turn. AB CONSTABLE (Plum Creek) and the number 4 seed in the region also has some good top grade credentials and the late speed that makes him a threat as the field dwindles down, should he be able to advance through the first two rounds of eight dog fields.
A pair of Darren Henry kennel greyhounds grace the top two seeds in this region as ARKANS RB TAZ and ARKASKA KAREN claim those spots respectively. The former had an amazing 30 quiniela finishes in just 40 starts last season while the latter has already won nearly a third of her 32 lifetime starts. TAZ has a hard late speed that can catch almost anyone while KAREN tends to be more early speed, albeit inconsistently. If anyone is going to pull off an upset, it needs to be in the early rounds against these two.
ALADDIN is the sneaky #3 seed in this region from the A Ray Kennel. He raised some eyebrows just as recently as last week when he held off super pup CRAIGIE DELAGATE in a somewhat shocking victory. If he was to get loose early and lead by the turn, it will take one heck of an effort to catch him.
Catch all the rounds of the 2021 “HOUND MADNESS” Stakes at Southland Casino & Racing. Complete schedule is below.
Round 1 – (64 greyhounds – 8 fields of 8) – Saturday, March 13
Round 2 – (32 greyhounds – 4 fields of 8) – Thursday, March 18
Round 3 (Sleek 16) – (16 greyhounds – 4 fields of 4) – Monday, March 22
Round 4 (Greyt 8) – (8 greyhounds – 4 fields of 2) – Saturday, March 27
Round 5 (Furry Four) – (4 greyhounds – 2 fields of 2) – Friday, April 2
Championship - (2 greyhound match race) – Friday, April 9
TOTAL ADDED PURSE - $30,000
Winner - $12,500
Runner-Up - $7,500
3rd/4th - $2,500
5th-8th - $1,250