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Shane Bolender

Mar 23, 2021

Fifty-six greyhounds have been eliminated from the “Hound Madness” Stakes, and while there were plenty of upsets in the opening round (sound familiar with what is going on with the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament?), after the dust settled from the “Sleek 16” round on Monday, we were left with one true “Cinderella”.

XM STRIDE N (T and T Kennel) will face his toughest test in the South Regional Finals this Saturday when he goes head’s up against the #3 seeded ALADDIN (A Ray Kennel), scheduled for the 13th race on that card. The 74 pound black male is proving he might not be overmatched at all, as he won his last two rounds, both of which ALADDIN appeared, catching the red male twice in consecutive races. There is little doubt ALADDIN will likely get the lead once again in this race, but the only question is whether he can hang on this time against a tough closer. History says it will be tough to do.

The rest of the regions have mostly favorites involved, especially in the West Regional Finals. It will be a battle of kennelmates as Natalie Looper trained AIR ACE (#1 seed) will face off against #3 seed PAT C RAM ROD for the right to advance to the Furry Four. Much like the South Region, PAT C RAM ROD has yet to lose a race in the “Hound Madness” yet (3 straight victories overall) and has pulled away from AIR ACE in the past two rounds of action. The early lead will be key in this race, as both possess enough late speed to likely hold the other one off at the wire. Of all the regions, this one might be the best overall match up race of the four and is slated for race 3 on the Saturday card.

At first glance, the Midwest Regional Final looks to be an easy victory set up for another undefeated greyhound in this tournament, #1 seed CRAIGIE DELEGATE (Lester Raines Kennel). This 69 pound male has won 9 of 11 races on the season and five of his last six. His rival for this Saturday’s race card will be TMC’S SWEETCRAIG (Darren Henry Kennel), a six seed who has a win and two second place finishes (both to CRAIGIE DELEGATE) so far in this stakes event. Even though the two second place finishes have been close races, SWEETCRAIG is not known as a sharp breaker and his late speed seems to kick in a little too late to catch a greyhound of DELEGATE’S speed. If he can improve on that early foot, even modestly, it will make for an interesting finish to the sixth race that day.

The East Regional Final will be the eighth race on the performance and feature #2 seed JS KEEPHOPEALIVE (Lester Raines Kennel), who just got caught at the wire in the opening round to finish third by a head (still enough to advance) otherwise she would come into this race undefeated overall. This 60 pound bullet probably has the best rush to the turn of the eight greyhounds remaining, but can be caught near the wire by the right type of greyhound. ELIZA FRASER (Gloria Dorsey) comes into the race as the #5 seed in the region and has yet to win a race, but has two second place efforts in her last two starts (both to JS KEEPHOPEALIVE and both by 1 ½ lengths). This race is the battle of the females, insuring that at least one female will reach the Furry Four round a week from Friday.

Each of the four match races will feature win wagering only. Catch all the excitement of the “Hound Madness” Stakes at Southland Casino & Racing.

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