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Stan Pawloski

Jan 21, 2020

The queen is king.

GF La Duena reigns.

Since coming to Wheeling Island from Tri-State Greyhound Park in June 2018, the Patriot/Taplin Kennel star has been the queen of the 330-yard distance and arguably the best 3/16th sprinter ever on the Wheeling Course. In 2019, GF La Duena strengthened her superiority with a racetrack-leading 32 victories.

GF La Duena’s accomplishment earned her top greyhound honors at Wheeling Island for 2019. She is the first 330-yard racer in the history of Wheeling Island racing to capture the track win championship.

For Patriot/Taplin Kennel trainer Joe Otto, GF La Duena is the third track win leader he has been associated with at Wheeling Island. He trained Mi Nice Catch (31 wins) for Majestic Kennel in 1997 and was an assistant to Don Corey when Stage Door Ace (29 wins) raced out of the Steubenville Kennel in 1989.

“It’s quite an honor to train a track win leader because it doesn’t happen very often. (GF) La Duena had a fantastic year of racing and I am very proud of her,” Otto said. “I wasn’t surprised … she was winning at that rate when she came to Wheeling in 2018, so if she stayed healthy I thought she could have a pretty good year. She’s a bundle of energy.”

A June 2016 greyhound out of KC And All-GF Sister Karen, GF La Duena was a mark of consistency throughout the year. In addition to her 32 wins, she had 7 seconds, 4 thirds and 3 fourths in 49 starts – an 87 percent mark in the trifecta and a 94 percent mark on the superfecta ticket.

All of her races were against Grade AA or TAA company.“In a race where it’s all about the break, her numbers are amazing. If she gets the lead early, she usually draws away,” Otto noted. “If she breaks in the pack, she still can rush to the front. She’s very good at looking for spots, finding a hole and hitting it fast.”

The Tom Salem-owned GF La Duena had a knack of stringing victories together. She had a pair of six-race, a four-race and a trio of three-race win streaks in 2019.

“Long winning streaks are so hard to do at any distance, but especially 330,” Otto said. “A greyhound has to hit the break every time out, not coming from behind at that distance.”

GF La Duena started 2019 with 14 straight trifecta finishes before her streak was halted. After finishing out of the money once, she came back and hit the superfecta in her next 15 races in a row.

Owner Tom Salem was thrilled by GF La Duena’s stellar performance.

“I couldn’t be any prouder. You don’t find too many greyhounds like her,” Salem said. “She’s been steady since coming to Wheeling and you know she’ll give a solid effort every time out.”

What does 2020 hold for GF La Duena?

“Hopefully she has another great year,” Otto said.

In 69 career 3/16th starts at Wheeling Island, GF La Duena has 46 wins, 10 seconds, 6 thirds and 4 fourths.

While GF La Duena topped the leader board with 32 victories, 31 other greyhounds won at least 11 races in 2019 at Wheeling Island.

The 2019 Wheeling Island win leaderboard and kennel follows:

32 – GF La Duena (Patriot/Taplin)

25 – L’s Griz (Blanchard)

19 – L’s Luv It (Blanchard), High Wire Willy (Blanchard), JS Drinkmepretty (Lester Raines), DS Bubbles (Xtrem Hess Racing)

17 – JSK Roulette (Jacobs Racing), Kelsos Ukulele (Lester Raines), RS’s Kingofkings (Lester Raines)

16 – Mac’s Glightfoot (A Ray), AMF Bystander (A Ray), Barts Sugarsnack (Charter)

15 – BGR Whysoserious (Brad Boeckenstedt)

14 – Super C Action (Lester Raines), Imark Solo (Imark)

13 – Jay’s Roxy (Patriot/Taplin), CTW San Marcos (Abrahamson), BRC Chillbump (Xtrem Hess Racing), JS Rich The Kid (Rangel)

12 – For The Birds (Blanchard), Vicki Of Ruckus (Blanchard), BGR Da Crazy One (Brad Boeckenstedt), WW Slick Move (Wayne Ward), Barts Walk Away (Charter), Imark Grande (Imark), Dolla Signs (Jacobs Racing).

11 – ZB Tremonti (Lester Raines), Barts Sand Shark (Charter), Barts Skiptomylu (Charter), GR’s Breeze (Blanchard), DS Gypsey (Xtrem Hess Racing), PJ Boogie Bear (Rangel).

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