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Monday, October 24, 2016

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Trainer Norman Journigan of the Jackson Greyhounds Kennel was impressed.

“It takes a mighty good greyhound,” said Journigan, “to win (a stakes race) two years in a row.”

That is what his greyhound Slatex Elvis did Saturday, Oct. 22, snaring his second consecutive Secretary’s Choice Stakes at the Iowa Greyhound Park.

The 2015 victory was doubly sweet. Beside the race trophy, the win gave Elvis the season’s victory championship at IGP.

This year Elvis, a 71-pounder, born July 30, 2013 out of Kiowa Mon Manny – Slatex Pluto, came to the boxes with just a 26-4-8-4 record.

He spent the 2015-2016 winter season in Florida and the time there could have been better.

“It is a year later,” said Journigan, “and he’s been getting back up to his speed.”

It helped that Elvis drew the one box for the 2016 Choice.

“That is his box,” said Journigan. “He is an early speed, rail greyhound.”

Slatex Elvis broke a solid third but won the rush to the first turn. Once on top, he stayed determined despite being pushed by Racey Rambler (Copper Kettle) for most of the race.

“He is strong on the lead,” said Journigan. “He has been caught just a couple of times, but not too many. I wasn’t worry and today was one of those days when he wasn’t caught.”

Slatex Elvis won by two and a half lengths.

Iowa Greyhound Park Racing Secretary Mark Curtis, Jr., had fun putting together the field.

“It was nice to get Slatex Elvis back to defend his title,” said Curtis. “We got to use Monkey Way, who surprised a lot with her win the Future Star Stakes. The rest came from the Grade A and B lists from kennels that have not got to get into the bigger stakes.”

RJ’s Pelee (Xtrem Hess), 32-7-3-6, rallied in the homestretch to snare second place. Racy Rambler, 28-9-5-4, had to settle for third, three lengths back.

Boc’s Cover Up (Boeckenstedt), 25-5-9-3, was a steady fourth, three and a half lengths behind.

AT’s Frednbarney (T And T), 28-11-4-3, who had been the pre-stakes favorite in the Future Star with 11 early wins, finished with another lackluster performance, a fifth, seven and a half lengths back.

Nine lengths back in sixth was JD Tight Fit (Stidham), 8-2-1-0, a length ahead of Monkey Way (Clayton Black), 32-7-4-3. Two lengths back came Pat C Rig (Collins & Schmidt), 30-4-6-4.

For the patrons, Slatex Elvis, who went off as the favorite, paid $7.20, $3.40 and $2.80; RJ’s Pelee paid $4.60 and $3.60; Racey Rambler paid $6.20. The 1-8 quiniela paid $11.00; the 1-8-4 tri-box paid $72.50; the 1-8-4-2 .10 cent superfecta paid $46.22; the 6-2-8-1 .10 cents pick 4 paid $71.55.

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DUBUQUE, Iowa - Timing is everything.

RF River made an early lead stand up on the way to a length’s triumph in the $145,000 Iowa Breeders Cup Stakes at the Iowa Greyhound Park on Saturday, Oct. 22. “He is peaking at the right time,” said co-owner (along with Joni Recinos) Alan Hill. “He’s peaked in his last couple of races.”

Hill was pointing to River’s wins in the last two qualifying rounds of the IBC where he took early leads and won comfortably by three and four lengths.

Looking back, putting RF River, a 68-pounder, born Dec. 28, 2014 out of KC And All – AF Nala, in the IBC was a no brainer.

“She is one of the better pups in our kennel,” said Hill. ‘We felt she had a chance to make the final. But when she did make the final and we saw the rest of the field, we knew it would be tough.”

It helped when RF River drew the one box “which is a good box for her.”

Winning a stakes championship “is a combination of having a greyhound” said Hill, “good enough to win, getting the right post and then having a lot of luck.”

RF River broke third from her one box, not quite as good a break as the kennel had hoped but her charge to the first turn was decisive. Working the rail, RF River passed BS Rebel (Wayne R. Ward), who had popped the three box, halfway down the front stretch. Getting into the first turn, River slipped into a length and a half lead.

River kept her lead throughout the rest of the race. However it got close late in the homestretch as O Ya Pawtycrasher (Wayne R. Ward) came charging.

“We knew eight (Pawtycrasher came out of the eight box) is a strong closer,” said Hill.

But O Ya Pawtycrasher could only get within a length at the wire as RF River, 27-11-4-3, claimed the title.

The second-place finish was a double-disappointment for O Ya Pawtycrasher. A victory would have given Pawtycrasher, 32-14-8-5, who was sent to the boxes as the favorite, a share of the 2016 victory championship at IGP.

BS Rebel, 31-6-7-3, settled for third, also a length back.

Three and a half lengths back in fourth was Al’s Flyer (Xtrem Hess), 29-6-6-7. In fifth, a length and a half behind Flyer was JD Accomplice (Stidham), 18-10-4-2, who had been seen as a favorite in some quarters.

Six lengths back in sixth was SH Ozaki (Stidham), 31-7-3-7, who was just ahead of Dubuque Classic champion Joeslittlepebble (Copper Kettle), 29-7-6-4. A half-length back of the pair was DNT Finbarclancy (T And T), 26-8-6-4.

For the patrons, RF River paid $7.00, $3.00 and $2.60; Oya Partycrasher paid $2.80 and $2.40; BS Rebel paid $4.20. The 1-8 quiniela paid $7.60; the 1-8-3 tri-box paid $46.30; the 1-8-3-7 .10 superfecta paid $33.85; the 6-2-1 $1 pick 3 paid $224.20.

Iowa Breeders Cup Champions 1985 – JC’s Rocky 1986 – AC Rocket Star 1987 - Ale Mama’s Gent 1988 – LW Buck Eye 1989 – Teach Pressure 1990 – Mystic Winds; 1991 – Noble Bahama 1992 – Noble Bahama 1993 – Lana Jane 1994 – Crazy Eight 1995 – Lightning Lester 1996 – Lucky Loretta 1997 – Rainier Replica 1998 – Lucky Loretta 1999 – Rainier Rainy 2000 – PC Carol 2001 – Badger Lisa 2002 – Frank Furter 2003 – Cals Pair A Dice 2004 – Pounce It Pooch 2005 – Spider Hole 2006 – Sooner Rush 2007 – Pat C Game Face 2008 – Astartwelvegauge 2009 – Hilco Vision 2010 – End Of Story 2011 – Superior Crown 2012 – O Ya Scout 2013 – Killer Carew 2014 – Pat C Sabbath 2015 – AJ’s Callie 2016 – Rf River

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 DUBUQUE, Iowa – The Iowa Bred Consolation is not even a race for second place. Heck, it is a race for ninth place, but “to win this is great,” said trainer Jeff Wilcox of the Wayne R. Ward Kennel.

“All of these greyhounds could have been in the (Iowa Breeders Cup) final,” said Wilcox. “Our owner (Gary Reicherts) is very happy with this win.”

The Consolation is open to the greyhounds that finished ninth through 16th in the points list after the four qualifying rounds of the Iowa Breeders Cup. The top eight in points run for the $145,000 prize, the next eight get to go in the Consolation.

The Ward Kennel’s O Ya Kapow took home the Consolation trophy.

“We were thrilled to go out to the track and pick up the trophy,” said Wilcox.

O Ya Kapow, an 80-pounder, born July 13, 2014 out of KC And All – O Ya Cranberry, gave a box-to-wire performance from the six box.

“His break was exceptional,” said Wilcox, “but he does have a habit of coming up short. He got some benefits from trouble happening behind him.

Indeed, early on Kapow had an official lead of three and a half lengths; but the replay video showed Kapow ahead of nearly five lengths late in the backstretch.

Then JW’s Go With it (Copper Kettle) and RF Zula (Superior) started to close.

“In the homestretch, I was sweating a lot,” admitted Wilcox. “At the finish line, my friends were congratulating me but I said ‘let’s check the replay.’”

The replay showed O Ya Kapow, 27-6-7-6, holding on to win by a neck.

JW’s Go With It, 30-9-5-3, settled for second with RF Zula, 19-4-6-2, third, two lengths back. The patrons had made JD Dignity (Stidham), 30-9-6-8, the favorite but he broke seventh and could only rally to take fourth, five lengths back.

Kiss My Dust (Clayton Black), 29-7-9-4, was six lengths back in fifth, just ahead of L’s Tyme (Boeckenstedt), 23-5-4-5.

Finishing off the field were O Ya Chatter Box (Wayne Ward), 19-1-4-8, nine lengths back and one ahead of Jason Baconmaker (Copper Kettle), 23-7-3-1.

O Ya Kapow paid $28.60, $13.00 and $6.20; JW’s Go With It paid $7.20 and $4.60; RF Zula paid $4.60. The 3-6 quiniela paid $87.20; the 6-3-1 tri-box paid $717.00; the 6-3-1-7 .10 superfecta paid $134.79.

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 DUBUQUE, Iowa – Superior Yesy found herself at the right time.

Yesy, a 64-pounder, born Sept. 15, 2014 out of Kiowa Mon Manny – Superior Larue, gave an impressive performance in winning the last race of the 2016 season at the Iowa Greyhound Park with a dominating performance in the IGA Au Revoir on Saturday, Oct. 22

The stakes was run over the Dubuque course where Yesy had “run very good early in the season,” said owner Alan Hill. “In fact she made the final of the Dubuque Course Classic, but she didn’t do anything in the final (as she finished last).”

All of a sudden “she didn’t have that early rush, so we put here over in the sprints,” explained Hill.

Patrons checking Superior Yesy’s lines in the program would see she has won a couple of Grade A tests at the 5-16 mile distance. Then the Au Revoir came up at the Dubuque distance and the kennel entered her.

"She was her old self today,” said Hill. “She had her old early rush.”

Superior Yesy broke sixth from the three box but got away clean and quickly bolted to a three-length lead.

“Once she had the lead,” said Hill, “we had a chance. She is hard to catch.”

Yesy was not challenged at all and finished with a five-length margin of victory.

Superior Yesy finished the 2016 season at Iowa Greyhound Park with a 26-12-3-2 record.

XK I Agree (Xtrem Hess), 25-3-3-5 took second with O Ya Curly Sue (Wayne R. Ward), 25-11-3-6, selected by the patrons as the favorite, breaking seventh then coming on to take third, seven lengths back.

The rest of the field finished 11 lengths or more behind the flying Yesy.

O Ya Pawty Girl (Wayne R, Ward (26-4-2-5) took fourth ahead of Roc A By Shu Box (Jackson), 28-5-3-4. Lazy K Weber (T And T), 13-3-1-1, finished sixth; Tjays Mustang (T And T), 9-2-2-3, was seventh and DS Hip Hop (Xtram Hess), 30-3-6-7, was the last greyhound to cross the finish line in 2016 at IGP.

For the patrons, Superior Yesy paid $7.60, $4.20 and $2.60; XK I Agree paid $10.00 and $4.00; O Ya Curly Sue paid $2.40. The 3-5 quiniela paid $43.80; the 3-5-8 tri-box paid $83.80; the 3-5-8-6 .10 superfecta paid $57.90 and the 1-3 late daily double paid $34.80.

Au Revoir 2016 at Iowa Greyhound Park

The Au Revoir brings down the curtain on the 2016 season at the Iowa Greyhound Park.

“It doesn’t seem like it is at the end of the year,” said Director of Mutuels Jean Hallahan. “It just flew by.”

“It was a great year,” said General Manager Brain Carpenter. “We had good crowds and it was nice and smooth. I feel we are heading in the right direction.”

“It went well,” added Hallahan. “It went well with both our off track pools and on track wagering has been fine.”

Next up for the Iowa Greyhound Park is Saturday, May 13, the opening day for the 2017 season.

I'm a native of the Washington, D.C., area and a graduate of the University of Maryland. I'm now retired after a two-decade plus stint as the sports editor of the Council Bluffs, Iowa, Daily Nonpareil.