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Monday, November 21, 2016

Patriot/Taplin Kennel’s GF Zelda tops all qualifiers for Friday afternoon’s championship final of the $65,000 West Virginia Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association Sprint Stakes at Wheeling Island.

The Joe Otto-trained sprinter posted a pair of victories and a second in the qualifying rounds to accumulate 40 points. GF Zelda is one of five sprint stake finalists who also made the championship of the WVGOBA Juvenile earlier this fall.

Others sprint stake finalists are Ken McNabb (Rico Racing Kennel), 37 points; Nola Nikole (Steve Sarras Kennel), 35 points; Leo The Lover (Steve Sarras Kennel) and GF Street Song (Patriot/Taplin Kennel), 32 points each; GF Taras Tango (Patriot/Taplin Kennel), Grim Beavers (Steve Sarras Kennel) and CET Dirty Nicki (Steve Sarras Kennel), 25 points each.

Missing out on a spot in the final was Mac’s Maxwell (A Ray Kennel) with 24 points.

Posting semifinal round victories Sunday afternoon were GF Zelda, Ken McNabb and Nola Nicole.

Following are capsule looks at the semifinal round races:

GF Zelda stalked frontrunner Quick Ruler around the track before getting up at the wire to win by a length in 30.73. A photo was needed to separate runner up Rico’s Ed and Mac’s Maxwell, each a length back, while Quick Ruler settled for fourth.

Ken McNabb posted his second qualifying round victory from the rail post – rushing out to an early lead and then holding off CET Dirty Nicki by a length in 30.72. Grim Beavers was just another length back in third and Bizzy Beeker was fourth.

Nola Nikole outrushed Jax Yardley to the lead around the first turn and never looked back in prevailing by 2 ½ lengths in 30.58. Dirty Dixie and Jet Bill Clinton rounded out the superfecta ticket.

In Friday’s sprint final, GF Street Song will be going for a stakes double after winning the WVGOBA Juvenile at Wheeling Island in late September. GF Zelda was runner up, CET Dirty Nicki was third, GF Taras Tango finished fifth and Grim Beavers was seventh.

In the 2015 WVGOBA Sprint Stakes held at Tri-State Greyhound Park, Jax Archie too charge in the stretch – winning by a length over fast-charging kennel-mate CG’s Marla (a 14-1 long shot). Mac’s Burgess rounded out the trifecta ticket.

Point totals after the semifinal round follow (top 8 earn a spot in Friday afternoon’s championship final):

GF Zelda (Patriot/Taplin), 40 points

Ken McNabb (Rico Racing), 37 points

Nola Nikole (Steve Sarras), 35 points

GF Street Song (Patriot/Taplin), 32 points

Leo The Lover (Steve Sarras), 32 points

GF Taras Tango (Patriot/Taplin), 25 points

Grim Beavers (Steve Sarras), 25 points

CET Dirty Nicki (Steve Sarras), 25 points

The following greyhounds were eliminated from the stakes event after the semifinal round: Mac’s Maxwell (A Ray), 24 points Jax Yardley (Abrahamson), 23 points Coach Van Dyke (Jacobs Racing), 23 points Jet Bill Clinton (Steve Sarras), 23 points Rico’s Ed (Rico Racing), 22 points Dirty Dixie (Steve Sarras), 22 points Laura May Decker (Steve Sarras), 20 points CG’s Dyno Mite (Abrahamson), 20 points Quick Ruler (Steve Sarras), 18 points Bizzy Beeker (Lester Raines), 17 points Coach Quizno (Jacobs Racing), 16 points Coach Nease (Jacobs Racing), 15 points Beethoven Betsy (Steve Sarras), 15 points Pocono Opie (Lester Raines), 15 points GF Ginne Da Lute (Patriot/Taplin), 14 points Mac’s Harewood (A Ray), 12 points

I was introduced to greyhound racing by a friend in the late 1970s at Wheeling Downs and fell in love with the sport and the athletes immediately. Throughout the years, I have developed a deep passion for racing. In the mid 1990s, I started writing a weekly greyhound column and shortly thereafter became a writer for The Greyhound Review.

I have enjoyed watching and writing about these wonderful competitors, including All-Americans DD's Nelson, Kiowa Sweet Trey, Gene's Champion, WW Apple Jax, Greys Royalcrown, Nimby TP Jan, Hi Noon Hero, Gable Sour Cream, KB's Ruckus and Cry Case.