Greyhound News
Back to News » Kinda Cruel Red represents Wheeling well in Daytona 550
Friday, January 27, 2017

As good as advertised.

No, better. Much, much better.

The 2017 BetAmerica Daytona 550 lived up to its advance billing as Oaks Maddy and Kinda Cruel Red staged an epic duel with the Southland sprinter holding off the Wheeling Island star by a length at the wire to capture the third annual running of the national invitational stakes.

Not only did the two overwhelming favorites put on an electrifying performance before a packed and excited crowd, the much-hyped stakes event gave greyhound racing a shot in the arm. Fans across the country tuned in on the Internet to watch the showdown and voice their analysis on forums prior to the race.

Even though Wheeling’s Kinda Cruel Red did not bring home the brass ring, the speedster made a huge statement. He is definitely one of the best greyhounds in the country and deserves consideration for All-American honors after his stellar 2016 campaign.

Kinda Cruel races out of the Jacobs Racing Kennel at Wheeling and operator Monte Jacobs was present in Daytona for the sprint stakes.

“First, it was an honor to be invited to participate in the Daytona 550 and I was really happy to go down there and compete. I was excited a Wheeling greyhound was in the race and represented Wheeling very well,” Jacobs said. “Oaks Maddy is a really nice greyhound – a stakes winner at Southland. We didn’t win, but we made her (Oaks Maddy) earn it.”

Kinda Cruel Red is the first Wheeling Island-based greyhound to compete in the event.

Varoom Esme – another Wheeling All-American nominee – was invited as well this year but had to be scratched after sustaining an injury at Mardi Gras in December. Kiowa Leer Loyd was set to race in the inaugural event in 2015, but sustained an injury while schooling at Daytona. AMF Sleekstrangr was invited last year but owner Tom Ferris declined the offer.

A star-studded field was assembled for this year’s Daytona 500 by United Greyhound Racing, the race organizer. The eight greyhounds are determined by the UGR’s year-end Top 10 Poll, stakes events during the year and the UGR selection committee.

From the rail out, the field featured: 1—Oaks Maddy (Southland); 2—GT’s Gin N Juice (Derby Lane); 3—Kinda Cruel Red (Wheeling Island); 4—Kentucky Kat (Derby Lane); 5—Seldom Told (Orange Park); 6—RF River (Dubuque/Mardi Gras); 7—Martha Maccallum (Flagler/Naples), 8—JD Accomplice (Dubuque/Mardi Gras).

“The three box was OK … actually I preferred the inside – one, two or three,” Jacobs noted.

At the break, Oaks Maddy popped the box on the rail followed closely by Kentucky Kat and Kinda Cruel Red. As the field neared the first turn, Kinda Cruel Red moved over to the rail in second – just behind Oaks Maddy.

“Oaks Maddy got the jump and Kinda Cruel Red did not break all that well, but he ran smart to get through the first turn clean,” Jacobs said. “I lost sight of him for a second going to the turn. When he hit the backstretch on her hip, I thought we had a chance.”

On the backstretch, Oaks Maddy dug in – maintaining a length lead as the frontrunners neared the far turn. Seldom Told and JD Accomplice picked up the chase, but they had too much ground to make up to even challenge the two leaders.

“Oaks Maddy opened up her stride on the backstretch and we couldn’t catch her,” Jacobs said.

Coming off the final turn, Kinda Cruel Red appeared to close the gap slightly until he drifted out a bit in the homestretch.

“Kinda Cruel Red ran a shade wide on the last turn which may have cost him a length, but Oaks Maddy ran the rail like a magnet,” Jacobs said. “When she got the lead early, we knew we would have our hands full.”

Oaks Maddy prevailed by a length over Kinda Cruel Red with Seldom Told 5 ½ lengths behind the champion. Rounding out the field were JD Accomplice, fourth; Martha Maccallum, fifth; RF River, sixth; Kentucky Kat, seventh; and GT’s Gin N Juice, eighth.

The Daytona experience was one Jacobs won’t ever forget.

“My Mom and Dad came in for the race, and everyone made us feel welcome,” Jacobs noted. “United Greyhound Racing, BetAmerica and Daytona did a wonderful job.”

As for Kinda Cruel Red, the sprinter is back in Wheeling and ready for the 2017 racing season. He had a banner year in 2016 – 20 wins, 7 seconds, 4 thirds and 1 fourth in just 38 races – as well as a 6-race and a 3-race win streak after coming up to Wheeling in May from Palm Beach. At the Florida track last year, he had 7 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds and 2 fourths in 17 starts.

The April 2014 greyhound out of Bella Infrared-Cruel To Be Kind is trained in Wheeling by Louise Strong and owned by Edward Piziak Jr.

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.