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Friday, January 27, 2017

United Greyhound Racing’s Mike Frino couldn’t be any happier.

In just three years, the BetAmerica Daytona 550 has become a showcase – a top-notch annual stakes drawing eight of the top greyhounds in the country and fueling interest across the greyhound nation.

Great races have marked the event, including last weekend’s third presentation won by Southland’s Oaks Maddy by one length over Wheeling Island’s Kinda Cruel Red.

“In just three years, the BetAmerica Daytona 550 has become our sports premier race event. There are many reasons for the success of this race, but none more important than the cooperation we receive from the owners and kennels that travel their greyhounds to Daytona each January,” Frino said. “When you get eight of the top greyhounds in the country vying for the national championship, in a one race format, you have something special and exciting for the greyhound community to see.”

The benefits from the race are far-reaching.

“What is most gratifying is to see the major participants – the host track Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club, our major sponsor BetAmerica and the greyhound community all benefit from this race,” Frino noted. “The handle at Daytona has gone up significantly every year and the BetAmerica handle was up (on stakes night), but most importantly, the greyhound handle for BetAmerica has increased for them throughout the year since becoming the sponsor of the Daytona 550.”

The stakes event has come a long way in just a short time.

“It is the most talked about and anticipated race in our sport. It is attended by greyhound enthusiasts from across the country, truly making it a national race and one that can be marketed,” Frino said. “This year United Greyhound Racing added the $2,500 BetAmerica Gilded Sherry Stakes to the Friday night card. The race benefits the Daytona kennels that so such a good job hosting the stakes greyhounds each year.”

United Greyhound already is mapping plans for next year’s event.

“The future of the BetAmerica Daytona 550 is bright. BetAmerica and the Daytona Beach Racing and Card Room are both ready to move forward and make the 2018 national championship race even bigger and better,” Frino said. “Erik Koltz (United Greyhound Racing) and I will shortly begin our planning for next year’s BetAmerica Daytona 550, tentatively set for Jan. 20, 2018.”

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.