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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

 Trainer Alan Harrell of the T and T Kennel couldn’t have made a better selection when he chose a single greyhound for the Iron Dog Challenge Stakes. His pick, XKT Jon Schnabel, has been nearly flawless, winning both the 583-yard and 660-yard legs of this event before settling for second place in the 703-yard marathon leg. His total amount of points of 40 through three rounds guarantees him the title, regardless of what happens in the championship round this Friday evening. However, it appears the points leader wants another attempt at the only distance he hasn’t claimed victory in during this event. As a condition of the race, the points leader after all three distances have been run gets to select the championship distance. Another trip to the River Course will decide the rest of the pecking order during the second race of the evening performance.

Since the championship has been decided, the chase is now for the rest of the finishing positions and there is a rather tight race for second. Barts Girl (Charter Kennel) takes her 21 points into the championship after a disappointing seventh place finish in the last round. Things started off great for this black female as she finished the first two rounds with a pair of place finishes including a near miss of a victory in the opening two rounds (once by a nose and the other by ½ length). In third position with 20 points is Braska Dale, who turned around two mediocre finishes in the opening rounds with a come from behind victory in the 703-yard leg denying XKT Jon Schnabel of an undefeated run. This vast improvement was aided by his first outside starting post position in a couple starts, which fit like a glove for this wide track runner.

Kelsos Killer (Gloria Dorsey Kennel) holds the fourth place position with 13 points but has been winless not only in this stakes event, but so far in nine starts on the young season. This greyhound has a steady pace to his step and often finds himself in the conversation for those who play the trifecta and superfecta wagers. One point behind him in fifth is BGR Z Z Top (Bussmann-Balakas, LLC) who is the youngest greyhound in the field and is getting his first true tastes of the longer distances at Southland Park. His last place finish in the 660-yard leg gave cause for concern that maybe he couldn’t stretch it out longer but those fears were put to rest some in the 703-yard leg where a solid third place finish made for a nice payday for those who didn’t lose hope.

A tie for sixth place (8 points) exists for PJ Iaintmadatyou (Mike Harris Kennel) and KL’S Finn (Legg Greyhound Kennel). Both of these greyhounds have yet to offer any real threats to the field at large as the distances have grown longer although they both have some bloodlines that offer hope. Djays Octane was a premiere racer, especially on the 660-yard course at Southland where he captured the Razorback Classic Stakes in 2009. His first two starts at the longer distance were not impressive either, but he progressed and became a viable threat in every race he ran over there as he grew older.

The final contestant in the stakes event, TNT Yukon Gold finished last in points after 3 rounds with seven, however a small injury that occurred during his last start will make him a scratch for the championship race. Details of the race are below.

$20,000 Iron Dog Challenge Stakes Championship
Friday evening, February 24 – Race 2 (evening performance)
Approximate post time – 9:15pm CST

Added Purse Payouts:

Winner - $9,000
2nd - $4,500
3rd - $2,000
4th - $1,100
5th - $1,000
6th - $900
7th - $800
8th - $700

Points System Used:

1st - 15
2nd – 10
3rd - 7
4th - 5
5th - 3
6th - 2
7th – 1
8th - 0

Shane Bolender