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Monday, May 1, 2017

Strong field to go to post in Wheeling Island National Futurity Stakes

Last year, the inaugural Wheeling Island National (Futurity) drew a field of 64 greyhound pups.

Although the 2017 stakes has 20 less entries, a stellar field of sprinters will go to post in the first round on Saturday afternoon, May 6. The purse for the stake event will be approximately $100,000.

The stakes will be for pups whelped (born) between July 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2015. The 44 greyhounds entered broke in at various tracks, including Wheeling (25), Naples (6), Southland (5), Palm Beach (5), Mardi Gras (3), Melbourne (1) and Derby Lane (1).

The second round will be held on Thursday afternoon, May 11, and the third preliminary qualifier on Sunday afternoon, May 14.

After the first three rounds of qualifying races, the field will be cut to 32 entries and the point totals will start over for the remaining two rounds of qualifying.

The fourth round is scheduled for Friday afternoon, May 19, and the fifth round on Wednesday afternoon, May 24. The top eight point earners from these two rounds advance to the championship final with the next eight moving on to the consolation final on Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day).

Who will make it to the winner’s circle this year?

The entries by kennel for this year’s futurity stake – as well as the highest grade and track the greyhound has raced this year – follow:

Abrahamson: Artex Vernon (Grade D, Southland), FF Warrior (Grade A, Wheeling)

A Ray: Konomi (Grade AA, Wheeling), Kanji (Grade C, Mardi Gras)

Brad Boeckenstedt: BGR Dustybottoms (Grade AA, Wheeling), BS Spice Me Up (Grade C, Wheeling), Superior Calder (Grade AA, Wheeling), Superior Cannon (Grade A, Wheeling)

Charter: Barts Im Joekool (Grade AA, Wheeling), Barts Wynn (Grade AA, Wheeling), Wannabe Thatsong (Grade A, Wheeling), Barts Send It (Grade B, Wheeling), Kenny Lofton (Grade AA, Wheeling), Don’t Let Me Down (Grade A, Wheeling), Tim Raines (Grade B, Wheeling)

Clear The Way: Brock N Roll (Grade D, Wheeling), Top Line (Maiden, Wheeling)

Jacobs Racing: Starinthemaking (Grade A, Wheeling), Celebrity Status (Grade C, Wheeling), LB’s Tam Toby (Maiden, Wheeling), SG’s Arnie Army (Grade AA, Wheeling), SG’s Bob Uecker (Grade A, Wheeling).

Patriot/Taplin: JW Kit Kat (Grade AA, Wheeling), JS Kamikazi (Grade AA, Wheeling)

Lester Raines: Roxy Is Foxy (Grade AA, Wheeling), Cashontheline (Grade B, Wheeling), Beautiful Tease (Grade AA, Wheeling)

Steve Sarras: Alicia Sacramone (Grade C, Naples), Barts Justenuff (Grade A Wheeling/Palm Beach), Carly Pearce (Grade B, Naples), Christina Perri (Grade A, Naples), David Palmer (Maiden, Wheeling), Ban Chini (Grade D, Wheeling), Jason Martini (Grade D, Wheeling), Kinda Don’t Care (Grade B, Naples), Maren Morris (Grade D, Naples), Nina Myers (Grade D, Wheeling), PJ Whattheywant (Grade A, Palm Beach), Rex Ryan (Grade A, Naples)

Wayne Ward: WW Pascal (Grade AA, Wheeling), WW Vespa (Grade B, Wheeling), WW Pool Side (Grade C, Wheeling), WW Jimmythe Geek (Grade B, Wheeling), WW Jethro Gibbs (Grade C, Wheeling)

The point values for the qualifying round races follow: 16 points for first place, 8 points for second place, 6 points for third place, 4 points for fourth place, 3 points for fifth place, 2 points for sixth place, 1 point for seventh place and zero points for eight place.

The owners originally paid a nominal fee to reserve a spot in the qualifying races. To keep that reservation, progressively higher fees were paid on each reserved space approximately every two months. The last payment was in March.

Last year, Lester Raines Kennel sprint star Atascocita Sig dominated Wheeling’s first ever futurity-type stake by winning five out of his six qualifying round races and then romping to a 4 ½-length victory in the championship final in a sizzling 29.14. Brad Boeckenstedt Kennel’s JD Indendence took runner up honors while SE’s Solid Cash, another Lester Raines Kennel pup, got up for third.

Completing the order of finish were PJ Hold My Own (A Ray Kennel), fourth; Red Octane (Jacobs Racing Kennel), fifth; WW’s Glow N Show (Wayne Ward Kennel), sixth; PJ Porsche (Charter Kennel), seventh; and Already Platinum (Jacobs Racing Kennel), eighth.

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.