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Monday, May 8, 2017

Two kennels – Charter and Steve Sarras – posted a pair of victories in the opening round of the $95,000 Wheeling Island National Stakes Saturday afternoon at Wheeling Island.

Capturing wins for the Charter Kennel were Barts Im Joekool and Barts Send It while Steve Sarras Kennel’s Carly Pearce and Rex Ryan prevailed in the initial qualifying round races. Registering the other first round victories were Brad Boeckenstedt Kennel’s BGR Dustybottoms and Jacobs Racing Kennel’s SG’s Bob Uecker.

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).

The stakes is for pups whelped (born) between July 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2015.

Capsule reviews of the opening round races follow:

Favorite Barts Im Joekool rushed to the early lead and never looked back in posting a 2-length victory in 31.25. Konomi and WW Vespa rounded out the trifecta ticket.

Barts Send It, sent to post at 9/2 odds, caught frontrunner Beautiful Tease in the stretch before pulling away to a 2-length victory in 31.32. Artex Vernon and LB’s Tam Toby both closed late to hit the board.

Carly Pearce, a near-favorite, posted a box-to-wire 2-length victory in 30.58. Superior Cannon was second all around the track while WW Pool Side settled for third.

Rex Ryan, a 10-1 long shot, rallied in the stretch to pick off Superior Calder by a nose at the wire in 30.44. Celebrity Status got up for third.

BGR Dustybottoms, another favorite, broke on top early and was never challenged in romping to a 12-length win in 30.87. SG’s Arnie Army was second while Cashontheline got up for third.

Favorite SG’s Bob Uecker hit the lid and rolled to a 6-length box-to-wire victory in 30.24. Dont Let Me Down and WW Jimmythe Geek filled out the trifecta ticket.

The point totals after the first round follow:

Barts Im Joekool (Charter), 16 points

Barts Send It (Charter) 16 points

Carly Pearce (Steve Sarras), 16 points

Rex Ryan (Steve Sarras), 16 points

BGR Dustybottoms (Brad Boeckenstedt), 16 points

SG’s Bob Uecker (Jacobs Racing), 16 points

Artex Vernon (Abrahamson), 8 points

Dont Let Me Down (Charter), 8 points

Konomi (A Ray), 8 points

SG’s Arnie Army (Jacobs Racing), 8 points

Superior Calder (Brad Boeckenstedt), 8 points

Superior Cannon (Brad Boeckenstedt), 8 points

Cashontheline (Lester Raines), 6 points

Celebrity Status (Jacobs Racing), 6 points

LB’s Tam Toby (Jacobs Racing), 6 points

WW Jimmythe Geek (Wayne Ward), 6 points

WW Pool Side (Wayne Ward), 6 points

WW Vespa (Wayne Ward), 6 points

Ban Chini (Steve Sarras), 4 points

Beautiful Tease (Lester Raines), 4 points

David Palmer (Steve Sarras), 4 points

JW Kit Kat (Patriot/Taplin), 4 points

Kinda Dont Care (Steve Sarras), 4 points

WW Pascal (Wayne Ward), 4 points

FF Warrior (Abrahamson), 3 points

PJ Whattheywant (Steve Sarras), 3 points

SE’s Web Wacker (Lester Raines), 3 points

Tim Raines (Charter), 3 points

Top Line (Clear The Way), 3 points

WW Jethro Gibbs (Wayne Ward), 3 points

Barts Wynn (Charter), 2 points

Brock N Roll (Clear The Way), 2 points

BS Spice Me Up (Brad Boeckenstedt), 2 points

Christina Perri (Steve Sarras), 2 points

Maren Morris (Steve Sarras), 2 points

Nina Myers (Steve Sarras) 2 points

Barts Justenuff (Steve Sarras), 1 point

Jason Martini (Steve Sarras), 1 point

Kanji (A Ray), 1 point

Kenny Lofton (Charter), 1 point

Starinthemaking (Jacobs Racing), 1 point

Wannabe Thatsong (Charter), 1 point

Alicia Sacramone (Steve Sarras), 0 points

JS Kamikazi (Patriot/Taplin), 0 points

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.