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Thursday, September 28, 2017

The championship of the $35,000 West Virginia Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association Juvenile Stakes appears to be a wide open final.

In the combined 24 qualifying round races for the eight finalists, the greyhounds posted only six total wins and two of the sprinters – GF Mama Mia and Jax Eleni – had two victories each. Half the field did not post a win in the preliminary rounds.

The final will be Race 20 on the Saturday, Sept. 30, matinee card.

Patriot/Taplin Kennel sprinter GF Mama Mia tops all qualifiers for championship final with 35 points. The Tri-State Greyhound Park invader had a pair of wins and a fourth in the three qualifying rounds. Abrahamson Kennel’s Jax Eleni also had two wins plus a sixth in the preliminary rounds to register 32 points.

Completing the final field are Hit Me Chief (Steve Sarras Kennel), 29 points; Mac’s Patty Pat (A Ray Kennel), 27 points; CET Patches (Steve Sarras Kennel) and Ban Chini (Steve Sarras Kennel), 22 points each; Jason Martini (Steve Sarras Kennel), 20 points; and Bustin BJ (Steve Sarras Kennel), 19 points.

The post positions for the final follow:

1—CET Patches

2—Bustin BJ

3—Jason Martini

4—Ban Chini

5—GF Mama Mia

6—Mac’s Patty Pat

7—Jax Eleni

8—Hit Me Chief

Following are capsule looks at the eight finalists by post position:

1 – CET Patches (Steve Sarras Kennel, trainer Cris Ohler): had a second, third and fourth in the qualifiers; draws a preferred inside post position; should be in the mix early, has closing speed.

2 – Bustin BJ (Steve Sarras Kennel, trainer Cris Ohler): had a win, a fifth and a seventh in the three qualifying races; has been somewhat inconsistent but has a ton of run if able to get loose early in race.

3 – Jason Martini (Steve Sarras Kennel, trainer Cris Ohler): had a second, third and fifth in the preliminary round races; not a lot of early speed, but can catch the back end of ticket if clears the turn clean.

4 – Ban Chini (Steve Sarras Kennel, trainer Cris Ohler): had two seconds and a sixth in the early rounds; has some breaking ability and may need to fire from the middle hole; has some closing speed.

5 – GF Mama Mia (Patriot/Taplin Kennel, trainer Joe Otto): had two victories from inside holes and a fourth in the qualifiers; will need to break sharp and be on or near the front around the first turn.

6 – Mac’s Patty Pat (A Ray Kennel, trainer Joe Palmer): had a pair of seconds and a third in the early round races; probably would have preferred an inside box, but has some finishing speed if close.

7 – Jax Eleni (Abrahamson Kennel, trainer Tom Engle): had a pair of victories and a sixth in the preliminary outings; broke sharp and drove to the top in last two trips; frontrunner needs a fast start.

8 – Hit Me Chief (Steve Sarras Kennel, trainer Cris Ohler): had a win and two thirds – only a combined 3 lengths back – in the early rounds; boxed in a nice spot to follow the fast-starting Jax Eleni to the turn.

RACE ANALYSIS: Being a juvenile championship, anything can happen.

However, Jax Eleni has been very sharp out of the box her last two efforts, and I see no reason why she doesn’t hit it again and drive to the lead.

Jax Eleni will be tough to track down on the lead. CET Patches should get a nice trip from the rail post, and look for Hit Me Chief to follow Jax Eleni to the turn and catch the ticket.

Let’s go $1 trifecta, 7-1-all, 7-all-1 and 7 over 4, 5, 8.

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.