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Friday, July 5, 2019

HEAVY “RAIN” CONTINUES @ SOUTHLAND!

Salud Raindrop continues her domination in the Derby

We haven’t seen dominance like this from a greyhound around these parts since the immortal Bella Infrared tore up the West Memphis oval from 2011 to early 2013.

It has been even longer since this domination came from a female (since probably Shanett in 2011). Daddy passed on his greatness well.

The daughter of the “immortal one”, Salud Raindrop (Gloria Dorsey Kennel) is well on track to potentially even best her father in terms of accomplishments and career wins, while already besting him in total purse earnings. Her victory in the 2019 Southland Derby looked eerily similar to what her dad did back in 2012 when he won this same event. “Red” went undefeated during the qualifying rounds. So did Raindrop. “Red” blew away a talented field that included the likes of Slatex Plutonium and Slatex Titanium by six lengths pulling away. Raindrop won by seven lengths going away against the likes of All-American, Konomi and a host of young greyhounds who combined had 63 victories amongst them.

She has the quickness out of the box like her father and a rush to the first turn that would make her daddy proud. Some would say her dad ran the wide and sweeping turns here better than her, but the end result is eerily similar. She doesn’t win by the same margins a lot of the time like her dad, but a lot of that could be contributed to how much tougher the competition is here now at Southland than it was in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Both eras had really good greyhounds, but the depth of competition in the top grades is much better in many people’s opinions.

This black female began her career much like her father did too. She won her very first official race back in late June of 2018 and made a slow and steady climb up the grade ladder (took 9 starts to reach “AA”). She won her first top grade race in just her 12th overall career start. In just her fifteenth career start, she was entered into the Barry Baldwin Juvenile Championship division of the Festival of Stakes where she won three of the four qualifying rounds and then won the championship race going away by six lengths. She would go on to win 9 more races in her first season of racing to tally 19 victories in 34 starts.

Her father came into his racing career with much more initial fanfare. He breezed through three official schooling races and won his maiden debut by a whopping 15 lengths. It took him just seven starts to reach top grade and he won not only his debut “AA” race (by six lengths no less), but won his encore race by nearly the same margin. In just his tenth career start he was entered into the 2011 Hound Madness Stakes where he finished third in the opening round but it was good enough to advance on. He wouldn’t lose again, running the rest of the table and winning the championship.

Bella Infrared would compete in the 2011 Southland Derby and although he won two qualifying races, his other two starts were not good enough to clinch a spot in the championship race. He would go on to finishe third by just a single length back in the consolation race. The “real Infrared” many would come to know would begin shortly thereafter as he would put together one of the best 18 month stretches we have seen around these parts for some time.

He would make the finals of what was known then as the “Mid-South Sprint Championship” in the Festival of Stakes (precursor to the Darby Henry Sprint) and finish fifth to an All-American female by the name of Shanett. He would set the Arkansas Course record a start before qualifying began in that event in early October at 31.43. These were just appetizers.

In 2012, his most prolific year, he would set the consecutive wins record (19) and during the stretch, break his own course record again in early June when he lowered it to 31.28. He would win the Southland Derby (going undefeated), won three of four rounds in the “King of The Hill” challenge hot box series and suffered an injury just before the Festival of Stakes began that Fall. He would come back in late November that year and won four more races to finish with 36 victories that season, easily the best at the track. And oh yeah, he would set the track record again at 31.14.

In just two and a quarter seasons, Bella Infrared amassed 76 wins in just 108 starts (70%) and added another 9 seconds, 7 thirds and 4 fourth place finishes for an “in the money” rate of 89%. He captained the 2012 AGTOA All-American Team, won 2012 Greyhound of the Year and Best Greyhound on the Arkansas Course awards at Southland. He won two major stakes events, set the Arkansas Course track record three times and permanently etch his name into the “All-Time Greats” to ever race here.

Salud Raindrop is just in the midst of her second season of racing here, but just recently closed her first full year of racing in late June. During this time, she has 70 career starts with 48 victories already (68.5%). Her “on the board” percentage is nearly identical to her late father’s, at 89% (62 of 70). She’s got two major stakes titles already, is in the midst of a 11 race consecutive win streak and shows little signs of slowing down. As a matter of fact, she is approaching the age where her father’s career really took off. That is scary…….scary good. No, wait. Scary great!

There is not a single doubt she will turn out to be one of the best to ever race at Southland Park. She may have already cemented that footnote in history already. She is likely already cemented as an “All-American” first teamer, if not already the Captain. She is an odd’s defying, eye pleasing, hard trying, 62-pound black bullet of a racing greyhound. She is the rarest of the rare in our sport and if you haven’t gotten a chance to see her, especially live at the track, you are missing an opportunity that comes around maybe once or twice a decade.

In a sport where the best is dominated by males historically (she was the only female in the Derby championship field for example), especially sprinters, this little lady has something to say to all the boys racing today. Most may not hear it though, because she is busy crossing the finish line ahead of them, over and over again.

Most articles would articulate the race and the other entries in the Southland Derby. Problem is, there wasn’t much drama to it. It was a domination. A sweet one at that. It is a nice problem to have.

Runner up honors went to Legg Greyhound Kennel’s Brackley Bites while All-American Konomi (A Ray Kennel) finished third to combine for a $102.50 dollar trifecta. Other finishers included MRL Full Boat (Darren Henry Kennel) who finished fourth, JS Flamin Ace (Lester Raines Kennel) who ran fifth, FGF Lucky Star (Charter Kennel) who finished sixth, Good Win Bob (Legg Greyhound) who ran seventh and LR Iowa Choice (Legg Greyhound) who finished last.

Congratulations go out to Salud Raindrop, trainer Natalie Thorne and owners Jeff Blair and Michael Montoya for the victory along with kennel owner Gloria Dorsey. Something tells me (and hopes), this won’t be the last big victory you see.

$75,000 Southland Derby Championship

Race: 13 Grade: SAA Distance: 583 Condition: F

4 Salud Raindrop       3.60 2.80 2.20

2 Brackley Bites                 9.00 4.40

5 Konomi                                    7.60

EXOTICS:    $2.00 EXACTA 4/2 paid $26.00       $2.00 QUINELLA 2/4 paid $17.80

$2.00 TRIFECTA 4/2/5 paid $205.00      $2.00 SUPERFECTA 4/2/5/1 paid $522.20

CHART:

Salud Raindrop 4 1 1-2 1-4 1-7 31.53 .80 S 2019 Derby Champ

Brackley Bites 2 7 5 3 2-7 32.02 7.20 SAA From Far Back Ins

Konomi 5 6 3 2 3-7.5 32.06 14.20 S Good Effort Ins

Mrl Full Boat 1 8 8 7 4-8.5 32.13 11.20 S Steady Gain Mt

Js Flamin Ace 6 3 4 5 5-9 32.17 10.20 S Evenly Ins

Fgf Lucky Star 3 2 2 4 6-12 32.37 20.20 S Steady Fade Ins

Good Win Bob 8 4 6 6 7-12.5 32.39 4.20 S Never In It Mt

Lr Iowa Choice 7 5 7 8 8-13.5 32.49 7.20 SAA Never Close Mt

A RAY KENNEL “MAKIN WAVES” IN CONSOLATION!

All female sweep in the Southland Derby

She was the only female in the Southland Derby consolation, but the combination of a perfect post position combined with a sharp start contributed to JS Makin Waves (A Ray Kennel) to win the $10,000 Southland Derby consolation race going away by 4 ½ lengths on Sunday, June 30th at Southland.

Taking advantage of the same starting position that produced a win and a third place showing during qualifying, the red fawn female out of Superior Panama and CH Sweet Honey nearly went box to wire in the victory which stopped the clock in 31.64. She had to battle Darren Henry Kennel’s Arkans Sokka for much of the early stages of the race before he faded back and she cruised home as the betting favorite of the race, returning $7.80 to win.

Stakes veteran Tuxedo (Charter Kennel, Inc.) made yet another stakes finals appearance, but couldn’t match the speed of JS Makin Waves and settled for third.

Lester Raines Kennel’s Xceleration finished second to wrap up the top three finishers.

The rest of the finishing order included Artex Crab (Darren Henry), Arkans Sokka (Darren Henry), Arkans Pherkad (Darren Henry), Blackfeather (Bussmann-Balakas, LLC) and WW John Ringo (Wayne R. Ward, Inc.).

JS Makin Waves is trained by Denise Corey and owned by kennel owner Tom Ferris. Her victory combined with Salud Raindrop’s victory in the championship race made a Southland Derby “female double”, which is believed to be the first time a female has won both the consolation and championship races in the same year.

$10,000 Southland Derby Consolation ·

Race: 11 Grade: SAA Distance: 583 Condition: F

 1 JS Makin Waves 7.80 4.80 3.20

4 Xceleration 6.60 3.60

8 Tuxedo 3.00

EXOTICS: $2.00 EXACTA 1/4 paid $47.60        $2.00 QUINELLA 1/4 paid $23.00

$2.00 TRIFECTA 1/4/8 paid $153.00      $2.00 SUPERFECTA 1/4/8/7 paid $646.40

CHART: Js Makin Waves 1 1 2 1-2 1-4.5 31.64 2.90 S Going Away Ins

Xceleration 4 8 6 5 2-4.5 31.95 4.50 S Steady Gain Ins

Tuxedo 8 3 3 2 3-6 32.05 3.50 S Good Effort Ins

Artex Crab 7 7 7 4 4-7 32.14 14.20 S Some Improvement Mt

Arkans Sokka 2 2 1-hd 3 5-8 32.20 5.20 S Off Fast, Faded Ins

Arkans Pherkad 6 6 5 7 6-11.5 32.44 9.20 S Evenly Mt

Blackfeather 3 4 4 6 7-13 32.54 7.20 SAA Steady Fade Ins

Ww John Ringo 5 5 8 8 8-15.5 32.72 5.20 S Never Close Mt

Shane Bolender