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Back to News » Wheeling greyhounds chase elusive 30-win season
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

It’s been 10 years since a greyhound has recorded 30 or more victories at Wheeling Island.

There’s a chance that may change when the 2019 racing season concludes in December. The last greyhound to reach the plateau was Kiowa Power Pak with 31 victories in 2009.

With four months remaining this year, three greyhounds are on pace to top or come close to the 30-win level. Patriot/Taplin Kennel’s GF La Duena sits atop the win leader board with 21 victories on the year while Blanchard Kennel’s L’s Griz (20) and Xtrem Hess Racing Kennel’s DS Bubbles (19) are just behind.

GF La Duena started off the year hot by winning four in a row and six of seven starts at one point. In May, the 330-yard standout was sizzling as she captured six straight trips and nine of 10 outings.

L’s Griz, the track’s 2018 win champion with 23 victories, started slow this year before catching fire this summer. Since June, the sprinter has won 11 out of his 16 starts, including 3-race and 4-race win streaks.

DS Bubbles has been solid all season long, with four different 3-race win streaks in January, March, May and June.

Why has there been a decline in the number of greyhounds putting up big win seasons?

The main reason is the competition at Wheeling Island. This year’s win leaders are racing in Grade AA and face the best the track has to offer every time they go to the starting box.

“I think the main reason for the decline in 30-win greyhounds is directly related to the competition in Grade AA at Wheeling the last decade,” local greyhound historian Robin Reed said. “For years, there would be a handful of dominant greyhounds that everyone followed at any given time. Today, the Grade AA ranks are so stacked that parity has taken over and limited the win leaders’ threshold to the upper 20s.”

Greyhounds with at least 30 wins a year were a common occurrence up until about 10 years ago.

In 2000, six greyhounds posted 30 victories or more – headed by track win champion Butter N Jam (36). Next in line were littermate Cheek To Cheek (35), Itsjustplaingood (34), Fortified Rush (31), Maker Me Strong (30) and Prima Gold Tone (30).

Butter N Jam, Cheek To Cheek, Maker Me Strong and Prima Gold Tone all raced out of the Ed Zeroski-operated ZEZ Kennel and trained by Kim Sine.

The year before in 1999, five greyhounds topped 30 wins – Prima Gold Tone, 40; WW Time Warp, 36; Itsjustplaingood, 34; Flaming Glory, 33; and Iruska Zederiah, 31. Another possible reason for the lack of a 30-win greyhound is the number of starts.

“The total number of starts is somewhat of a factor as well, but greyhounds such as Greys Beaver and Fortified Rush, to name a couple, managed to achieve 30 plus wins with 50 starts or less,” Reed noted. “It can be done.”

The following greyhounds also reached 30 wins or more during their careers at Wheeling: 1977:

Slick Genius, 30 1980:

J’s Susie 33, J’s Roxie, 30 1981:

Friend Delilah, 47; Odd Express, 32; Hondo Pewter, 31 1982:

Friend Delilah, 36; K’s Moon, 33; Pecos Guitar Man, 30 1983:

Rebel’s Daisy, 38; Big Albert, 31 1984:

Yucca T, 36 1986:

DD’s Nelson, 38; Julie’s Squealer, 31 1987:

W’s Prixy Fly, 37 1988:

To The Top, 34; Cost Critter Lee, 32 1990:

DC Jay Bird, 42; Stage Door Ace, 38 1991:

Greys Beaver, 33 1992:

Greys Beaver, 34 1993:

Casual Casey, 39; Ben G Desire, 36; Irish Michael, 33 1994:

Casual Casey, 31; Ben G Desire, 31 1996:

Kiowa Day Jazz, 41; Gem E Grela, 33 1997:

Mi Nice Catch, 31; Areba, 30 1998:

DB’s Dolcie Dash, 39; Jimbo Scotty, 33.

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.