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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Wayne Ward Kennel’s WW Slick Simon was the track win champion at Wheeling Island in 2020 with 17 victories. The sprinter is held by Sue Baker. (Photo by Stan Pawloski) 

 

Since being booked at Wheeling Island in late 1999, Wayne Ward has won kennel championships, captured numerous stake events, had many all-Wheeling selections and even All-Americans.

            One accomplishment the kennel had never achieved until the 2020 racing season – a track win champion.

            Catching fire late in the year, Wayne Ward Kennel’s WW Slick Simon took the top spot on the win leaderboard in December and cemented the championship with a victory on New Year’s Eve. The Ron Otto-trained sprinter finished the year with 17 victories.

            “Our kennel didn’t fare too well in the standings last year, but it’s quite an honor to have our first track win champion. I am so proud of what (WW) Slick Simon accomplished,” Otto said. “Halfway through the 2020 racing season I never gave the track win championship a thought, so I am pleasantly surprised.”

            WW Slick Simon’s victory total of 17 is the lowest for a leader since Flying Lone Wolf and Go Bon Coaltrain shared the track win championship with 20 each in 2013. Wheeling racing was shut down for 12 weeks in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.

            An April 2017 greyhound out of Kiowa Producer-WW’s Polished, WW Slick Simon had 14 Grade AA victories among his 17 wins along with 8 seconds, 5 thirds and 6 fourths. The sprinter hit the superfecta ticket in 77 percent of his races and finished in the trifecta in 64 percent of his starts.

            WW Slick Simon opened his career at Southland Greyhound Park in October 2018, posting a win and a third in 10 starts, before moving up to Wheeling Island in early 2019.

            “I thought Slick Simon had a lot of potential when he broke in at Southland, but he didn’t run the turns very well,” Otto said. “Wheeling has been a better fit and he’s turned into a pretty nice greyhound.”

            The sprint dandy started his late surge in mid-October 2020 – recording 7 wins, 4 seconds and 1 third in his last 14 starts of the year. He had another hot streak in July with 4 wins, 3 seconds and 1 third in eight races.

“Slick Simon is a streaky greyhound – he’ll get hot for six, seven, eight straight starts at a time. He’s more successful when he draws inside boxes,” Otto said. “He needs to break and likes to be on or near the front early in his races. If he clears the first turn first or second, he has a good chance to win.”

During the 2020 season, WW Slick Simon was posted in the one or two holes 17 times and never missed the pay sheet. He had 10 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds and 2 fourths in those races.

WW Slick Simon was almost unbeatable when having the lead coming home last year. Only one time was he picked off in the 17 races had the front end entering the homestretch.

“He’s getting older but he’s still pretty strong on the lead,” Otto said. “When he gets loose early, he can fly.”

In 105 career Wheeling starts through January 2021, WW Slick Simon had 28 wins, 13 seconds, 11 thirds and 9 fourths. He is owned by Jaws Racing.

While WW Slick Simon topped the leader board with 17 victories, 22 other greyhounds won at least 10 races in 2020 at Wheeling Island.

            The 2020 Wheeling Island win leaderboard and kennel follows:

            17 – WW Slick Simon (Wayne Ward)

            15 – Craigie Pirate (Lester Raines)

            14 – L’s Luv It (Blanchard), CTW Tira Misu (Patriot/Taplin)

            13 – JS Go Flex (Jacobs Racing)

            12 – JS Drinkmepretty (Lester Raines), CTW Lotus Flower (Imark), BGR Big Al (Brad Boeckenstedt), BGR Waxon Waxoff (Brad Boeckenstedt)

            11 – Easi Lil Charlie (Blanchard), Abbi’s Eagle (Jacobs Racing), AB Bad Influence (Jacobs Racing), BGR Call Me Hank (Brad Boeckenstedt), Craigie Deuce (Lester Raines)

            10 – AD Black Falcon (Xtrem Hess Racing), JSK Roulette (Jacobs Racing), TNT Free Falling (Patriot/Taplin), Rebelicious (Jacobs Racing), RS Perfectionist (Lester Raines), PBW Gannicus (Blanchard), Fabio Fognini (Blanchard), Shes Kinky (Jacobs Racing), Firey High Cot (Jacobs Racing)

 

 

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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.