Greyhound News
Thursday, May 3, 2018


The dust has settled after six rounds of the $215,000 Great American Greyhound Futurity at Southland Park and the top eight emerged from an original field of 93 greyhounds to make one last run for someone’s first career stakes championship. With $200,000 in total added purse money at stake in the fourteenth race on Saturday matinee’s performance, the $2,100 investment per entry kennel owners and greyhound owners alike put up may return big dividends for nearly everyone who made the final field of eight. The race itself is expected to be a closely contested event, without any clear cut single favorite taking to the sand that afternoon. Let’s take a look at preview at each championship finalist and try and cut through the weeds to see which greyhound is likely to take home the championship blanket.

FIESTA MOUNTAIN (Oshkosh Lamont – Mega Gone)

GAGF Qualifying Record: 6/0-5-1-0

Total Points Earned: 57 (rank 8th)

Owner: Jeff Blair

Trainer: Natalie Thorne

Kennel: David Blair

They say all you need is a chance, and no greyhound in the field today represents that more than Fiesta Mountain. This red male was once in as the last entrant to make the finals, only to potentially get bumped by greyhound Charlie’s Champ, who had a big win in the semi-finals to bump this greyhound out. But then it was discovered that a “no-race” had to be called due to Charlie’s Champ being loaded into the incorrect box number and Fiesta Mountain was back in once again. The resume is strong, despite being the only greyhound to not record a victory in any of the six qualifying rounds. The five second place efforts earned (just) enough points and now this greyhound gets to start from his favorite inside post position. Historically, however, he hasn’t been close to either finalist he has already finished second to already (WW Holy Toledo by six lengths back and Flying Brogdon fifteen lengths back in a troubled trip). Good, but not great breaking speed combined with no real late rush lends itself to finishing wherever he ends up being at the first turn call. Historically, that means second or third at best. Can Fiesta Mountain use the second chance in the championship to record his first, and biggest career win yet? Odds are stacked for sure.

FLYING BROGDON (Flying Fired Up – Flying Superstar)

GAGF Qualifying Record: 6/5-0-1-0

Total Points Earned: 82 (rank 2nd)

Owner: Vince Berland

Trainer: Ken Lesperance

Kennel: Lester Raines

A third place finish in a troubled trip in the opening round of qualifying was all that stood between this brindle male and an undefeated record in this event. It is hard to stare at his last six lines and think this has to be the winner of this event when you look at how dominating his wins were. He blistered a group by 15 and 12 ½ lengths already and was pulling away when the finish line came up and records his other three wins by 7, 5 and 2 ½ wins. Only one other greyhound stopped the clock under 32 second (PJ Popshoveit), but nobody did it twice other than this guy. And those wins didn’t come from favorable post positions either, with the exception of the one race in the semi-finals where he drew the #7 post, but that is a stretch considering he loves to run the inside part of the track. Bottom line is this greyhound is brimming with talent and he doesn’t even turn two years old yet until mid-July. If he breaks quickly, it is hard to see anyone match up with him. But luckily for the rest of the field, he does appear to have one weakness, and that is lackluster breaking speed. Historically, he breaks around middle of the pack, which lends itself to traffic and trouble issues, especially in the run to the first turn. That is exactly what happened in the first round of qualifying. There is just enough early speed in this race to make it interesting to see how Flying Brogdon runs as this will be the most talented field front to back he has ever faced to this point.

BARTS BEWARE (Trent Lee – Barts Lilac)

GAGF Qualifying Record: 6/3-0-2-0

Total Points Earned: 62 (rank T-6th)

Owner: Rhonda Bartley

Trainer: Stephen Ulrich

Kennel: Charter

A lackluster opening round of qualifying almost knocked this finalist out before reaching the pivot cut in the field after round 3, but two big victories carried him through and he has been running good ever since. He shows shades of his father’s early blistering speed at times, but it hasn’t become consistent enough yet, which is likely why he hasn’t had that one “huge” victory yet. While he hasn’t beaten the best in this field yet, that last third place finish he recorded in the semi-finals was against the likes of fellow finalists WW Holy Toledo, Fiesta Mountain and Eminence. That shows he can hang with the good ones in this field. Question still remains though, can he beat the best on paper in this field? Like just about anyone else in this field, Barts Beware just seems to do better starting from the inside post positions. While the #3 spot here isn’t the most favorable, it is better than being further outside. He has a puncher’s chance of breaking first out of the “inside” group of four greyhounds, and if that were to occur, he has just enough late kick to hang with the big boys. All three of his victories showed that late speed push, but none of those wins were against the guys in this championship field. He is a sneaky play that will likely garner the highest odds you will ever see on a talented greyhound like this, but for me he has to show it before I could put my “dough” on it.

XCELERATION (Djays Octane x Moto IB Cat)

GAGF Qualifying Record: 6/5-0-0-1

Total Points Earned: 80 (rank 3rd)

Owners: Toye Cole & Robert Hardison

Trainer: Ken Lesperance

Kennel: Lester Raines

This white and black sleek looking beauty is one of three greyhounds in the championship that won five races out of the six qualifying rounds. His most impressive wins came from the #8 box oddly enough for an inside biased running greyhound, but post positions rarely matter when you break on top and just pull away from the field, which is what he has been doing more often than not. Although he hasn’t breached the 32 second barrier in any of his races, he has been in the neighborhood, especially his last start where he stopped the clock at 32.03. He possesses just about everything you need to be a great racer: early speed, good rush to the turn and plenty of late speed. Problem has been those three things haven’t been put together at the same time consistently. You can see the results though when it does happen, and that often means a victory. He won from this post position in the opening round, but the competition level then wasn’t nearly what it will be in this race. He likely will face up to three or four greyhounds in trying to get the lead to the first turn, but for this greyhound being on top in the race isn’t a necessary must. However, avoiding trouble and traffic will be. The good news for those placing wagers is this greyhound truly tried hard the entire race which makes using him in exotic wagers “on the board” style may end up being the best way to play him in this race.

EMINENCE (Superior Panama – Windy Reba)

GAGF Qualifying Record: 6/2-2-1-1

Total Points Earned: 62 (rank T-6th)

Owners: Gramm/ Armington/Ametrano

Trainer: Monte Hoopes

Kennel: Magic City

If you want to compare his record during qualifying to a restaurant, you would say he is the “buffet” of the field, earning a little bit of everything….wins, seconds, thirds and fourths. No other greyhound in the field has earned at least one finish in all these areas. That is the good news. The not so good news is that he isn’t the best of breakers, the best of rushers nor does he seemingly possess an eye popping late kick, which all spells trouble when you are starting the race against this level of competition in the #5 box. All is not lost, however, even if you look up on the odds board and see that this greyhound will likely be the longest shot in the race. His most impressive win came two starts ago where he was pulling away by five lengths against the likes of fellow championship qualifiers Barts Beware and Xceleration, both of which on paper look like better greyhounds. The key for this red male to have any chance for a victory will be decided in the first three to four seconds of the race. If he isn’t close to, or grabs the lead early, there is just too much late speed and talent for him to realistically catch. However, if he is hanging close, the proof is in the lines that he can match strides with some of the best in this field and even a third or fourth place finish here could help boost mutuel ticket payouts as all eyes are likely looking elsewhere in this field.

WW HOLY TOLEDO (U Too Pure Silk – WWK Spain Blue)

GAGF Qualifying Record: 6/3-1-1-0

Total Points Earned: 65 (rank 5th)

Owner: Jaws Racing, LLC

Trainer: Carrie Edwards

Kennel: Wayne R. Ward

His father was one of the all-time great racers at Southland Park and was a near lock and regular in stakes finals during his career. WW Holy Toledo is the second youngest in the field and has been getting better in each successive race during qualifying leading up to his big six length win in the semi-finals over fellow finalists Fiesta Mountain, Barts Beware and Eminence. However, that was from the coveted one box and if there is a greyhound in this field that needs good starting position the most, it is likely this guy. Looking at the program, all three wins came from the one or two box, while the rest of his races, all non-wins, came from the #5 box on out. Starting from post six doesn’t seem to bold to well then for this black male does it? On the surface it appears there are too many things working against this greyhound. The post isn’t very good, his break isn’t good either most races or he lacks really any burst of speed at any point during the 583 yard race. He is a consistent pace type of runner who is the most dangerous when he is close in the race early on. That will be the key in the championship race as well. Can he be in the top three at the first turn? All the predictions say no. The one thing that makes you pause is he is running the best he has in his entire short career here lately and will that momentum carry over?

PJ POPSHOVEIT (SH Avatar – Skate Ladd)

GAGF Qualifying Record: 6/5-1-0-0

Total Points Earned: 85 (rank 1st)

Owners: P. Bitterman & J. Rangel

Trainer: Stephen Ulrich

Kennel: Charter

The only blemish on what would have been a perfect record during qualifying was a somewhat unexplainable second place finish to a greyhound named Hypnos Sleeps who barely got past the field cut after round three and ended up not even making the consolation field. Since that opening round runner up finish though, he has been nothing short of spectacular. Five straight wins launched him to first overall in the field of 93 in points earned during those six rounds and it would seem to be all gravy for this brindle stud right? As Lee Corso would say, “not so fast my friends”. This greyhound should have had to pay rent for the #2 box he got to start five of the past six races in, which is awesome starting position for an inside runner like he is. Now he draws the outside box of #7 which he has never done in his career. His further outside starting position was a #6 box at Derby Lane back in mid-February, which he did end up winning, but just by a nose. For those folks looking at that fact and worrying about whether or not this will be an issue, just look at the first set up numbers each race he has run and you will see this is the most consistent early speed breaker in the entire field. If that holds true during the championship race, it won’t matter much what post position you put him in, he should clear the field early and get to where he wants to race. There will also be a small whisper lingering though about that outside starting spot, so don’t be surprised if that ends up being a factor when it is all said and done.

BGR MONSTER (Boc’s Tony Romo – Boc’s Jennyfinch)

GAGF Qualifying Record: 6/4-0-1-1

Total Points Earned: 72 (rank 4th)

Owner: Brad Boeckenstedt 

Trainer: Timothy Thorne

Kennel: Robert Thorne

Two eye opening wins to close out qualifying surely do pop off the sheet when you look at the past performance lines for this greyhound. He was leaving fields behind late in the race, which was a trademark of his father, Boc’s Tony Romo, who ended up being a multi-distance runner and made several stakes championships himself. In a field where it seems all eight greyhounds love to run inside, there is some question as to how BGR Monster will fit into that crowd starting from the far outside spot in the race. BGR Monster does have the most career starts of the field, albeit just one more than Flying Brogdon. When he was racing at Naples, he was just as accomplished and successful at racing the middle distances as he is sprint races. Interesting enough, he won a couple races from the #8 box down at that Florida venue. Bottom line, this 583 yard distance does not faze him and he has plenty left in the tank to run this course. This bodes well as he doesn’t necessarily have to break on top in this race to have a chance to win it. However, with the talent already in this race, he can’t afford to give up a lot of ground to the early leaders either. He is a hard trying greyhound that will keep coming at you which makes him a key play in any exotic bets.



Winner - $90,000

2nd Place - $45,000

3rd Place - $20,000

4th Place - $11,000

5th Place - $10,000

6th Place - $9,000

7th Place - $8,000

8th Place - $7,000

Shane Bolender