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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Raindrop Captains 2019 All-America Team

Stake winner and Southland win leader, Salud Raindrop, has been named Captain of the 2019 All-America team, as announced today by the National Greyhound Association (NGA).

The annual naming of the All-America team dates back to 1963. The program pays tribute to the top eight greyhounds nationally. Historically voted on by the member tracks of AGTOA, the award process was turned over to the NGA in 2019.

Others named to this year’s squad are: LK's Crush N It (Derby Lane), JS Flamin Ace (Southland), MRL Full Boat (Southland), LR Iowa Choice (Southland), Revin Devon (Iowa Greyhound Park), Sarkazum (Southland) and Flying Givenchy (Derby Lane).

This year’s second team is comprised of: Pat C News (bestbet Jax), Konomi (Southland), L's Griz (Wheeling), Dyenuhmite (Southland), Mac's Trudeaux (Tri-State), Chillaxification (Southland), JD Revelation (IGP-Naples) and Super C Azelle (Tri-State).

First Team All Americans

The only female to make this year's first team of All Americans is Salud Raindrop. She not only made the team she has also been named Captain of the 2019 squad. At one time or another during 2019, many people were referring to Salud Raindrop as "the best greyhound in the country". She ended the year as the win leader at Southland despite missing the last two months of racing due to injury she incurred in the finals of the Female Sprint Championship. She did, however, dominate the final of the Southland Derby on her way to 11 wins in a row.

At various times during the meet she snapped off win streaks of nine, five, eleven, three and five on her way to capturing the Southland win title with a total of 36 victories in all. Her box break and early burst to the turn were her signature and she rarely got caught once in front. She won an unbelievable 76% of the races she started, finishing the year with a 47-36-3-3-2 record. 44 times on the pay sheet out of 47 starts; 93% in the money!

The sleek black female is by Bella Infrared-Mega Whitney and is co-owned by Jeff Blair and Mike Montoya. She races for the Gloria Dorsey Kennel at Southland and is trained by Natalie Looper.

A Derby Lane star is our next All American. LK's Crush N It had a phenomenal year to say the least. He made five stake finals, winning four of those including the $64,000 Sprint Classic. He finished 2nd in his other stake final. He put together numerous win streaks throughout the year on his way to winning 50 races, the most of any greyhound in North America. He was almost unstoppable at Derby finishing in the trifecta 61 times in 67 starts.

Bred, raised and owned by John and Jill Lashmet of Colorado, Crush N It is a 2016 son of LK's Now R Never-LK's All In.

JS Flamin Ace had to be considered as one of the premiere greyhounds in the country in 2019. Racing against the best Southland has to offer, Ace would qualify for 5 stake finals including the GAGF, Southland Derby, Male Sprint Championship, King & Queens and 2 for the Money. He would win the Male Sprint Championship on Festival of Stakes day and follow it up with a King & Queens victory. A July 2017 son of Superior Panama-CH Sweet Honey, Flamin Ace captured 28 wins in 2019, second most for the meet at Southland. His overall record was 58-28-9-5-7. He was raised in Abilene by Shannon Henry and was a $52,000 auction sale at the Fall meet in 2018.

He is owned by Garth Bolton and Lester Raines and races for the Raines kennel. Congratulations to everyone associated with this great greyhound!

The second oldest greyhound to make this year's team, MRL Full Boat broke in at Orange Park in 2018 and showed early on that he could be a force to be reckoned with. After struggling a bit in his early career, he was switched over to the 3/8ths course after just ten lifetime starts, winning 5 of his first 12 at the longer distance. He would then ship to Southland in late 2018. After a couple of sprint starts he moved back over to longer distances and picked up a couple wins before heading back over to sprints. This pattern would hold true for a while as the Boat proved his talents at all distances. He would eventually compete in three different distances making finals of stakes at both 5/16 and 3/8. All in all he would make 5 stake finals at Southland in 2019 while finishing in the money in 45 out of his 50 starts.

Full Boat is an October 2016 son of CTW Pipe Down-MRL Goin Bye Bye and is owned by Lee Harrington's MRL Metals.

LR Iowa Choice. This big male out of Top Of The Pile-Springisintheair broke in with a flair in March of 2019 winning seven of his first nine starts, the ninth being a first round win in qualifying for the Great American Greyhound Futurity. He would go on to make the consolation final of the futurity and then jump right into qualifying for the Southland Derby where he would make the finals after winning two of the four qualifying rounds. He would continue his winning ways leading up to qualifying for the Male Sprint Championship in the Festival of stakes. He would find trouble in the final but bounce back and continue picking up victories finishing the season with the third most wins for the Southland meet.

Three stake finals and a record of 52-26-6-4-3 against the best are the credentials for the youngest of this year's All Americans, LR Iowa Choice. Congratulations to co-owners Mary Robinette and Karen Legg and their outstanding greyhound!

Revin Devon. This young Iowa-bred is owned by David Ungs and Billy Galbreath. He burst on the Iowa Greyhound Park scene and quickly moved up into the grade A ranks. The April 2017 brindle son of U Too Pure Silk-Fire And Heat wound up capturing the IGP track win title with a 19 victories in 35 outings. He would go on to win the $200,000 Iowa Breeders Cup as well as the $30,000 Future Stars Stake. He also ran a nice second in the 3/8ths mile Dubuque Course Classic to Superior Tora.

Devon would close out the season at Dubuque with another stake win in the Secretary's Choice Stake finishing off a great meet. He moved on to Gulf Greyhound Park at the end of the year and continued his winning ways there.

The oldest member of this year's team is William O'Donnell's Sarkazum. This star was simply a machine, running at any and all distances offered at the Southland oval. In May he captured the Razorback Championship over the 660 yard course. He then ran a hard trying 2nd in the Super Marathon Championship as well as winning races over the 703 yard course. Sarkazum is a 2016 son of Shonn-Jennah and races for the Northshore Kennel at Southland.

His record for the year was 51-14-15-5-9, an impressive 84% in the money clip. Here's to Sarkazum and the O'Donnell crew for this All American honor!

Flying Givenchy. Givenchy broke in at Naples going from Maiden to A in straight starts. He would end up with fourteen starts at the South Florida track, winning twelve of those. From there it was on to Southland for the Great American Greyhound Futurity where he would run well enough to make the finals, but finish a disappointing seventh. He was then shipped to Derby Lane where he would win the T.L. Weaver Memorial, run third in the Husker Magic, finish 2nd in the Howl-O-Ween stake and garner 21 wins in 36 starts.

Givenchy, a 2017 son of Barcelona Boss-Flying Blush compiled a record of 63-34-17-3-3 for the year at three different tracks, making 4 stake finals and finishing 7th in the nation in total wins. He is owned by Vince Berland.

These eight will be honored with All-America plaques in ceremonies at the Greyhound Hall Of Fame Thursday night, Apr. 16, during the NGA Spring Meet in Abilene, Ks.

 Jim Gartland is the Executive Director for the NGA and serves as the Secretary Treasurer to the Board.