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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

As the second half of the abbreviated 2020 racing season kicks in gear at Wheeling Island, there is a logjam atop the track’s kennel standings and win leaders.

The racetrack reopened June 5 after a 12-week shutdown ordered by the state due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). It is believed to be the longest the racetrack has been shut down since the flood of 1996 when the operation was closed from mid-January until March 1.

Through Sunday, Aug. 9 races, the top four kennels from 2019 once again occupy the top four spots in the standings this year although in a different order.

Lester Raines holds the top spot with 205 victories on the year following closely by Jacobs Racing with 201 wins and defending champion Blanchard with 197 victories. Patriot/Taplin is fourth with 188 wins while rounding out the top five is Charter with 169.

Sitting atop the track win leader board is sprinter JS Drinkmepretty (Lester Raines) with 10 victories in 20 starts – a 50 percent win percentage. Each of her victories have come against Grade AA competition.

JS Drinkmepretty was third in wins last year with 19.

Two greyhounds have posted nine wins each this year – CTW Tira Misu (Patriot/Taplin) and CTW Lotus Flower (Imark). With eight victories apiece are JSK Roulette (Jacobs Racing), WW Slick Simon (Wayne Ward), ZB Tremonti (Lester Raines), BGR Call Me Hank (Brad Boeckenstedt) and WW Spend A Lot (Wayne Ward).

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.