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Back to News » Wheeling track anniversary: Top stakes final fields, No. 5 and No. 6
Monday, August 14, 2023

Down through the years, Wheeling has had a rich tradition in greyhound stakes competition.

Fans have been blessed with the chance to see some of the all-time greats in some of the track’s most memorable moments.

The month of August marks 47 years of Wheeling greyhound racing and with assistance from local greyhound historian Robin Reed, a list of the top eight all-time Wheeling stakes final fields has been put together.

Selected as the best of the best stakes championship fields follow:

No. 1 – the 1987 $60,000 Wheeling Challenge Invitational

No. 2 – the 1984 $145,000 West Virginia Classic

No. 3 – the 1984 $80,000 West Virginia Commissioner’s Cup

No. 4 – the 1977 $11,000 Thomas F. Shehan Sprint Classic

No. 5 – the 2001 $35,000 Spring Classic

No. 6 – the 1982 $55,000 City of Wheeling Sprint

No. 7 – the 2008 $100,000 Wheeling Island Invitational

No. 8 – the 2004 $50,000 Couch Potato Stakes.

"Wheeling stakes racing has created some of the most indelible memories in the track's great 47-year history," Reed said. "I love having the opportunity to bring those moments to life again for both veteran fans such as myself who have shared in the experience and new fans to Wheeling racing who may not be aware of the track's remarkable past."

Today’s article looks at No. 6 – the 1982 $55,000 City of Wheeling Sprint and No. 5 – the 2001 $35,000 Spring Classic.

1982 City of Wheeling Sprint (ranked No. 6) Friday evening, July 30, 1982

The championship final field featured two All-American greyhounds, My Problem and Mr. Wizard, who combined for nine stakes crowns at different tracks during their racing careers.

From the rail out, the finalists and their achievements follow:

1-MY PROBLEM (Julian Dial Kennel) - 1983 All-American - Winner of the 1983 West Virginia Classic - Winner of the 1982 Orange Park Juvenile - Winner of the 1982 Orange Park Derby - Winner of the 1983 Rhode Island Derby - Second in the Florida/World Challenge - Finalist in the 1982 West Virginia Classic - Set Wheeling 5/16th track record (30.22) - 103 career wins

2-COOL CHANGE (Pecos Kennel) - Wheeling record 9-race 3/8th consecutive win streak - 1982 Wheeling record (57-18-12-4).

3-K’S MOON (E.J. Alderson Kennel) - Second in wins at Wheeling in 1982 (85-33-17-15)

4-HIGH GLASS (Steubenville Kennel) - Winner of the 1982 Orlando King & Queen Stakes - Finalist 1983 Greyhound Grand Prix - 1982 Wheeling record (36-17-6-5)

5-Mr. WIZARD (Jon Seastrom Kennel) - 1982 All-American - Winner of the 1982 West Virginia Classic - Winner of the 1981 Ebro Juvenile - Winner of the 1981 Ebro King & Queen Stakes - Winner of the 1982 Ebro Derby - Winner of the 1982 American Derby - Finalist in the 1983 Wheeling Kennel Medley (3/8th leg) - 1981 and 1982 Ebro win champ (17 and 18 victories) - Set Wheeling 3/8th track record twice (38.07 and 37.98) - Set Wheeling 5/16th track record (30.23)

6-J’S SUSIE (Steubenville Kennel) - Winner of the 1980 City of Wheeling Stakes - 1980 Wheeling win champ (33 victories) - 1980 Honorable Mention All-American - 54 career wins - 1982 Wheeling record (22-6-5-4)

7-DB’s DUDLEY - Raced at Plainfield, CT

8-LIL MISS MARKER (Kansas Kennel) - Finalist in the 1982 West Virginia Classic - Finalist in the 1982 Seabrook Great Greyhound Race - 1982 Wheeling record (41-18-7-6)

In the championship final, Lil Miss Marker – a littermate to 1981 West Virginia Classic champ Tuf Threads – broke seventh from the eight-hole but rushed up into second behind DB’s Dudley heading down the backstretch. The pair battled to the stretch with Lil Miss Marker getting up by a length at the wire in 30.47. High Glass settled for third.

Completing the finish were J’s Susie, fourth; My Problem, fifth; Mr. Wizard, sixth; K’s Moon, seventh; and Cool Change, eighth.

Lil Miss Marker had three wins, a third and a fifth in the five preliminary rounds.

2001 Spring Classic (ranked No. 5) Saturday evening, May 26, 2001

The championship final field featured five of the best greyhounds racing at Wheeling Downs at the time – Fortified Rush, Luckydeals Honor, Iruska All Star, Soul Cipher and Cheek To Cheek.

In the Greyhound Review magazine in July 2001, Pawloski called the championship field “perhaps the best field of sprinters ever to go to post in the final of a Spring Classic championship at Wheeling Downs.”

From the rail out, the finalists and their accomplishments follow:

1-CEE BAR DORY (Mike Fynmore Kennel) - 14 wins at Wheeling in 2001

2-CHEEK TO CHEEK (ZEZ Kennel) - Second in the 2000 Wheeling Spring Juvenile - Third in the 2000 Wheeling Spring Classic - Finalist in the 2000 Firecracker Classic - Second in wins at Wheeling in 2000 (35 victories) - 63 career wins - 20 wins at Wheeling in 2001

3-TEMPO LIZZIE (Cardinal Kennel) - 15 wins at Wheeling in 2001

4-LUCKYDEALS HONOR (Wayne Ward Kennel) - Winner of the 2003 Wichita Holiday Sprint - Second in the 2002 Wheeling Spring Classic - Second in the 2002 Wheeling Night of Stars - 52 career wins at Wheeling - 2001 Wheeling record (44-25-4-5)

5-FORTIFIED RUSH (Lester Raines Kennel) - 2000 Wichita Invitational Race of Champions (sixth) - 11-race consecutive win streak at Wheeling - 31 wins at Wheeling in 2000 - 58 career wins - 2001 Wheeling record (41-24-6-7)

6-SOUL CIPHER (Lester Raines Kennel) - Winner of the 2002 Wheeling Night of Stars - Finalist in the 2002 Spring Classic - 12-race consecutive win streak - 2001 Wheeling record (46-23-8-4)

7-IRUSKA ALL STAR (Iruska Racing Kennel) - Third in the 2002 Commissioner’s Cup - 2001 Wheeling win champ (63-30-16-6) - 60 career wins

8-SAN TAN CYPHER (ZEZ Kennel) - 24 wins at Wheeling in 2001

In the championship final, Fortified Rush and Luckydeals Honor rocketed out of the box virtually even going to the first turn. Fortified Rush with his aggressive style kept pushing to the rail from the outside – near the first turn Luckydeals Honor hesitated and then hopped to the outside giving Fortified Rush the lead on the rail heading down the backstretch.

Fortified Rush opened up a 3-length cushion before Luckydeals Honor closed in the stretch to slice the margin to 1 ½ lengths at the wire. The champion stopped the clock in 30.35.

Iruska All Star was a close third followed by Cheek To Cheek, fourth; Soul Cipher, fifth; San Tan Cypher, sixth; Tempo Lizzie, seventh; and Cee Bar Dory, eighth.

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.