Thursday, March 29, 2012

American Greyhound Derby First Heat Final on Friday

United Greyhound Racing's Locklear American Derby Final Analysis

By: Clint Locklear

The 2012 American Derby Final 1 of 2:

1. KELSOS GUARDIAN, 65 lb. black male
Sire: Kelsos Fusileer  Dam: Kelsos Hifalutin
Kennel: J.E. O'Donnell
Trainer: Dennis Smith
Owner: John Kelly
Qualifying Record: 4: 4-0-0

This 21 month old pup has yet to do much wrong. He was perfect through qualifying while winning by an average of 5 lengths and showed his versatility in the semi-final by coming from off the pace.  John Kelly recorded one of his biggest victories as an owner at Mardi Gras (when it was known as Hollywood) with Kelsos Kingpin in the 1999 World Classic. He's bred and owned many other well known greyhounds throughout the years.  Barney O'Donnell, who oversees the kennel from which Guardian competes out of, is no stranger to success. He has operated one of the most well known racing kennels in American history for several decades. Guardian is quickly becoming a national star in the world of greyhound racing. The post draw only adds to those expectations. A win would also begin the debate….is Guardian the best 3/8ths dog in America?


2. JAX WANDA RINN, 63 lb. black female
Sire: Flying Penske  Dam: Thrill A Minute
Kennel: Valor Racing
Trainer: Paul Giguere
Owner: Michael Jackson & Shannon Henry
Qualifying Record: 4: 1-1-2
Wanda nearly upset Kelsos Guardian at 10-1 in the semi-final, narrowly missing out on becoming one of only 3 dogs to pull off the feat at the 3/8ths distance. The other two you ask? Wannadobadthings and Ah's Sly. Wanda has been solid throughout the Mardi Gras meet and her move to the 3/8ths course has been met with even more success. She didn't display the precocity of most stakes performers, like her some of her competitors in this event. She didn't break her maiden until her 11th try at Dubuque Greyhound Park in Iowa in June of last year. Patiently handled, Wanda was allowed to gradually find her footing in the middle grades before arriving in South Florida for the winter racing season. Wanda was a semi-finalist in last month's World Classic and the American Derby marks her 3rd stakes competition. Her best chance is to secure an early lead, which she did over probable race favorite Kelsos Guardian in the semi- final round. Wanda’s first round win was a box wire to effort. Connections are hoping for a quick break and a little racing luck.



3. CASPIAN'S PLACE, 66 lb. brindle male
Sire: Fuzzys Cannon  Dam: Genisis Place
Kennel: D.Q. Williams
Trainer: Carlos Perez
Owner: Tina Williams
Qualifying Record: 4: 2-1-0

One of four finalists for the Williams family who are synonymous with distance racing. Caspian's Place is the youngest of the quartet, (3 months away from his 2nd birthday) but has raced like a solid veteran. Two of his eight career wins came in the final two rounds of qualifying, one of which he defeated his kennel mate Show You Want. Caspian likes to close early on the inside and will drive home late if he's close. His qualifying win times may not match up with some of the favorites in here, but he has previously stopped the clock in 37.26.


4. GOODLUCKSTERLING, 72 lb. white & red ticked male
Sire: RA Blazer  Dam: Good Luck Leslie
Kennel: D.Q. Williams
Trainer: Carlos Perez
Owner: Sharon Williams
Qualifying Record: 4: 2-2-0

There may not be another dog as zeroed in as Sterling coming into the Final. In the zone, Carlos Perez and crew have tuned him up at precisely the right time. Although known as a legitimate and exciting closer, Sterling has been 'nosing the lid' to early leads in his last two resulting in runaway victories. His semi-final clocking of 37.28 was the fastest time of the event thus far and his quarter-final time of 37.31 was not far off. Sterling enters this race as one of the few who could potentially pull the upset over Kelsos Guardian. If Sterling continues breaking as he has lately, Guardian may be chasing him to the wire.

5. BM MURPHY, 63 lb. black female
Sire: Flying Penske  Dam: Rc's Jamie
Kennel: Brindle
Trainer: Jorge Esquivel
Owner: Richard Carbone
Qualifying Record: 4: 2-0-0

The talented BM Murphy remains a mystery and will play the wildcard Friday night. She was just as impressive in her third round win as she was dreadful in her semi-final clunker. Her Round 1 victory was peculiar to say the least, taking the wide route (and took Goodlucksterling with her) to a narrow victory. Trying to gauge her form or racing patterns are understandably difficult, but be aware she's capable of firing each time out. Even in an event as tough as this Derby Final, Murphy could manage a placing. She was one of the high point qualifiers in last month's James W. Paul Derby at Palm Beach, but ran unplaced in the Final. The American Derby is her second consecutive stakes Final.


6. SHOW YOU WANT, 61 lb. red female
Sire: RA Blazer  Dam: Show N Tell
Kennel: D.Q. Williams
Trainer: Carlos Perez
Owner: Sharon Williams
Qualifying Record: 4: 1-1-1

D.Q. Williams has done well in the American Derby in years past at Lincoln Greyhound Park in Rhode Island. In 2001 the Williams family won with Redmoon Clyde, who was an All American that year. Show You Want is trying to make the long list of memorable racers that have come from the Williams' Oklahoma farm. Show You Want is making her third distance stakes appearance at as many tracks. She was third to Slatex Cadillac in the Naples 770 yd. Inaugural and 4th in Flagler's Hecht Marathon Final. Interestingly enough, she spent most of her time running the sprint course in 2011. Not as highly touted as her kennel mates, she should still give honest effort at a big price Friday night.

7. KELSOS FABULOUS, 66 lb. black female
Sire: Trent Lee  Dam: Kelsos Spotwood
Kennel: J.E. O'Donnell
Trainer: Dennis Smith
Owner: John Kelly
Qualifying Record: 4: 2-0-0

Quickness is her game and she'll try to be quicker from the box than her rivals Friday night. Fabulous surprised many with a big open length win in Round 1. She followed that up with a similar romp in Round 2. As cuts to the field were made, the races got tougher. She managed only a 4th and a 6th following back to back wins. Her sectional times clearly state she may be the fastest to the turn, but oddly enough her kennel-mate, Kelsos Guardian, may dispute that on Derby night.



8. WANNADOBADTHINGS, 73 lb. black male
Sire: Dragon Fire  Dam: Leafs Flying
Kennel: D.Q. Williams
Trainer: Carlos Perez
Owner: Tina Williams
Qualifying Record: 4: 2-2-0

Some may say he was running him down in Round 2, while others would say Kelsos Guardian was inching away at the wire. It was an early round showdown that provided nail biting excitement and a possible glimpse into the future. Wannadobadthings is one of the top three choices in the Final and has established himself as one of the most dangerous and electrifying closers in racing. However, it should be noted he was uncharacteristically in contention early in Round 2.  Many expected he would pounce on Guardian, yet the young star continually fought him off that night. Wannadobadthings bounced out of that race in Round 3 with a seven length romp to match his Round 1 win. He is favorably posted on the outside and had as good a chance as any to turn the tables on his rival Friday night.

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