Monday, January 31, 2011
It's Crunch Time - Semi-Finals OPD Tonight
Kelly J Clark
Director Of Internet Services
Jacksonville Greyhound Racing
Monday - 1/31/2011
With only one round left in the climb to the finals of the 2011 Orange Park Derby, the remaining 16 greyhounds will be giving it everything they have on Monday night at the Orange Park Kennel Club.
Almost everyone has a shot to steal a spot into the elite eight, but it is going to take some big time efforts to get it done. They need to rack up as many points as they can if they hope to move on. Several have almost secured a spot with some good trips so far, but they need to continue the good work to make it a sure thing.
As the fields get shorter the action gets hotter and I know we are going to see some fireworks in the 9th and 11th races on the cards. So they are ready to go, so let's get to it!
As expected Race 9 is going to be a tough one to figure out. Five of the eight greyhounds in the field have won a race during the stakes rounds. Two of them have won multiple races and if they come to run again tonight, they might just get their hat tricks completed. But as always I keep on keeping on with the Phenom pup Really Xtreme. This greyhound is the real deal and even though he is a bit short at the finish line over 660, he has been a consistent breaker and threat to win in each round of the stakes. Here he gets no big speed to the inside that can match him, so he should be out and gone to the front again in this effort. His only concern is getting to the finish line on top. If he can hold on in those final few strides. He just missed in his last two, tonight the point leader in the stakes, gets back to winning. Trying to get to him before he does cross that line should be Ethel's Pick. Pick won the first two rounds of the stakes in impressive fashion and after a rough trip from a middle post, she looks to rebound in this effort. She draws back inside near the rail and that could be the difference maker for her in this effort. She has a solid break, but her closing ability is what makes her special over this distance. She just needs room to run early, and if she gets it, she might just prove unstoppable in the stretch. Make U Look will be looking for the win here to as she needs every bit of those 16 points for a shot at the finals. She broke fast and pulled off the upset in her last race as she took down Really Xtreme at the wire, and if she come out again from a similar post, you might just see back to back upsets. As with Pick, Make U Look's forte is her closing ability. I know she broke last time out, but she is not consistent and can't really rely on doing it over and over and over again. She is a much better closer and that showed as she came back again to steal away the win in her last race. She will have to be around early on though if she wants to upset. So look for her early and often in this race as she gives all that she can muster throughout once again in this effort. Now for the greyhound that doesn't get enough credit, Sayitwasseth. Seth has won 2 of the 4 rounds of the stake and in each he was untouched on the lead. Here he gets to break from the same post that saw him take home a victory in round 1 and if he comes out running like he did in that effort, this race might just be over early on. He is not the same greyhound from off the pace, so he has to hit the lid in this effort. It's all up to him! It's time to show everyone how bad he wants into this final round race. (4-2-6-8)
The 11th race on the card is not really any easier than the 9th, as 6 of the 8 greyhounds in the field have won a round in the stakes so far and two of them have won twice. The thing that is going to make this race interesting is the post positions. No one is where they want to be on the racetrack, so who will overcome the early issues and show up to run a big race tonight? That is the major question as the box opens up in this effort, but another question might be just as important. Who can break best here? If you are in front it really doesn't matter where you start the race from! With that being said, it is time for someone to show up at the break again and her name is Kiowa Deli Dee. Before the stakes she was a breaking machine and was unstoppable on the front end, but in her last couple of starts she has lost her form. She has never made a stakes finals and tonight is the night that she needs to gather herself again and get back to doing what she does best, BREAKING! She gets a BREAK, yes pun intended, in this effort as she is clearly faster than this field at the start. No one here can even challenge her for the front end if she comes out running and with the greyhounds inside of her heading to the rail early on, she might get even more room to run in the first few strides. Once in front she has proven tough, but she can be had on the lead if they get to her before the stretch run. She needs to steal away plenty early on, if she hopes to survive on the late lead for the win. Trying to a get to her before the wire will be the closing DQ duo of La's Lucy and Akeem. Both greyhound have had good success in the stakes so far and Lucy was a finalist in last year's Orange Park Derby. Both can close from off the pace and in the rounds both have shown that they can break and control a race throughout too. These two greyhounds are extremely dangerous, but post once again might play a role in this effort. Akeem gets a better post, but lacks the experience that Lucy has over this distance and in the stakes rounds. Lucy has better all out speed, but Akeem is riding high off of back to back winning trips. Remember this talented duo is tied for the top of the point lead in the stakes with Really Xtreme, so don't discount their efforts. If either one of them is stalking early, each could drive home and pull off the win at the finish line. Now let's jump onto the next question mark in this race, Paddy Whacker. In the first two rounds he was untouchable on the lead, but in round three he missed his break, ran into trouble, and finished out of the money. Here he cannot afford a repeat effort. He needs to come out running, especially from the railest of rail post position. Paddy Whacker likes it wide and the one box is you know where and gone from where he likes to start his races from. This is going to be a rough road to hoe for him in this effort, but if he can channel those breaking spirits that he showed off in rounds 1 and 2, he might just be able to find a way to get it done tonight. (6-5-3-1)