Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gulf Greyhounds Greyhound of the Week - Santa’s Clifton

Santa’s Clifton
We are going to change the scenery by switching to the 660-yard course at Gulf Greyhound Park for this week’s honoree as Greyhound of the Week, Santa’s Clifton from D.Q. Williams Kennel. At barely the age of two years old, the 76-pound brindle son of Let’s Winendine – Santa’s Playgirl has enjoyed much success racing on the sands of the La Marque, Texas racing oval accumulating a career record of 33/9-7-8-6.

The journey began in February of 2012 by winning both of his official schooling outings and after a second place finish in his debut on February 12, Santa’s Clifton graduated from the maiden class winning impressively by 10 lengths. In fact, Santa’s Clifton finished first, second or third in the first nine starts of his climb through the grading ranks eventually reaching grade AA on April 28.

Then, the well went dry over the next seven starts against the Gulf’s elite grade AA competition failing to earn a trip to the winner’s circle. For a change of pace, trainer Craig Edwards switched distances for his young pup and Santa’s Clifton made an immediate splash by winning his first attempt over the 660-yard course by five lengths on June 2 and followed up that effort with a close third place finish on June 9.

After being forced away from the racing scene for the remainder of the months of June and July, Santa’s Clifton returned to his money making ways with three trips over the 550-yard course before making another move to the longer 660-yard course. Continuing to land on the pay sheet and knocking on the door, Santa’s Clifton finally broke through with a four-length victory on August 26 and that winning effort must have lit a fire under Santa’s Clifton resulting in a second place finish in his next start and two more wins to earn this week’s honors.

Santa’s Clifton began his latest winning streak on Saturday evening September 8 in the mixed top grade TAA 13th race. Starting from the #1 rail post position as the post time favorite at odds of 9/5, Santa’s Clifton slipped by along the rail to position himself in a perfect striking position behind race leader Don’t Tempt Me of Sambade Racing, LLC. Santa’s Clifton made his move around the far turn to claim the lead by one length and then ran away impressively from his competitors increasing the gap to a final winning margin of six lengths in a time of 37.10 seconds.

The next opportunity for Santa’s Clifton fell on Thursday evening September 13 with a mixed top grade TAA contest and a shortened field of seven providing one of the most thrilling finishes of the performance. After winning by six lengths in his last start, Santa’s Clifton pranced to the 660-yard starting box as the 6/5 post time favorite and who could argue? Over his career on the Texas Gulf Coast, Santa’s Clifton has continued his good fortune for owner Sharon Williams landing on the pay sheet in all but three starts of his outstanding career. As the lid opened, out popped AK’s Scientia from the #1 rail post position to take a quick two length lead with #3 Santa’s Clifton and wide running #7 Spry Moylan of K-Rod Kennel in pursuit. The running order remained unchanged until the top of the stretch when one could almost hear the saying `let’s get it on!`

Santa’s Clifton and Spry Moylan made their winning stretch bids and after overtaking pacesetting AK’s Scientia, the two competitors arrived at the finish line together. After a couple of nail biting minutes, the results of the photograph revealed that Santa’s Clifton squeaked out the hard fought victory by the narrowest margin of a nose in a career best time of 36.89 seconds scoring his third win in his last four starts.

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