2017 Palm Beach $50,000 Derby Preview
*2016 Derby Winner Ethel Is Here*
Not many things have remained the same over the past 86 years. One thing you can always count on though is that in February, the greatest distance hounds in the country will put it all on the line for a championship at the corner of Belvedere and Congress in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The $50,000 James W Paul 3/8ths Mile Derby is back at "The Beach!" 31 greyhounds are slated to start in what should be a thrilling three weeks of tourney action which will crown a new superstar.
Opening round gets rolling on Wednesday, with the culminating Final happening Saturday, February 25th.
Here's our preview to get it all started:
Fraulein Morgan ~ Janie Carroll Kennel
Carroll's team will be trying to capture their second straight Derby Title after Ethel Is Here brought it home last year. They have a fantastic shot with "Fabulous" Morgan who is currently your track championship leader with 23 wins. Has a lethal break out of the box and is very hard to catch on the lead, only being caught once in her entire career at Palm Beach. Could be yet another title for owner Monte Jacobs.
Janice Dean ~ Brindle Kennel
Fans are talking Big 3 Triple Crown already for "The Weather Machine" who is coming off one impressive 50K He's My Man Classic Finals victory last month. Dean has the fastest time on the "Rhonda" Course this season (37.31 secs) and has a tremendous closing kick on the backstretch. The Brindle Kennel won their first HMM crown with Dean and will be looking for their first Derby title if the Fox News favorite can again be superb.
Atascocita Camary ~ Suncoast Racing
Like the reliable Toyota, this returning Derby Finalist will be ready to go when she's called upon. Well rested coming into the tourney, the co-track champion from last season has the best lid flipping skills of any greyhound in this field and brings a wealth of experience into this. Can the V6 power she possesses bring her a title?
O Ya Maybelline ~ Janie Carroll Kennel
May get overlooked with all the top heavy star power but she shouldn't be. The veteran of Palm Beach and Hollywood has always found success at this distance, winning 6 of her last 7 starts. Will become a household name before this tourney is over without question.
Wicked Twista ~ North Shore Kennel
Will the just turned two year old find fire in this tournament will be the big question. Already has a Grade A win under her belt after converting to this distance last month for owner and trainer Brianna Burkhart.
BartsRunninLoose ~ Douglas Kennel
Is one of the only greyhounds this season to have a victory against Fraulein Morgan and the now retired record breaker Ethel Is Here.
Mouth OfTheSouth ~ Rader Racing
The four time Derby champs from Rader are all in for this distance sensation, as this is their only entry. Floored a 37.68 secs win in his debut last month. Is either named after former WWF manager Jimmy Hart or Palm Beach Track Announcer Mike Jameson.
Dutch Jackie ~ Lester Raines Kennel
One dangerous puppy in this tourney. The Futurity Finalist already beat heavy favorite Janice Dean last week in only her second start at this distance. Has a solid rush which should have her competing in every race she enters. Can this nationally recognized Kennel win their first Palm Beach title with Jackie?
BartsRunninLoose ~ Douglas Kennel
Could get to the Final just based on solid finishes. Has hit the board in 78% of his starts this season.
JS Insta Gator ~ Koppe, Staats & Collins
When you run for one of the most successful teams in Derby history, you'll always have a chance. The Spring Puppy Stakes Finalist "Gator" just switched over to the 660 yard last month and does bring a solid close to a distance that favors it.
Long Shots To Watch Out For
Fightin Flo ~ Agganis Kennel
Barts I'm On It ~ Douglas Kennel
Dutch Gertie ~ Lester Raines Kennel
Barts Seabreeze ~ Douglas Kennel
Go Bon Kickstart ~ Royal Racing Team
Janice Dean just seems to have that "it" factor. The perfect combo of rush and close brings home her second straight stakes title and sets up a media frenzy for the St Patricks Day Final in March as she goes for the Triple.
Here are picks from guys around the industry as they weigh in who they like to win it all:
Mike Balsamo ~ Host of The Backstretch Show 95.9 FM The Palm
"While it's surely going to be tough to beat Janice Dean and Fraulein Morgan, you don't expect me to pick chalk here do you? I'm gonna go with one of my favorite young dogs, Wicked Twista to take this one down as she seems to really be taking to the 660 yard course. And I'll be sure to keep me eye on O Ya Maybelline as another potential upset stakes champ!"
Randy Birch ~ International Host of BigJackpotBetting.com
"Fabulous Fraulein Morgan for me. The most consistent mid-distance greyhound by far all year at Palm Beach and the best rush of any in the Derby field. Speaking of consistent, how about 33 of 34 in the money with by far the most wins with 23. She hit one banana peel when she tripped last time out. That will not happen again."
Mike Jameson ~ Palm Beach Track Announcer
"My choice is O Ya Maybelline. She's got rush that can leave the rest of the competition in her dust."
Jeff Prince ~ Palm Beach Track Handicapper
"With all the entries going through three qualifying rounds, four of the Finalists will be Maybelline, Jackie, Janice and Morgan. Greyhound matchup with those 4, I'll go with Janice Dean "The Weather Machine!"
Steve "Lesser" Page ~ Palm Beach Track Announcer
"My pick for the Derby is Dutch Jackie. This young pup has the early speed and stamina from any post. My dark horse to make the finals is Fightin Flo with great early speed."
Ramon Cadavieco ~ Palm Beach Track Announcer
"Janice Dean in a dead heat with Dutch Jackie."
Benny The Boot ~ Host of The Backstretch Show on 95.9 FM The Palm
"Atascocita Camry. Best in class and may be peaking at the right time."
"Fresh off her He's My Man Classic Championship, Janice Dean will deservedly be considered a top contender but I'm going with experience in the Derby. Fraulein Morgan has won 23 of 34 races this season, has the second best overall time (37.37 secs) and has not run lower than Grade A in almost a year. Fraulein Morgan dashes Janice Dean's chance at a Big 3 sweep."