Palm Beach $20,000 Futurity Final Preview
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you! I hope you enjoyed the time with your loved ones and are ready to get down to business, as the 19th running of the $20,000 Dick Andrews Futurity Final takes place at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. Eight of Florida's top puppy prospects look to raise some hardware in Race 12.
Instead of sitting in return lines for unwanted holiday gifts the day after Christmas, race fans annually flock to the track and pump one of the biggest Handles we'll see anywhere in the country. Over $684,000 was wagered last year in the Matinee, with expectations for over 700K can be expected this time around.
Here is a rundown of the entire Finals field, with our projected odds for each racer at post time.
#1 Twitter Episode ~ B & B Racing (9-1 Odds)
After Atascocita Lloyd won this last Fall Puppy Stakes at 23-1 odds, I don't count out any greyhound when it all comes down to just one race. Episode was a surprise Finalist, including a 2nd rd upset of fellow Finalist O Ya Sunflower. Episode also draws the hot one hole, which was the same box that last years winner Kay Beowulf sprinted to victory out of.
#2 Jack The Rat ~ Agganis Kennel (7-1 Odds)
Solid rusher and is always in contention with an impressive 88% board hitting rate. Rat will look to bring the Agganis Kennel their first ever Futurity title since it's inception in 1999.
#3 Tc's Todd Frazer ~ Douglas Kennel (5-1 Odds)
Every owner and trainer will be looking for the "ToddFather" early on in this contest because he sprung to the lead in each of the qualifying rounds. Early speedsters should be worried but closers are set up nicely here because Frazer blew every one of those leads in the tourney. Who will catch by the end will be the ultimate handicapping question.
#4 Tc's Carlos Gomez ~ Douglas Kennel (6-1 odds)
Brother to Todd Frazer from the Kiowa Sweet Trey - Pk's Keystone litter. Did take the first two rounds in this tournament, but was firing out of the 1 box in both contests. In fact, "GoGo" hasn't won out of any other box but the 1 since Halloween. Is the most experienced of any greyhound in the finale, which can be enough to win Puppy Stakes titles as we've seen in the past here.
#5 O Ya Sunflower ~ Lester Raines Kennel (3-1 Odds)
This is going to be a huge star in the business for a while. "Sunny" has been impressive since day 1 of arriving at Palm Beach and gives the new Raines Kennel their best chance of taking their first stakes title ever here. Sunflower doesn't mind midtrack and is impossible to catch if she finds the lead at any point in her races.
#6 Dutch Jackie ~ Lester Raines Kennel (4-1 Odds)
Jackie has made a name for herself in this tourney, winning her semifinal heat and peaking at the perfect time. Along with JS Outlaw Legend, Jackie has dynamite closing abilities in a field that is full of early speed that can be caught.
Lester Raines getting 25% of the Finalists in their very first try at the Futurity is just amazing.
#7 JS Outlaw Legend ~ Koppe, Staats & Collins Team (9-5 Odds)
Outlaw Legend will be the big time favorite in the Final and he should be. The "Kansas Kid" steamrolled through qualifying, staying unblemished heading into this culminating conclusion. Also scorched the fastest two splits (29.31 & 29.52 secs) of any Finalist. Owner Shannon Henry has to be ecstatic that her mid track beast drew the 7 hole here.
AllAboutTheFame ~ Janie Carroll Kennel (2-1 Odds)
Early speed and eight boxes have won plenty of stakes finals at Palm Beach and it could happen again in this one. Fame was able to pick up three straight victories to start the tourney, but was unable to handle Todd Frazer's equally solid early step in the semis.
Winner- #7 JS Outlaw Legend (7-3-5-2)
I know I'm not stepping off the obvious chalk here, but Legend looks like he is on a mission to shine. Watch for Frazer or AllAboutTheFame to set the early pace, but Legend with those phenomenal late rocket skates should scoot by on the outside to take home 20K.
Here are the past Finalist winners:
If the Futurity Final didn't make the day after Christmas superb already, look for another legend Ethel Is Here to race for her 64th career victory at Palm Beach in the finale 15th.
Who do you like in the Final? Tweet or Facebook your picks on our feeds leading up to the big dance. Good luck greyhounds teams and owners!