Palm Beach $50,000 Derby Preview
*Ethel Is Here*
One of the most historic Stakes Tournaments in the country gets going today, as the 85th running of the James W. Paul 3/8ths Mile Derby comes back to Palm Beach. 40 of the top middle distance stars in South Florida will vie for the title this year, with one of the youngest fields we have seen....and one record breaking greyhound.
Here are the racers to watch out for the next few weeks, as we crown who is the best athlete on the Pat C Rendezvous Course at "The Beach."
Usually this would be a plural column, but this year there is no question who the heavy favorite to win it all is. Ethel Is Here from the Janie Carroll Kennel comes into this Tourney on fire, leading the season wins chase with 20 W's and broke her own Course record back in December (37.13 secs)
Ethel this season has made the fields she's started in look like they aren't in the same league as her. Anything can happen in a dog race, but a loss by Ethel is any of the qualifying rounds or the Final would be a stunner.
Maximus Decimus ~ Douglas Kennel
The last greyhound to defeat Ethel. Solid youngster with a solid rush/close combo has a superb chance to make the Final. Won't be two years old until May, so this is a racer we could be seeing run for a while at Palm Beach.
Pat C Shyne ~ Koppe, Staats & Collins Kennel
The most dangerous veteran in the Tourney. "So Fine" Pat C Shyne has 23 victories the last two seasons and has ran with the best A Graders around for a long time. Probably possesses the best late kick of anybody in the Derby.
Atascocita Camry ~ Suncoast Racing
Brings the most heat out of the box. Will need all the horsepower she can get in this Tourney but having a rush like that with 50K on the line is always a solid option.
Pat C Pownzer ~ Koppe, Staats & Collins Kennel
Did have 2 Grade A wins in January and can absolutely fly on the backstretch.
The Steve Schlachter owner hound does possess the third fastest time this season ( 37.43 secs) and was a Floridan Tournament participant. Schlachter did win the other 2 Big Stakes last year with Storm Control and would make one monster of a story if "The Flash" pulls it off this year.
Pat C Brightly ~ Koppe, Staats & Collins Kennel
Don't count out the defending champ. He's not the stellar A Grader he was last year, but I wouldn't go against him if he makes the Final and gets a rail box.
Kay Beowulf ~ Rader Racing
The Futurity Champ does have Tournament experience, just not on this course.
Atascocita Dago ~ Suncoast Racing
Very low on the winning percentage, but has been in the money in 81% of her starts this season and lost by a photo finish to Ethel just last month.
Peddler ~ Ryan Racing
Zipping Away ~ Douglas Kennel
Lazy K Myth Jill ~ Rader Racing
Kb's Sophia ~ Rader Racing
Ethel Is Here is the best middle distance racer I've ever seen period and this comes from somebody who grew up watching the amazing Pat C Rendezvous. I just don't see any one in this field being able to stay with Ethel. She puts a stamp on an already growing legacy after taking home 50K in this Tourney.
Here are picks from our friends in the sport on who they think has the best chance at a Title:
Mike Jameson - Palm Beach Kennel Club Track Announcer
With V6 power, the 2016 Atascocita Camry demands respect at every corner."
Randy Birch - International Host of BigJackpotBetting.com
"Ethel Is Here will get it in to win."
Mike Bal - Host of The Backstretch Show 95.9 FM The Palm
"I'll be rooting for the Gladiator, Maximus Decimus. After falling short in the Dick Andrews Futurity, I think Russell's Crowe's quote means more now then ever. "I shall have my vengeance, whether it's in this life or the next (Stakes Series)."
Jeff Prince - Palm Beach Handicapper and Former Announcer
"Ethel. She will win all 4 qualifiers and the the Final. So it is written, so shall it be done."
George Quinn- GreyhoundNews.co
"Have to go with Ethel Is Here to win the Derby. A semi-finalist in this stakes series last year, I think her time is finally HERE!"
Good luck to all athletes and owners in the Tournament! This should be an exciting next few weeks of watching these greyhounds put it all on the line for a championship. The $50,000 Final will take place on Saturday February 27th. All qualifying rounds and the Final can be watched right here on BetAmerica!
Who do you think wins the 2016 Derby? Leave me your picks on Facebook- PalmBeach Jason or Twitter @JasonPalmBeach.