Jacksonville, Florida: Top Sprinters at Orange Park Kennel Club Warm Up for Upcoming Stakes Race
Greyhounds like Deco Deano, Afleet Alex, Kiowa Wild Boy, and Kay V Tatoo Tony all came up big last week at Orange Park Kennel Club in Jacksonville, Florida. This quartet, along with several other standout sprinters, will compete in the upcoming $50,000 First Coast Classic, which starts elimination rounds on August 17th. Deco Deano, the 2007 Clay County Classic winner, is getting into fine form, and Afleet Alex, winner of the $140,000 Mardi Gras Challenge at Hollywood this past winter, is also rounding into shape. Kiowa Wild Boy has been one of Orange Park’s better runners as of late, and Tatoo Tony, now with seventy career victories, is still looking for that one that will complete his resume and define his great Orange Park career.
Afleet Alex finally looked like a former stakes winner when he took on the awesome puppy, Deco Daron Heart, in a wire to wire battle and came out on top on August 8th. Alex has competed in stakes events at Wheeling Island, Mardi Gras Racetrack, Palm Beach Kennel Club and soon at Orange Park, so he has not had the luxury of staying in one place and racking up victories. All of the traveling seemed to have caught up with the diminutive 64 pound brindle male, and when he broke from the five hole in his last outing with the ever improving Daron Heart right on his trail, few thought he was up to the task of holding off this big stretch threat. But Alex held firm late, running the 1,650 foot distance in 30.56, taking the decision by a nose over Daron Heart in a thriller.
The very next night, Kiowa Wild Boy won his third straight Grade A heat, easily blowing the early speedster Pat C Red Note away in the backstretch. Wild Boy’s victory was the thirteenth of his young career, and the son of Flying Penske seems to be getting stronger each and every time out. His last three times have all been quick, and few, if any, of the other sprinters at Orange Park Kennel Club will be able to stand up to him in the latter stages of a race. The versatile Deco Deano is one greyhound that would not be intimidated coming down to the wire with Wild Boy. Deano has made the finals of stakes at Orange Park in the sprints and the route, and he has a late kick that can hold its own against anyone else at the Jacksonville oval. Deano took on the talented To Tell With It on August 10th, with Deano clearing second behind Potrs Call Girl and To Tell With It finding a bit of trouble at the corner and finishing out of the money. Deano caught the fading leader going into the far turn and won going away; his 30.43 clocking for the 550 yards was the evening’s fastest time.
Kay V Tatoo Tony has been inactive since mid-May, but the All-American from 2006 returned with a solid win on Saturday, the 11th. Tony hasn’t run worse than fourth at Orange Park since December 30th, 2006, as his early ability in the race carries him into position each and every time out to do well. Tony went to the front once more on the 11th, with the four year old veteran Greys Big Chance on his heels. Tony hung tough, refusing to cave in late, and he was able to keep the margin of one length he had at the first turn all the way around the track. His time of 30.98 was nothing special, but Tony has never been one to blaze around the Orange Park Kennel Club racing surface; he just goes out and tries to hang on, something he has now done seventy times successfully.
These four are certainly not the only Orange Park sprinters to watch out for in the First Coast Classic. Kiowa Lipps Bobi ran second in this stake last year and is always a closing threat at this distance. Kiowa Wish Frank is the winner of the recent Puppy Stakes and just had a nineteen race streak of being either first or second snapped. FTH Jive Talker is back after a seven week layoff, and he has the pure speed to challenge in every race he is in. The aforementioned Deco Daron Heart will be in the mix for this stakes title, as will Night of Stars winner Stake Your Claim. The finals will be held on Saturday night, September 1st, with $25,000 going to the winning greyhound.