Interview With JS SpeedyPebbles Owner Shannon Henry Ahead Of The Daytona 550
She owns one of the most popular and successful greyhounds in the history of the Palm Beach Kennel Club. On Saturday, her racer will try and win a National Championship to cement both of their legacies.
Shannon Henry, owner of JS SpeedyPebbles took time to answer questions about her superstar racer before the biggest race of their careers in the Daytona 550.PBJason: Congratulations on JS SpeedyPebbles getting a Daytona 550 National Championship Invitation! How did you find out the news?
Shannon Henry: Thank you! I was actually at the Palm Beach Kennel Club for the He’s My Man Classic to visit good friends for a few days. We were sitting at a table getting to watch races when UGR called Jerry Koppe, part owner/trainer for Staats, Koppe & Collins Kennel. They informed us that they had a late withdrawal and would like to extend an invite to Pebbles.
PBJason: She was a very late addition to the field, just getting the invite one day before the post draw. Did you know that she was being considered for the field?
Shannon Henry: We had heard prior that there was talk she was being considered.
PBJason: Did you ever think as an owner you’d be going for a Hes My Man Championship and a National Championship in back to back weekends?
Shannon Henry: No. As breeders, trainers, owners, it is always a hope that we can get into any Final of any Stakes races. To get the opportunity to be a contender for two great races so close together is such a great honor.
PBJason: Pebbles is one of the most popular athletes I have seen with the fans of this track, including myself. She also has the best nickname “The Queen of Palm Beach.” What do you think of the popularity that she has attracted the past two seasons?
Shannon Henry: It has been so much fun. I enjoy reading about her from your posts Jason and the comments from all of her fans. I have had the opportunity to be at the Palm Beach Kennel Club twice and to see first hand the excitement from her followers. Pebbles is such a great greyhound both in how she runs and her personality. It’s hard not to love a dog like that. I appreciate the fans more than you know!
It makes what we do that much better when you know others love it too. I believe she can feel the love from the crowd every time she hits the track as well.
PBJason: Did you have a feeling she was going to be this good when you named her? The name fits perfectly.
Shannon Henry: Pebbles has always been a special girl. As time went on, I could tell she could run, but I had no idea how talented she would end up being. When it came time to officially name her, my help was throwing names out there. I decided on SpeedyPebbles. It was catchy and it fit her. Sometimes us owners get lucky and name a dog just right.
PBJason: What has been your favorite moment from her career so far?
Shannon Henry: There have been many moments that I have loved about her. Winning the Futurity, being in the He’s My Man Final twice. Finishing 2nd to the Gronk in the St. Patrick’s Day Invite. But the most excitement came when she won 8 in a row to start her career, breaking an 82 year old record at Palm Beach.
PBJason: You’ve had a long history of having some outstanding greyhounds running at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. Is SpeedyPebbles the best one you’ve had as an owner?
Shannon Henry: Pebbles is probably the best I’ve had at Palm Beach. I Am Legend was another great dog there. I have been doing greyhounds since 1997 with my late husband John Henry Jr. and on my own since 2009. Over the years, we’ve had great success. But yes, Pebbles is probably my most successful greyhound since 2009.
PBJason: What kind of race does Pebbles need to have for her to bring a National Championship home to your Team?
Shannon Henry: Pebbles definitely prefers an inside hole. We drew the 6 hole. She is going to have to break and run her race. I do not know much about the other dogs that are running. I do know Storm Control is a great dog with great box speed. So in order for her to have a chance, she is going to have to have a great rush to that first turn without trouble.
PBJason: Have you had a chance to watch any of the other racers online or in person in the Daytona 550 field?
Shannon Henry: Like I mentioned above, I do not know much about the other dogs with the exception of Storm Control. All 8 dogs I know are great greyhounds with each of them having their own individual talents. They were all the chosen ones for a reason.
PBJason: Thank you so much Shannon for taking the time for BetAmerica to interview you. Best of luck in the Daytona 550!
Shannon Henry: Thank you Jason! I would like to extend the best of luck to all of those in the race Saturday! I hope for a safe and fantastic race for us all!
~SpeedyPebbles is the current season wins leader at Palm Beach with 16, along with 45 career wins in the last two seasons.
~Many of Shannon's racers are named starting with the initials JS (John, Shannon) in honor of her late husband.
~The inaugural Daytona 550 is this Saturday, January 24th at The Daytona Beach Kennel Club in Race 10. Post time will be around 10:00 P.M. EST
~All photos provided by PBKennelClub.com