Oaks Maddy, Daytona Huge Winners At The 550
She would not be denied on the biggest stage of them all.
Oaks Maddy from Southland Greyhound Park rode the rail to victory in 29.98 secs at the 3rd Annual BetAmerica Daytona 550 this past Saturday night, holding off a hard charging Kinda Cruel Red at the wire. Maddy's blazing victory was just 0.01 secs off the course record and the second fastest of all time at the Daytona Beach track.
After two years of having the Florida tracks taking home the ultimate prize in greyhound racing, Southland representing the great state of Arkansas now can say they are the home of champions.
Trainer Brett Goucher was over the moon about the victory. He gave us an exclusive interview just minutes after Maddy's victorious romp:
"We came down here in the hopes of winning this and Maddy did it for us!" Goucher beamed. "The Stakes race wins are always the most exciting. Dogs come in from all over the country to run this and you never know how they are going to like the track. This is pretty sweet. We are on Cloud 9."
Goucher is also the first actual BetAmerica player to win the National Championship. He told me at our after party that he loved the victory but was disappointed that he didn't qualify for our $25,000 Handicapping Championship that was happening at the same time. He is planning on winning both next year. How can you beat that?
Complete rundown of the race:
1. Oaks Maddy ~ 29.98 secs
2. Kinda Cruel Red ~ 30.05 secs
3. Seldom Told ~ 30.35 secs
4. Jd Accomplice ~ 30.75 secs
5. Martha Maccallum ~ 30.82 secs
6. Rf River ~ 30.90 secs
7. Kentucky Kat ~ 30.91 secs
8. Gt's Gin N Juice ~ 31.25 secs
The Palm Beach Kennel Club can also take pride in this victory by Maddy and the runner up finish by Kinda Cruel Red as both of them got their careers started at "The Beach."
Daytona Shines On The Big Stage
"Every time I come to this place, I like it even more," Palm Beach Track Announcer Mike Jameson told me over the weekend. I absolutely agree. This entire facility just knows how to host a big event and a party. From the inaugural $2500 Sherry Stakes that got rolling on Friday night, to the showcase on Saturday, the entire weekend had the city buzzing about greyhounds which is huge for the business.
Daytona also broke a record on Saturday night, as the newest facility in the business brought in $215,000 in Handle for the Evening card. This now marks the third consecutive year that the National Championship event has increased wagering with no signs of letting up.
The broadcast team of Jameson, Shane Bolender & Daytona's all star Announcer George Woodill got rave reviews. Our own Jason Beem on the BARN Show Monday was quoted saying "Daytona put on a beautiful broadcast. It looked really professional and it was great to see a big race getting the big excitement that it deserves."
This was also the first time in this young championship history that the broadcast was available on Facebook Live through Daytona's page. People around the world could watch the entire night on any device of their choosing, setting records for people tuning in.
How about that race call by Woodill as well. Another solid performance that had me saying "They are 5 wide!!!" all weekend long after it was all over. Fantastic job.
Kudos to our own Marketing Manager Jen Perkins who made her National Championship broadcast debut before the race and nailed the win and trifecta box with her picks of Oaks Maddy, Kinda Cruel Red & Seldom Told.
The 550 Going Forward
Immediately after the big race was over, United Greyhound Racing, Daytona & BetAmerica were already discussing what we can do to make this event even bigger. Could a middle distance championship accompany the 550 in the future? Will there be more automatic entry opportunities like Oaks Maddy had winning the Kings Vs Queens Classic? How about a fan vote for the last remaining spot in the Final? There certainly will be a lot of conversation going forward. My way too early prediction for next year is that Daytona does over 300K in handle, so we'll see if that holds up!
Congrats again to Oaks Maddy and her entire team on the victory and to Daytona for hosting one fabulous event that made memories of a lifetime.