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    Posted byadmin on Sunday, April 07 @ 14:54:04 EDT
    Contributed by admin

    by Steve Sigafoose 4/7/13

    In a showdown that resemble more of a coronation than a championship race, SH Avatar (Hardison Kennel) breezed to the title in the final of the $60,000 Team Survivor Stakes at Bluffs Run on Saturday, April 6.

    The 71-pounder, born May 13, 2010 out of Kiowa Mon Manny-Tom S Caterwaul, had the track to himself. After outbreaking Boc’s Ruckus Boy (Boeckenstedt) in the two-greyhound championship showdown, Avatar, out of the three box, won the dash to the first turn, beating Ruckus Boy, who came from the six box, by a couple of lengths.

    “I was glad,” explained co-owner Tom Sugihara, Jr., “he had the small fields (four greyhounds in the Final Four and two in the title race) when he drew inside boxes. He prefers the outside box. He did struggle a bit in early rounds when he came from an inside box.”

    Once around the first turn, Bluffs Run’s 2012 Greyhound Of The Year, kept adding to his lead. By the far turn, SH Avatar had upwards of an eight-length advantage. That made the run down the homestretch just for the record.

    And, for the record, SH Avatar won by five and a half lengths in a time of 29.98 seconds for the 5/16-mile test.

    “He’s very hard to catch,” said co-owner Bob Hardison, “but we had a strong greyhound after us.

    “I felt both greyhounds were strong. Late speed can get you and he (Ruckus Boy) was coming.

    “But Avatar ran a monster race.”
    So did Boc’s Ruckus Boy run a monster race, said trainer Jonnie Brumage, “against the caliber of greyhound that Avatar is.

    “We thought he was the best greyhound we had in our kennel. When we entered him, we thought he could make the Final Four, so we are extremely happy to see him in the championship race.”

    The race for the title in the Team Survivor was no small feat for either greyhound. The other stakes races at Bluffs Run feature four qualifying rounds before the championship race. The Team Survivor had six rounds to “survive and advance” to make the title race. “(Trainer) Darren (Flahive),” said Hardison, “kept a good eye on Avatar. The length of this stakes can be a factor, but Darren saw Avatar was taking his races well.”

    The victory gave SH Avatar the rare feat of rare back-to-back stakes championship titles at Bluffs Run. He finished the 2012 stakes season by winning the $500,000 Iowa Breeders Classic. This is the first stakes offering in 2013 for the track.

    With Avatar just short of his third birthday, the racing season offers hope of “more stakes racing,” said Hardison. “He’s a once in a lifetime greyhound. We would like to have another shot at the IBC in the fall.”

    SH Avatar, 17-10-2-3, takes home $30,000 for the victory with Boc’s Ruckus Boy, 17-2-8-1, earning $15,000 for his performance.

    For reaching the Final Four, Jet Force (Hardison) and Top Of The Pile (Plum Creek) split $9,000.

    For making the Elite Eight, Kosugi (Hardison), Barts My Man Max (Bartley Corporation), Boc’s Steelforce (Boeckenstedt) and Dk’s Flow Meter (Hardison) each earned $1,500.

    Bluffs Run quickly returns to stakes action with the $60,000 3/8-Mile Derby. The field of 64 greyhounds begins qualifying on Wednesday, April 17.

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