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    Greyhound Racing Linda Willey Bluffs 2004 Trainer of the Year
    Posted byadmin on Saturday, January 22 @ 13:19:08 EST
    Contributed by admin

    For Linda Willey, a key to being a good greyhound trainer comes down to a four-letter word, but it's a good four-letter word.

    "I just try to love them," said Willey, who is the 2004 Trainer of the Year at Bluffs Run. "I feel that's a part of why they run well."

    In just her second season at Bluffs Run, Willey has played a big role in a successful year for the Neal Blake Kennel. Going into the last week of the year, the kennel's greyhounds have nearly 400 wins (387 on the last official posting of Dec. 11). The earnings total is closing in on three-quarters of a million at $722,458.

    Three of Willey's greyhounds made the All-Bluffs Run team including the Greyhound of the Year, RA Blazer. I Am Black and Bow Dreamer are the other two.

    "Pod TD King and I Am A Dog," said Willey, "are a couple of the other good greyhounds. There has been a lot of good ones this year. Really, they have all been running well."

    Willey, who is from Dubuque, got involved in the greyhound industry "because of my boy friend (Jim Schultress), who is also a trainer. I had been to some races at the Dubuque track before that, but didn't think anything about it until I got the chance to be an assistant."

    As a trainer, Willey is in charge of 70 greyhounds.

    "I like it," said Willey. "The greyhounds are fun and I sure don't mind the hours."

    Of course, running the kennel isn't a solo operation. Willey praised the work of kennel owner Neal Blake and her assistant trainer Brett Green.

    With the Trainer of the Year award under her arm, Willey doesn't see any changes.

    "I can see myself," said Willey, "doing this until somebody says they don't want me."

    Trainers of the Year
    2004-Linda Willey
    2003-Don Conaster
    2002-Don Conaster
    2001-Joe Osborne
    2000-Jim Lovely
    1999-Jay Rangel and Jim Prescott
    1998-Tracy Nelson and Darlene White
    1997-Louise Strong
    1996-Andy Baker
    1995-Randy Montgomery
    1994-Jeff Grubbels
    1993-Mark Arno
    1992-Jeff Wilhite
    1991-Rich Tomlinson
    1990-Ron Mullen
    1989-Bill Henry
    1988-Marv Anderson

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