Thursday, March 29, 2012

Miles First NOTRA Race Competition

We went back to the greyhound training track in Jacksonville, FL for Miles first NOTRA competition on February 18th. My friends Ellen and Ken drove down with me to be part of Team MPH. Patrick and Sheen are friends in Jacksonville that set up their motorhome for us at the training track. Jennifer brought her greyhounds over from Columbia, SC to run so we even had a vet in our group. I think we need to have T-shirts made for our next outing.

This was a NOTRA Derby only for greyhounds and whippets. Most NOTRA meets are open to any sighthound but this was a special competition. Miles was the only greyhound running in the competition that wasn't a retired racer.  NOTRA racing is a fun way to encourage our dogs to stay in shape and allow them to do what they have been bred to do for centuries. They LOVE it more than anything else - even more than chasing squirrels in the backyard.
Moose(2) is a professional and raced around 150 races before he retired. You can see Miles (1) lack of experience in comparison in his slower break from the box in his first competition.

Moose and Miles started out in the low point race since they hadn't accumulated any points yet. The low point race is a race for the slower dogs with the lowest number of points coming into the race. The winner moves up to the high point in subsequent races. The loser in the high point moves down to the low point.
Moose still in the lead
Moose is serious about racing. I wrapped his front toe that he has had problems with in the past to give it extra support
 Moose finished 1st and Miles got a 2nd in this race. That was Moose's only race of the weekend. His toe didn't look good after the first run so I didn't let him run any other races. After the dogs rested for awhile and all the whippets ran Miles got a second run. Since he hadn't won the first race he didn't move up to run against the faster dogs and stayed in low point again. There was a huge difference in his start and his speed in his second race. He was much better and won that race by quite a few lengths.
Miles in the white number (3) coat finishes way out front in his second race
In NOTRA racing the dogs run 3 short runs in a day. The third race Miles moved up to run against the top dogs. These were serious competitors - the top 3 NOTRA dogs in the country! By the first turn Miles was in second place and held onto that placement at the finish line. I was so thrilled that he could even keep up with these dogs!! I was on cloud nine that he had actually finished ahead of two of them in his first competition!
Miles in red on the inside breaks better in his 3rd race but is still last out of the box

Miles inexperience shows as he doesn't stay as close to the rail as the top dogs. He held on to 2nd place even running a bit wide
Miles first NOTRA Ribbons!!
 The NOTRA Derby was a big competition and the prizes were great! Miles and Moose both got some pretty fancy ribbons. Miles took 3rd over all the first day and High Scoring First Time Entered Greyhound. Moose got a thank you for coming ribbon since he only ran one time. The head of the Jacksonville Race Track (tall guy in baseball cap) and the lady that runs the adoption kennel there come out to present the ribbons. The guy in the cowboy hat was one of the professionals that was hired to run the lure during this competition. He is a trainer at the Jacksonville greyhound track too.

Sunday was day two of NOTRA racing. Miles started out in the high point race. He still broke last out of the box but just barely. In a few strides, before they even hit the first turn, he had passed the top dogs. He wasn't far enough in the lead though. The dog in second bumped him. They didn't go all the way down but he slid, slowed dramatically and obviously had something wrong with his stride. Miles came in last and I pulled him out of the rest of the competition.
Miles in red passes the rest of the dogs coming out of the box

Miles in red gets bumped and starts to go down. At the speeds these guys run a bump or a crash can be bad.
 Miles ended being OK but had pulled a muscle in his back when he got hit. We have done some chiropractic adjustments, Alpha Sim, massage and acupuncture therapy on him to get him back into top form. In these for fun type races for retired racers we only run 4 dogs at a time instead of the 8 that they run in professional races just to prevent this from happening. Occasionally the dogs still bump into each other but I have never seen a serious injury in the 10 or so years I have been doing this. The worst my dogs have had are toe injuries, nail injuries and sore muscles. Greyhound get those and worse just from playing in the back yard at the speeds they run. One of the hazards of having a dog that can run 45 mph.

We finished up the weekend by heading to the Orlando Race Track to pick up 4 racers to bring back for Greyhound Crossroads to adopt out. We had towed our greyhound hauler down so on the way back up through Jacksonville we picked up 3 retired racers from that track and 2 broods from a farm for a total of 9 dogs. It was a great trip!!

No comments: