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    Posted byadmin on Sunday, July 11 @ 13:54:07 EDT
    Contributed by admin

    By Steve Sigafoose

    The veteran NMS Sweet Thing (River Bluffs-Brian Smith) showed the pups how to run a stakes race in winning the $60,000 Bluffs Run Open on July 3. “It can’t get much better than tonight,” said trainer Randy Montgomery, who has had several highlights over the years at Bluffs Run, including a win in last year’s Open with All-American Ten For Tee. “Greyhounds don’t win stakes races two years apart.”

    Sweet Thing, who turned four years old on April 15, proved he had plenty of punch for the stakes series. “We entered 10 greyhounds,” said Montgomery, “for the stakes. We felt they all had a shot at a win in a round.”

    NMS Sweet Thing won three times in the four qualifying rounds to finish second in points among the eight finalists.

    The champion drew the four box for the 5/16-mile title run, but “which box he draws,” said Montgomery, “Does not matter to him.”

    This was a solid field Sweet Thing faced. Favorite Barts Autumn Sky (Bartley Corporation) drew the eight box. In his pre-race assessment, Montgomery looked at the likes of PG Tiger (Bean & Stout) and Prince Of A Guy (Plum Creek), who “had a shot of coming off the pace.”

    When the boxes popped open, Just Ginger (Mickim), the “runt” of the field at 52 pounds, got the break and opened an early two-length lead into the first turn. But NMS Sweet Thing avoided early trouble by coming out second.

    In the first turn, Sweet Thing dipped inside of Just Ginger and took the lead as the pair reached the start of the backstretch.

    Behind them, longshot GV Boog Face (Bartley) battled Barts Autumn Sky for third. Sky held third around the first turn, but it was Boog Face who took third going into the backstretch.

    The race got tight in the far turn. Sweet Thing led Just Ginger by a half-length rounding the far turn, but GV Boog Face closed quickly on the pair while he hugged the rail. As the trio reached the top of the homestretch, Boog Face took the lead.

    The longshot stretched out to a length’s lead before NMS Sweet Thing found another gear in the final strides of the homestretch and shot past GV Boog Face to win by a head.

    The winning time of 30.88 seconds for the 5/16 mile was nowhere near the best of the day at the track, but it gave NMS Sweet Thing his 68th win in 150 starts at Bluffs Run.

    The win also made NMS Sweet Thing the record money winner at Bluffs Run. His total earnings of $378,745 tops the old mark of $365,734 set by All-American Be My Bubba (Wilhite) in 1999-2001.

    GV Boog Face, the longshot in the field at 13-1, got the second, a good finish for the final greyhound to qualify for the championship.

    Just Ginger nipped Barts Autumn Sky for third by .03 of a second; both were officially listed as finishing two lengths back.

    The final four greyhounds were never factors in the race.

    CTW Duty Free (Keeper-Red Rock) was fifth, 3 ½ lengths back. PG Tiger, who went off as the second favorite, was sixth, 4 ½ back. Prince Of A Guy was seventh, sixth lengths down. Idaho Cuda (Seastrom-Lovely) was last, seven back.

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