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Cream rises to the top

Expectations were high when Gable Sour Cream arrived at Wheeling Island from Gulf Greyhound Park in late May.

It seemed like the whole greyhound world was watching.

And why not ? At the Texas track, Sour Cream not only blistered a new 5/16 track record but won his first five races by a combined 56 lengths.

Once on the Wheeling surface, Sour Cream never missed a beat. He won his first four races and overall has 9 wins, 3 seconds and 2 thirds in 15 starts against top grade competition.

Gable Kennel trainer Wayne Piquette said in addition to his speed and power, Sour Cream – a July 2007 greyhound out of Gable Oscar-RJ’s Tater Chip – has the perfect mind-set to race at Wheeling.

“Creamer has an attitude. He’s a very strong greyhound and he’s very strong-minded too,” Piquette said. “If Creamer gets bumped or banged around, he seems to run even harder. (Gable) Sorcerer and (Gable) Teletubbie also had that attitude and a mind of their own.”

Kennel operator Harlyn Goebel, who raised and owns Sour Cream, said the youngster is “real competitive. He was like that on the farm and more so at the track.”

Although Sour Cream launched his Wheeling career with a bang (a Grade A victory and then three straight wins in Grade AA), he wasn’t sharp coming out of the box. Despite the slow starts, Sour Cream was able to get into his races early with a power rush to the corner.

“It’s taken Creamer awhile to figure out his break, but he’s improving,” Piquette said. “He does rush hard to the first turn.”

In his next six Grade AA trips, Sour Cream had two driving victories, two seconds and two thirds. In his four non-winning efforts, Sour Cream was only 1 1/2 lengths, 1 length (twice) and a head behind the winners.

“Creamer took to the racing surface right away,” Piquette noted. “I don’t think it matters to him if the track is fast or slow.”

After 10 straight trifecta finishes, Sour Cream missed the board after experiencing first turn trouble in a race in late July.

The sprint star came back with a vengeance in his next start.

Breaking from the two hole, Sour Cream posted a box-to-wire 9-length victory. It resembled some of his run for fun outings at the Gulf.

Sour Cream followed up the victory with two more huge efforts – a 7 1/2-length romp and another box-to-wire 6 1/2-length win. In the latter race, Sour Cream was matched up against stake champions BD’s Grayson (Firecracker Sprint) and Kiowa Magnate (Winner’s Challenge).

“I never dreamed Creamer would get down and around the turn before Magnate. I was impressed,” Piquette said. “If Creamer gets the lead, it’s going to take a dog at the top of his game to run him down.”

Sour Cream missed by a nose in making it four in a row Wednesday afternoon in Race 15 which featured Hi Noon Hero and Bella Flawless. He cleared the first turn third after a big rush from the eight hole and then nearly caught Rio Rambler at the wire.

Goebel is pleased with Sour Cream’s progress at Wheeling Island.

“He seems to be settling in and getting his timing down on his break. I think he’s getting stronger too,” Goebel said. “I’m glad to see he’s coming along.”

Sour Cream shattered the Gulf 5/16 track record May 10 when he smoked a 29.43. The old mark of 29.65 was set by Mulberry Lazer April 25.

The speed merchant has eclipsed the 30-second mark in half of his 14 Wheeling starts. He has stopped the clock in 29.72, 29.75, 29.76, 29.88, 29.90, 29.91 and 29.94.

Only 2 years old, Sour Cream has a very bright future.

“He’s only a baby,” Piquette said. “I am sure happy to have him.”

Sour Cream opened his career at the Gulf by winning Maiden by 15 lengths, Grade J by 14 lengths, Grade C by 11 lengths, Grade B by 9 1/2 lengths and Grade A by 6 1/2 lengths.

Goebel said greyhounds like Sour Cream don’t come along very often.

“He reminds me of Gable Oscar,” Goebel said. “He runs just like his daddy.”

IN THE HOMESTRETCH:

HOT DOGS: Steubenville Kennel’s Kiowa Lee Philli has raced to three straight victories (A, AA) for trainer Debbie Schweizer. Kennel-mates Kiowa Power Pak (AA 3/8) and TMC’s Ninewonwon (A, AA) have back-to-back wins.

Charter Kennel’s CTW Data Base has two wins and two seconds in his last four starts for trainer Rodney Cooley. Kennel-mate BI’s Smooth Move has won three out of her last four outings (M, C, B) while Odd Francis has two straight wins (A, AA).

Wayne Ward Kennel’s Its Qimat has back-to-back 3/8 victories (A, AA) for trainer Ron Otto.

Douglas Kennel’s Dancin Reba has two straight wins (A, AA) for trainer James Roche.

Ryan Farms Kennel’s Real Jazz has won three out of his last four starts (C, B, A) for trainer Terry Green. Kennel-mate Falcon’s Eye has two straight Grade AA marathon victories.

Gable Kennel’s Gable Stella has back-to-back wins (B, A) for trainer Wayne Piquette.

Mike Fynmore Kennel’s TB’s Derailer has two victories in a row (B, A) for trainer Melinda McCardle.

C And C Kennel’s CTW Rockport has won three out of his last four trips (D, C, B) for trainer Patrick Bever.

GEORGE KELLAS: The $10,000 George Kellas Memorial Cup kicks off Monday afternoon at Wheeling Island with a field of 24 greyhounds.

Kellas, who passed away in February after a battle with cancer, was a huge supporter of greyhound racing and was instrumental in launching the weekly “Round Up the Hounds” radio show.

The stake final is set for Labor Day afternoon.

Pawloski can be reached at sjpawloski@yahoo.com

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