(Note to readers - this article was published prior to Whistler's Stud being replaced by Whistler's Betty)
MAIDEN TO RACE FOR CHARITY PROJECT (7/15/2004)
written by Brian Lee
One greyhound will donate his entire career to helping others find pet homes after their racing days are over. Whistler`s Stud, who begins Official schooling for C&C Kennel this month, has already raised over $10,000 for the Race For Adoption group headed by a prominent kennel owner and trainer. The project was developed as a cooperative effort through several greyhound related Internet message boards.
Race For Adoption was conceived by trainer Dennis McKeon, a lifelong racing professional and greyhound breed enthusiast. His idea was for a group of adoption supporters to purchase a racing dog, with all career purse earnings dedicated to a fund for ongoing efforts aimed at rehoming the retired hounds.
McKeon contacted a major breeder and kennel operator, Larry Birnbaum, co-owner of C & C Kennel - currently the top kennel at Wheeling Island Racetrack & Gaming Center in West Virginia, with an added booking at Southland Greyhound Park. Much to his surprise, Birnbaum made a generous offer to provide a "track ready pup" showing all the right signs for an outstanding career, at no cost to the group. "Larry mentioned to me that Whistler`s Stud was the most promising pup on the farm...", said McKeon, "and that`s why he will be racing for adoption."
"He certainly is a grand looking pup - and if he runs to his looks, then he is going to be a huge help to these adoption groups... assisting in their efforts to find his racing brethren their forever homes." He added, "Whistler`s Stud is a full sibling to Whistlers Boy and Whistlers Betty, accomplished racers in their own right, and both top grade performers at Wheeling, which many feel is the toughest track in the nation at which to compete."
Birnbaum even went so far as to guarantee that the selected pup, or another like him if necessary, would soon break its Maiden Race at a major track. "In less than 30 days, we have gone from a thought sprung from a casual conversation between myself and Dennis - to a reality which should make a substantial contribution to our common goal of finding permanent homes for retired racers." he said.
As the program continued to develop, it was decided that 50 individual sponsorship shares would be sold at $100 each, with the initial subscription proceeds being immediately donated to Pups Without Partners of Bridgeport, CT and Greyhound Pets Of America, SEGA/ Tallahassee, of Tallahassee, FL. The founders of both groups, Penny Zwart and Pam Davis respectively, have done excellent work in promoting adoption, and caring for their hounds. Both contribute regularly to discussions on Greytalk, also Global Greyhounds, and other popular websites answering questions and offering helpful advice to the many new people who have entered the world of greyhound adoption.
The project then took one more positive step. Not content with donating a track ready pup valued at approximately $3500, Birnbaum completely overwhelmed the group by offering to match all shares sold, up to 100 shares - $10,000. "I am delighted that a total of at least $20,000 has been raised for charity" he said, noting that the owner`s share of purse earnings by Whistler`s Stud will also be going to Race For Adoption.
As Whistler`s Stud`s career continues, race results will be posted on the Race For Adoption website for all to follow. Whistler`s Stud was sired by a tremendous stud in his own right - Craigie Whistler, whose sire Molotov has been #1 ranked for the past five years, according to the National Greyhound Association. Whistler`s Stud`s dam, EE`s Speed Dream, out of Chara who was a littermate to All American, Kail.
The Race For Adoption project not only supports adoption, but provides all of the subscribers the thrill associated with owning one of these superb athletes. It seems without question that this program provides a win/win situation for the racing and adoption industry, working together. All eyes will be on Whistler`s Stud during 2004 and beyond.