Jay Roberts, Steve Sipa, and Brian Haynes co-own Social Director, who’s pet name is Blake. Since many greyhound lovers haven’t experienced the journey of a racer from the farm to retirement, we thought it would be an exciting opportunity to give you an inside glimpse of some real owners and their story.
How They Chose His Name and Where He’ll Race
“We named Social Director after one of our friends at Southland who has played the dogs all of his life. His kennel name Blake comes from the current Arkansas State football coach, Blake Anderson.
We purchased him in June of 2013 and he is pre-adopted by a friend who lost her previous greyhound to osteo. She is very excited about following his career from the Orange Park track to her couch and all points in between.”
More About Blake
Social Director has already overcome a split web on his foot that sidelined him for about four weeks during finishing. “He is all healed now and ready to roll.”
Blake’s Breeding is USS Raceway x Bow Fine Tune. He was one of a litter of 13. It’s the biggest litter Crossland Farm has ever had.
Join us as we follow Blake’s journey at the track. We’ll even tell you how you can create a virtual kennel to watch when he races and enjoy the excitement for yourself.
July 2015 Update
Blake’s last race was on July 2, 2015. I received word from his owner the following day that he had broken his leg and was going in for surgery. Jay was very concerned but had every confidence that the procedure would go well. It did and was a huge relief for all involved.
He will have 6-8 weeks of rehab at his trainer’s farm in Florida. We will post updates when we receive them.
His surgery was paid for by his owners, who believe in racing responsibly. For this reason they only have 2-3 dogs at the track at a time. Jay and his wife frequently visit and watch their dogs run. As Jay put it “it’s always special meeting them for the first time after only seeing pictures. It’s like meeting a rockstar!” He also described his first meeting with “The Director” as “magical.”
He also added that “partners Brian Lee Haynes and Steve Sipa are to be commended for their part in seeing that Blake was taken care of. Many thanks as well to Mike Gerard (his trainer) for getting Blake taken care of so quickly.”
Blake will be spending his retirement in Arkansas with a friend of Jay’s who pre-adopted him after losing her greyhound to cancer last year. We can’t wait to share pictures of him and his new mom meeting each other for the first time!
The photo of Blake is from the vet’s office just a couple of days ago. It took awhile for him to settle down so they could snap it! He’s looking and feeling good!
Blake’s Racing Career
Blake finishes his professional racing career with 49 official races, all run at Orange Park. During his career, Blake specialized in the 503m/550y distance, and won 10 races, placed 2nd in 10 race, and 3rd in 5 races. He moved quickly through the grades, and was in Grade A after 15 races. His fastest race was on April 24 2015 where he ran a 31.00. Blake will be missed on the Orange Park oval, and in the kennel where is personality will be GRETLY missed!
Blake With Jay
Social Director picks up his first Grade A win on Wednesday (January 7, 2915) at Orange Park. Thanks to everyone who had a hand in getting him ready to compete!
Check out a replay of his race here!
According to TrackInfo, Blake finishes off the 2014 racing year with 18 races. He has five wins, 5 seconds, 2 thirds, 2 fifths and 1 sixth. He has stayed on the 550 yard course with an average time of 31.48 with his fastest being 31.04.
Blake has graded up from Maiden to A class at Orange Park in 16 races. What will 2015 hold for him?
Update on Chevy and Blake
Brianna Burkhart sent us this update on Chevy and Blake after her visit with them in December.
Chevy and Blake seem to have very similar personalities. They’re both very people-oriented and fairly well mannered. They also seem to stick together and even cuddle a bit at turnout. What I loved most about them was their confidence!
The only real big difference between the two is that Chevy is higher energy and sillier while Blake is super laid back. In fact, Blake was so relaxed that he even lay down in the sprint path as if to say “ok, I had fun with my friends but I’m done with that now”.
It was so great to spend so much time with them and see what they do day-to-day. Their trainers and helpers are fantastic and so welcoming. We had such a great time I didn’t want to leave!
Blake – November 2014
Brothers Cheveyo and Social Director taking a nap during turn out. They wore themselves out in the sprint path that morning.
Race Recap – November 30, 2014
Blake explodes from the 8th hole and is in third going into the first turn, edging into second place. The grade B race finishes with a dead heat for second at 31.28! The photo finish is shown below. To watch the replay, click here.
Race Recap – November 15, 2014
Blake comes from the 7th hole in this Grade C race to advance to 6th but then is blocked going into the first turn. He finished 8th. To watch the replay, click here.
Race Recap – October 30, 2015
Under fair conditions, Blake comes from the 1st hole in this grade D race at Orange Park’s evening card. He led the pack until the final stretch, settling into second place in 31.33. To watch the replay, click here.
Blake Takes Second
Social Director took 2nd in his race today! To watch his replay, click here.
Congratulations to his owner Jay Roberts.
Social Director Wins His Maiden
Blake had a big win on his maiden today (October 15, 2014).
Congratulations to Jay Roberts, one of his owners. Check out his race replay here!
A Second for Blake
On October 11, 2014, Social Director “Blake” finished 2nd on his maiden! Good boy! Check out his race here!
Morning schooling for Blake and his brother Chevy in September 2014. Blake’s wearing the red collar.
What Changes Lie Ahead For the Brothers
by Mike Gerard ©2014
Sometimes the transition can be hard on young pups. It’s a big change from the farm to a racing kennel. They are such creatures of habit. They do so much better when things are as stress free as possible. The pups have to establish a pecking order in the pack (kennel) and a change in diet. A new environment, new routine, new people, weather, and humidity.
We spend much more time in the kennel when new dogs arrive. Five to six hours every morning, an hour in the after noon, two hours, or close to it, at night.
In between all that, they have to get used to us coming and going, in and out of the kennel. Loading up dogs eight times a week to go to the track. After the races, coming back to the kennel having racers getting turned out twice after returning from the track, both before and after they are fed. Sometimes it’s midnight or 1 am in the morning if races run late.
We will give them a couple of days to get used to the kennel, me and my trainers (my wife and my oldest daughter), the change in their diet, turnouts etc……
We will start sprinting pups this weekend on Saturday, then continue on Monday and Wednesday. If they are in good enough shape, we will start morning schooling on Friday.
We school on the Orange Park official race track, another big change for pups. Odds board, grand stand, trees, water fountains etc. There’s also a busy highway 109 yards away.
The first time we will walk them from the front stretch to the back stretch, between the odds board and the 7/16 box. Then give them a hand slip, depending on how hard they run and where they come off after the race. We run them slowly on each concurrent schooling. Escape (first turn), finish line, and eventually to the box.
Once in the box, I grade pups by order of finish. I never want a pup to get beat more than once or twice in a row.
We run 3 and 4 dog boxes. All winners this time will run against each other next time. 2nd place finishers against each other, 3rd place against 3rd, and 4th against 4th.
I’m a firm believer that a dog’s confidence is as important as its ability. A dog that believes it can win, will try every time. I try to never teach a dog to lose.
Greyhound Facts: Don’t worry if you don’t understand half of what was reported. We’ll break it down and teach you all of the terms you need to know.
The “Track Talk” section on our website will also help you and have amazing photos from the tracks.