A HANDSOME brindle weighing 69lbs when he won the first ever Greyhound Derby, Entry Badge was by the sire Jamic, sire of Mutton Cutlet and the first important sire of racing greyhounds. His dam was Beaded Nora, a daughter of the great coursing dog Hopsack and for whom Edwin Baxter had given 40gns. So from his breeding alone much was to be expected of this dog.
Mr Baxter will always be remembered with affection by those who have followed greyhound racing from its start, for he was the first of the coursing men to believe that there was a great future for track racing. The name of his dog, Entry Badge, will always be coupled with that of his owner for he was the first great star performer, in a class of his own during the first years of the sport, and the winner of the first Greyhound Derby, the first of the Classic events to be inaugurated.
Entry Badge was one of three dogs and a bitch born to Beaded Nora in January 1926. It was the year track racing began in Britain but it was not until June 1927 that the first stadium opened in London for greyhound racing and Entry Badge was there on the opening night at White City, the winner of the first trophy, the White City Cup, which was presented to his owner after he had defeated the more experienced dogs from Belle Vue in convincing style, winning his race by eight lengths in 30.13sec over the 525 yds course.
Entry Badge was one of the fastest ever from the traps and, in addition, possessed Mick the Miller’s intelligence to move to the rails whenever there was the slightest opportunity, while he was always able to steer clear of trouble at the turns.
Entered for the first Derby, at White City, he won his heat and final by six and a half lengths, one of the biggest margins ever at that time, and he started at the shortest odds of 1-4. The first Derby was run, for the only time, over 500yds, and he covered the distance in 29.01sec.
That final was held on 15 October 1927, though since then it has been held in late June. He had started from trap five and not until Daw’s Dancer won from this trap in 1953 was a dog again successful from the same trap. Mr Baxter’s dogs finished first, second and third – Ever Bright ran up, followed by Elder Brother, though only Entry Badge was trained by Joe Harmon. For his success in the Derby, Entry Badge had won £1,000 for his owner, a very big sum in those days, and the first £1,000 prize awarded for a greyhound race.
Entry Badge raced for the best part of two years and was beaten only once. In all he won eleven out of twelve races, all in top class, and was odds-on favourite in every race he ran. He generally won by three lengths or more and in times that would be considered acceptable even today. Within four months of winning the Derby, he earned £1,500 in prize money and was the first great champion track racing greyhound.