ST. PETERSBURG — Craigie I Am Jak erases deficits with energy, excitement and an enormous surge at the end.
"I've never had a dog like him," Derby Lane kennel owner James Campbell said. "I don't know where he learned to come from way back, but I'll take it. This dog is a monster from the top of the backstretch to the finish line."
Craigie I Am Jak proved that in his stakes debut, winning the $50,000 Fall Sprint on Oct. 1. It was Campbell's first stakes victory since 2005.
Trained by Brandy Glaspey, Craigie I Am Jak has become a hot commodity since he was bought in April for $2,500 at the National Greyhound Association spring auction in Abilene, Kan. He lost seven of his first eight starts, won the next three then dropped eight straight. In the losses, Campbell saw potential.
"He got in a bunch of trouble and still kept coming (and) trying," Campbell said. "You can't train that."
Now, the 21-month-old pup is on a roll. The youngest finalist in the 550-yard Fall Sprint, Craigie I Am Jak used his dynamic closing kick to defeat stakes winners Aerial Battle, Storm Rush, Uss Gazillionair and meet win leader Jw Titleist. He has won four races in a row and eight of his past 14. In 12 career victories, Craigie I Am Jak has beaten only two greyhounds out of the starting box.
"This dog just comes out of nowhere," said Campbell, 38. "Heart and determination are what make him what he is. He's shy and introverted, but 100 percent all business. He is smart, seems to pick and choose his lanes well and not afraid to stick his nose in between two dogs."
Craigie I Am Jak is a male from a litter of Lonesome Cry and Craigie Crimson. Lonesome Cry, a two-time stakes winner, was the Derby Lane win leader in 2003. Craigie Crimson was runnerup in the 2007 Gold Trophy Juvenile. Craigie I Am Jak is owned by Michelle Edgar and her mother, Tammy Edgar. Michelle is Campbell's fiancée. Craigie I Am Jak is expected to enter the $20,000 Fall Juvenile Oct. 29-Nov. 12. After that, Campbell plans to try the dog at 660 yards.
MORE DOGS: Uss Gazillionair sustained a broken hock in the Fall Sprint. Losing the 2010 Fall Juvenile champion is a tough blow to Lester Raines kennel co-managers Ken and Jeanne Lesperance, who raced his parents (Uss Raceway and Greys Torrington). Uss Gazillionair had 32 wins and more than $57,000 in purse earnings. … Aerial Battle (Capabal kennel) earned his 70th victory Thursday, and Flyin Carnoustie (McAllister) got win No. 60 on Sept. 27.
HORSES: Six "Win and You're In" races for the Breeders' Cup World Championships Nov. 4-5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., head today's national card. Top Grade I events for 2-year-olds are the Champagne and Frizette at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., and Dixiana Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.