Monday, December 18, 2017
Sports

D'Arcy kennel has plenty to cheer at Fall Sprint Stakes at Derby Lane

ST. PETERSBURG — Sand Cloud has the lead near the finish line with Call Me Ishmael closing quickly.

If that scenario plays out tonight in the $50,000 Fall Sprint Stakes at Derby Lane, kennel manager-trainer Catherine D'Arcy knows which dog she'll be pulling for to win the track's first stakes of the season.

"Both," she said. "A dead heat is something we all joked about before the first (qualifying) round. With all of us at the table for dinner (tonight), I think that's the pact (the dogs' owners) are going to make with each other."

D'Arcy is the only kennel with multiple finalists in the 550-yard event (Race 10, 10:11 p.m.). Both dog owners have flown in for the race. Donnie Ryan arrived from Abilene, Kan., to watch Call Me Ishmael. Sand Cloud owner Mick D'Arcy, Catherine's father and kennel owner, is in from Wheeling, W.Va.

"We're absolutely over the moon with the way the dogs have run during the stakes race," Catherine said. "They've run true to their form, they haven't disappointed, and they've given their all every round. There's some incredible talent in this field. I think the best sprinters made the finals."

The Fall Sprint has been full of twists. Defending champion Craigie I Am Jak (Campbell Greyhound Racing kennel) won a draw by lot after the second round and advanced. On Thursday, Mw's Alfa (Alabama) gained the final stakes berth in another draw by lot over Oneco Kennedy (D'Arcy) after both dogs tied in points. A dozen individuals were in the track racing office when Alabama trainer Derek Barsell, 25, was chosen to select the winning slip from the hat.

"He picked the right one," said Alabama owner Patty Byers, Derek's mother. "I hooted and hollered when he called to tell me."

Alabama is looking for its first stakes win at Derby Lane. It joined the roster in July 2011, and lost its first 64 starts.

"I've had quality dogs," Byers said. "But I finally do have one that can be competitive (in the stakes)."

Mw's Alfa was low in points through the first three qualifying rounds and needed a win Wednesday. He beat Oneco Kennedy by a nose, and Barsell did the rest. Mw's Alfa will be Alabama's second dog in a stakes final. Gabby's Jentowin finished fifth in the T.L. Weaver Memorial Challenge on June 9.

The field from the rail: Jb's Thunderbolt (Nova), Craigie I Am Jak, track win leader Venus Espinosa (Patriot), Call Me Ishmael, Mrl No Access (Lester Raines), Ed N Edmundo (Hambleton), Mw's Alfa and Sand Cloud. First place pays $22,000.

HORSES: Fort Larned, winner of the Challenger Stakes on March 3 at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, is among the favorites in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (Race 10, 5:45) at Belmont Park (N.Y.). It is one of 11 Breeders' Cup Win and You're In Challenge races at Belmont Park and Santa Anita Park (Calif).

Comments
Bucs picked up club option on Jason Lichtís contract for 2018 earlier this year, but GMís future still not clear

Bucs picked up club option on Jason Lichtís contract for 2018 earlier this year, but GMís future still not clear

Bucs general manager Jason Licht did not receive a contract extension after the team went 9-7 last season. Instead, the Glazer family which owns the Bucs decided to pick up a one-year club option on Licht’s contract for 2018. That happened some...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Jim Leavitt isnít coming back to Florida after all

Jim Leavitt isnít coming back to Florida after all

Former USF coach Jim Leavitt isn't coming back to the state after all.Sports Illustrated reported late Sunday evening that Leavitt will remain at Oregon as its defensive coordinator – a position that will earn him a cool $1.7 million annually. ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The future of Dirk Koetter

The future of Dirk Koetter

Three games. That's how many the Bucs have left. Can the same be said for Dirk Koetter's head coaching career?The answer to that question might be determined by what happens in those three games.If the Bucs lose the rest – and that is more like...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bulls expected to sign at least 6 (and possibly more) this week

Bulls expected to sign at least 6 (and possibly more) this week

At least a half-dozen high school seniors — and possibly more — are expected to sign with USF when the NCAA's new 72-hour early signing period for football commences Wednesday.Homestead South Dade TE Chris Carter Jr., a three-star prospec...
Updated: 2 hours ago
HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. Lakewood (10-0)This week: Friday at OsceolaThe buzz: The Spartans have been blowing teams out, but things will get harder over the winter break when they play in the Florida Prospects tournament in Orlando. Senior forward Toi Smith has missed a fe...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Predicting tonightís Monday Night Football Game

Bucs-Falcons: Predicting tonightís Monday Night Football Game

MONDAY NIGHT FRIGHTS Tom Jones, @tomwjones: The Falcons are playing for something. The Bucs are playing out the string. And, well, the Falcons are way better than Tampa Bay. On paper, this game won't be close. It won't be on the field either. If the ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Falcons blew a 28-3 lead, but so did the Bucs

The Falcons blew a 28-3 lead, but so did the Bucs

The Falcons blew a 28-3 lead in last season's Super Bowl, and no one will let them forget it.Including the Bucs.During a playful exchange on Twitter in May, Tampa Bay trolled its division rivals by posting a photo of Vernon Hargreaves, No. 28, and Ja...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs Ring of Honor: Which current player will make it?

Bucs Ring of Honor: Which current player will make it?

With Jon Gruden becoming the 11th member of the Bucs’ Ring of Honor tonight, what about current members of the Bucs?Bucs roundtable question: What current Bucs player not named Gerald McCoy is most likely to wind up in the Ring of Honor. Member...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs defense vs. Matt Ryan: What to expect tonight

Bucs defense vs. Matt Ryan: What to expect tonight

Atlanta and Matt Ryan are in town to face the Bucs on Monday Night Football, so it's a chance to revisit a quarterback Tampa Bay knows well, with 19 meetings over the past 10 seasons. A couple of talking points for tonight's game and the challenge ah...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
ESPN chief Skipper resigns, cites substance abuse problem

ESPN chief Skipper resigns, cites substance abuse problem

NEW YORK ó John Skipper, president of the sprawling ESPN sports network, said Monday that he is resigning to treat a substance abuse problem.Skipperís sudden announcement will force the Walt Disney Co.-owned network to search for new leadership at a ...
Updated: 2 hours ago