ST. PETERSBURG — The original plan failed to materialize so Mick D'Arcy switched to his second option.
The Dream Team.
Nightingale and Urban Sea, female pups from the first litter of 2007 All-America sprinter Dreamy Blossom, make their stakes debuts for D'Arcy kennel in the $20,000 Fall Juvenile beginning tonight at Derby Lane. The 550-yard series features 32 greyhounds that have broken their maiden at the track since May. Eight dogs with the most accumulative points through four qualifying rounds advance to the final Nov. 13.
D'Arcy, a kennel owner and trainer, seeks bookend victories in Derby Lane's final 550-yard stakes of the year. He won the first sprint stakes Jan. 2 with Sovereign Lord in the $8,000 Inaugural. First place pays $9,000. Tonight's qualifiers are Races 4, 6, 8 and 10. Post time for the 15-race evening performance is 7:30.
Ctw Flight Plan was expected to head D'Arcy's lineup. But a minor injury sidelined the dog, which is scheduled to be flown to Australia in two weeks for racing and breeding.
"Flight Plan was absolutely perfect (for the stakes), but we were stuck between a rock and a hard place," D'Arcy said. "(Nightingale and Urban Sea) are young and good. Ideally, I wished they had another 10 races. If any one were to make the final, I would be over the moon."
Sired by Dodgem By Design, Nightingale and Urban Sea are short on experience. But the 20-month-old pups haven't been short on the track since debuting four weeks ago.
Nightingale came within one victory of climbing the graded ladder (maiden through Grade A) undefeated, winning her first four races. Urban Sea also has four victories. They have only 15 combined starts. Urban Sea is in Race 8, and Nightingale in Race 10. Others in the litter are Amber Blossom, Aura Bella, Money Up Front, Moonlit Dream, News King and Victory Wave. All eight will be racing at Derby Lane.
"It is unusual that a litter would be that well balanced," said D'Arcy, who owns four of the pups and Dreamy Blossom. "They're not short and seem to have no weaknesses."
Dreamy Blossom holds the industry's record for most consecutive victories to start a career at one track, winning her first 13 races at Tampa Greyhound Track in 2006. She was Tampa's win leader that year and captured the $120,000 Palm Beach Grand Classic in 2007 at West Palm Beach. She won 32 of 42 career races and lives on the farm of Jack and Mary Butler in Abilene, Kan.
"Dreamy Blossom was all speed up front," D'Arcy said. "She was always our favorite because of what she achieved."
NOTEWORTHY: Win leader Flying Coal City of McAllister kennel is being rested after two unsuccessful attempts at career victory No. 50. … St. Petersburg-based Campbell kennel is closing in on the win title at Flagler in Miami. The meet ends today.