ST. PETERSBURG — Brother Buck made his presence felt in kennel owner Mick D'Arcy's absence.
With D'Arcy at Wheeling Island (W. Va.), where he manages another kennel, wife Frances and daughter Catherine celebrated with co-workers and friends after Brother Buck won the $80,000 Distance Classic, Derby Lane's richest stakes race, last Saturday.
"Dad booked to come and then changed his mind at the very last minute," said Catherine, kennel manager and trainer of Brother Buck. "He was kicking himself that he wasn't here. But he's absolutely over the moon that the kennel won it. I think it was Frances that got (Brother Buck) over the winner's line. She cheered louder than any of us."
Mick won his fourth Distance Classic but first as a Derby Lane kennel owner. His last victory in the 660-yard event came 12 years ago, with Greys Free Style. Mick's first Distance Classic win in 1995, with Greys Mardigras, came when Catherine and Frances were in Ireland.
Catherine said Brother Buck ran a "picture-perfect race." The Kansas-bred dog raced second behind pace-setter Kentucky Fire and went in front in deep stretch. The next three finishers — Flyin Commandant (Red Oak kennel), Kiowa Wildbraves (Patriot) and Kentucky Fire (Cal Holland) — were only a length behind.
"It's nice to see a dog that's been a consistent runner here (like Brother Buck) have a successful finish, as well as the dogs that finished second, third and fourth," Derby Lane racing secretary Jerry Miller said.
It was the first stakes victory for Brother Buck, a 35-month-old male from a litter by 2005 Southland (Ark.) Sprint Derby champion Kiowa Mon Manny and Bow Okie Barb. For greyhound breeder-owner Donnie Ryan of Ryan Farms Kennel, Brother Buck's 17th lifetime victory represented a milestone.
HORSES: Tampa Bay Derby winner Prospective faces Hansen, one of the Kentucky Derby favorites, in the Grade I $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes today (Race 11, 6:18 p.m.) at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. … Cozzetti, third in the Tampa Bay Derby, drew the rail in the Grade I $1 million Arkansas Derby (Race 11, 6:45 p.m.) at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. … Tampa Bay Downs trainers Jamie Ness and Derek Ryan entered Lady of Greatness and My Sunshine Gal in the $200,000 Sugar Maple (Race 11, 9:45 p.m.) at Charles Town (W. Va.).