ST. PETERSBURG — Backwood Ike has gone from being a dog in the kennel to being one of the dogs for Campbell Greyhound Racing.
The co-leader in wins at Derby Lane, Backwood Ike can continue his career progression tonight in Race 12 (approximately 10:45 p.m.). He is tied with All-America candidate Flying Coal City with six wins (among nine starts, all at Grade A).
His streak of five consecutive victories — longest at the track this season — was snapped Wednesday by defending meet wins leader Aerial Battle.
"He's turned out better than I thought he would," kennel owner James Campbell, 37, said. "I thought he would be a nice, usable dog. But no way did I imagine he'd put together a win streak of five in a row."
Backwood Ike, a 26-month-old male out of a litter by 2003 T.L. Weaver Memorial Challenge winner Fuzzys fbi and Desert Goddess, has come a long way since his debut in October. He lost 26 of his first 32 starts before scoring his first Grade A win on March 31 in a career-best 30.57 seconds at 550 yards.
In May, Backwood Ike began to shine. He finished sixth in the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile, advancing through the four-round qualifying series with a win and two second-place efforts.
In all six victories this meet, Backwood Ike had led at every call and beat Aerial Battle twice. His career record has improved to 18 wins among 64 starts for trainer Brandy Glaspey and Texas owner Hugo Hartsfield.
"It's the maturity," Campbell said. "When he was younger, he was not so smart. He'd always pick the wrong lane to run in and easily get in trouble. I'd say half the races he was in, he got knocked around or knocked somebody else down. He's learned to get out of the box a little sharper. He's got enough early speed to get to the lead. When he does, he's relentless now.
"Ike has beaten some nice greyhounds, but he's still relatively young and somewhat immature. Unfortunately, I've had quite a few dogs that have showed a lot of promise and never turned out. There are so many intangibles involved. It just takes one race to get into a dog's head and change something."
TRACK TIDBITS. John Farmer is the newest trainer at Derby Lane, joining Alderson kennel on July 23. … Patriot kennel leads with 57 wins entering Friday. … Filipelli Kennel has rallied from a slow start, winning 14 races among the past 20 performances. Kennel owner John Filipelli started the operation July 1 and won only twice among the season's first 21 performances. … Tmc's Remedy, who was retired to stud after winning the St. Petersburg Derby on June 26, is featured on the cover of the July-August edition of The Greyhound Review, published by the National Greyhound Association. He finished with four stakes wins and 59 career victories with the former Filipelli and O'Donnell operation.