ST. PETERSBURG — Tmc's Pistol hasn't been on Derby Lane's 660-yard course yet. That may change soon.
John Graham, trainer for J.E. O'Donnell Jr. kennel, said he wants to see how Tmc's Pistol handles the longer distance after his second-place finish in the 550-yard $50,000 Fall Sprint on Oct. 2.
"You never know until you try," Graham said. "Am I projecting he's going to be successful in three-eighths (of a mile)? That's a big question. We're going to give him at least three or four tries."
Tmc's Pistol, a 30-month-old male out of a litter by Dodgem By Design and Tmc's Contessa, ran 660-yard races at Wheeling Island (W.Va.) and Mardi Gras in Hallandale Beach. He came to Derby Lane in July. "I didn't see his Mardi Gras (racing) lines, but in his Wheeling line, he was coming up short," Graham said. "But that doesn't necessarily mean anything, since it was his only race."
Owned by Eddie McDonald, Tmc's Pistol remains at 550 yards tonight in Race 10 (10:11 p.m.). He has five victories from 22 starts at Derby Lane. Since losing to McAllister kennel's Flying Coal City in the Fall Sprint, the 80-pound greyhound has a win and a third in two starts. "Pistol's only been here for three months and has a limited amount of starts," Graham said. "In his last dozen races, he's improving. He's a big dog, he tries hard, and he makes things happen. That kind of dog usually makes money."
A successful transition would set up Tmc's Pistol for the $75,000 660-Yard Challenge, Derby Lane's final stakes of the year, in December. The track's next stakes is the $20,000 Fall Juvenile, starting Oct. 30.
MONEY DOG: Casino Zada of Abernathy kennel is one of Derby Lane's most consistent sprinters. Entered in Race 12 (10:45 p.m.), she has won her past two starts and finished in the money (top four) in 31 of 33 races since June 5. The streak includes 10 victories. The 26-month-old female out of a litter by Lonesome Cry and Bow Hellbent was a hard-luck nonqualifier in the Fall Sprint. In her final qualifying race, Casino Zada finished last after having the first-call lead. She was ninth in the point standings; eight dogs advanced to the finale. It was her first stakes for kennel owner Jim Abernathy, whose last major stakes win at Derby Lane came in the 1996 Distance Classic with Husker Gazette. Abernathy's wife, Kayruth, trains Casino Zada for owner Arthur Kaufman. Casino Zada has 16 victories in 67 career starts. She has eight of Abernathy's 14 Grade A wins.
NOTEWORTHY: Flying Coal City, the 2010 national wins leader at 41, makes a second attempt at his 50th career victory in Race 8 (9:33 p.m.). … Lester Raines leads Patriot in the Derby Lane kennel race 177-172 after Thursday. … St. Petersburg's Campbell Greyhound Racing entered Friday as the top kennel at Flagler in Miami, two wins ahead of Frenette.