ST. PETERSBURG — Plenty of snapshots are in the St. Petersburg Derby photo album.
Expect more to be added tonight as the 88-year-old event kicks off with qualifying at Derby Lane. First-round action is in Races 4, 6, 8 and 10. Final qualifying is Wednesday, when fields will be determined for the $30,000 Derby and $10,000 Consolation Derby, both on June 28.
Kiowa Jordan Doc (Pauline O'Donnell kennel) and Odd Grayson (Abernathy) carry popular story lines in the 32-dog field. But history, particularly in the past decade, shows that anything can happen in the 660-yard series.
Pnj's Barr (Capabal) pulled off one of the race's most historic upsets in the 2004 Derby, winning by a nose. It was the last defeat in superstar Cayman Went's career, who at that time held the national record with 11 stakes titles.
The 2006 and 2007 derbies were dominated by siblings as Extruding Dream and Phenomenal Dream — part of the "Dream Team" for former Magic City kennel — each won by two lengths in box-to-wire fashion. In 2008, Greys Touch Gold (D'Arcy) had only one dog beat in the early going before rallying from far back to win.
The Derby reached an apex in 2010. It was a showdown between the track's two standout greyhounds, both of which would be voted that season to the All-America first team.
Kennel owners Malcolm and Barbara McAllister had speedster Flying Coal City; kennel co-owner John Filipelli countered with closer Tmc's Remedy. Both dogs ran true to form with Flying Coal City speeding to an early four-length lead before Tmc's Remedy overtook his rival. After the race, Filipelli, who now operates a kennel at Bluffs Run Greyhound Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa, said, "(Tmc's Remedy) knows when it's stakes night."
So do Kiowa Jordan Doc and Odd Grayson.
Kiowa Jordan Doc (Box 1 in Race 4, 8:18 p.m.) will be making his 15th stakes appearance for kennel manager-trainer John Graham.
The three-time stakes winner has advanced to 11 stakes finals, and a Derby victory would bring him two milestones. The 2013 All-America first-team pick has yet to capture a 660-yard crown, and he is $3,972 away from $100,000 in career earnings. The top three places in the Derby pay $13,000, $6,500 and $3,900.
Kiowa Jordan Doc has stakes crowns in the $50,000 Fall Sprint, the $8,000 T.L. Weaver Memorial and the $8,000 Inaugural. His 44 lifetime wins are divided evenly at 550 and 660 yards.
Odd Grayson (Box 1 in Race 10, 10:11) is the odds-on Derby favorite with stakes titles on both courses: the $80,000 Distance Classic (660 yards) and the $20,000 Fall Juvenile (550). He has won 31 races and earned more than $68,000 in purses.
Odd Grayson has clocked the meet's two fastest 660 times (36.84 and 36.93 seconds) for kennel owner Jim Abernathy and trainer Kayruth Abernathy.