Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Derby Lane's Fall Sprint final kicks off season for stakes races

ST. PETERSBURG — They will walk in unison to the starting box tonight and wait for it to open. For the greyhounds in the fifth annual $50,000 Fall Sprint championship, that will be one of the few similarities.

Derby Lane's first stakes race of the season blends speedsters with closers, sprinters with dual-distance dogs, and veterans with pups. Together, the eight finalists have 564 starts and 192 victories. None has won a stakes with a purse this high ($22,000 to the winner). And none will be concerned with defending champion Flying Coal City, the industry's 2010 Triple Crown winner who was retired from racing Wednesday after the McAllister kennel standout failed to qualify for the 550-yard finale, track spokeswoman Vera Rasnake said.

The field in the Fall Sprint (Race 10, 10:11 p.m.) from the rail: Sand Cloud (D'Arcy kennel), Aerial Battle (Capabal), Ahk Colormegone (Abernathy), Storm Rush (Hambleton), Jw Titleist (Capabal), Uss Gazillionair (Lester Raines), Craigie I Am Jak (Campbell) and Manicotti Manny (Hambleton).

"I think every one of them can win," Rasnake said. "That's what is exciting about the way they drew (posts). Dog owners are coming to town (from as far as Kansas and Texas)."

Aerial Battle (Matinee Idol), Storm Rush (St. Petersburg Derby) and Uss Gazillionair (Fall Juvenile) have won stakes before. Aerial Battle turned 4 in September and is the event's senior greyhound. He is going for his 70th victory in his 140th start. Aerial Battle has overcome two injuries — including a career-threatening ankle stopper-bone issue — and is one of the early speed dogs with Ahk Colormegone, Manicotti Manny and Sand Cloud. Aerial Battle is 6-for-6 at making stakes finals and is half-brother to Jw Titleist, the meet wins leader. Abernathy has been the hottest kennel in recent stakes, winning three of the previous seven at Derby Lane.

This is the fifth stakes finale for Uss Gazillionair, who can extend Lester Raines' streak of having a stakes winner at St. Petersburg to seven consecutive meets. Storm Rush comes from well off the pace as does Craigie I Am Jak, the youngest qualifier at 21 months old. In 10 lifetime wins, Craigie I Am Jak has beaten only one dog out of the starting box. He led qualifiers with 56 points and, with a win, would give Campbell its first stakes victory at Derby Lane since Jr's Flashy won the 2005 T.L. Weaver Memorial.

HORSES: Belmont Park will host six of the 13 graded races on today's national scene. The track in Elmont, N.Y., has five Grade I races (Jockey Club Gold Cup, Joe Hirsch Turf, Flower Bowl, Beldame and Vosburgh) and a Grade II (Kelso). … Tampa Bay Downs trainer Anthony Pecoraro got his 1,000th win Sept. 24 when I'm Steppin' It Up won the Grade III Kent Stakes at Delaware Park in Wilmington.

Derby Lane's Fall Sprint final kicks off season for stakes races 09/30/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 30, 2011 10:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. USF baseball heads to Gainesville for regional play

    Sports

    TAMPA — Had USF's players and coaches been less confident in their NCAA Tournament resume, Monday's selection show might have induced fidgeting, perhaps even frustration.

    South Florida coach Mark Kingston looks on during 2017 American Athletic Conference game Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Clearwater during the American Athletic Conference. The Bulls won 7-6.
  2. Rays call up Jose De Leon to add depth to bullpen tonight

    Blogs

    The Rays decided that after playing 15 innings Sunday they could use some depth and length in their bullpen after all and are calling up RHP Jose De Leon from Triple-A.

    The Rays have recalled Jose De Leon from Triple-A Durham.
  3. Tiger Woods arrested in Florida on DUI charge, released

    Public Safety

    Tiger Woods was arrested early Monday on a DUI charge in Jupiter, Florida, and spent nearly four hours in a county jail before he was released.

    Tiger Woods has been arrested on a DUI charge in Florida.
  4. After state, academics will trump athletics for King ace Brian Lee

    Baseballpreps

    TAMPA — Brian Lee can still see himself on the pitcher's mound at Venice High School. Four years ago he was a freshman left-handed reliever just trying to keep King's state championship dreams alive.

    Pitcher Brian Lee participates in a practice at King High in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, May 26, 2017.
  5. Five cool things to do when it's hot outside

    Outdoors

    Summer is not officially here, but it may as well be. School is out, vacations are coming, and it's time to enjoy the outdoors. Don't buy the argument that summer in Florida is too hot to get outside. There is plenty to do, and we'll prove it. Here are five cool things to do outdoors during another hot summer.

    Rainbow Springs State Park is a registered natural landmark. Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon is one several state parks with natural swimming holes in Florida. (Octavio Jones | Times)