ST. PETERSBURG — Synergy has been unstoppable in the Filipelli & O'Donnell Kennel. Its greyhounds are finally healthy, producing volumes of victories and big mutuel payouts.
Kiowa Gee Whiz can keep the momentum going for Derby Lane's leading operation today with a win in the $10,000 Matinee Idol Stakes. The 550-yard sprint is Race 8 (2:30 p.m.).
A 25-month-old son of Flying Stanley — the sport's all-time leading money earner and 2008 Matinee Idol champion — Kiowa Gee Whiz has been a microcosm of Filipelli & O'Donnell's sensational start in the new season. The speedster is tied for the meet lead with three victories, each paying at least $19.20 against Grade A rivals. His last win came in the Matinee Idol semifinals Wednesday in 30.47 seconds.
Owned by kennel co-owner James "Barney" O'Donnell, Kiowa Gee Whiz was among the greyhounds affected by an intestinal virus that plagued the kennel in 2009. He was out for nearly three months.
"He's just getting back to the way he was (before the sickness)," kennel co-owner/trainer John Filipelli said. "He got sicker than most of them; it was weeks and weeks getting him right."
Winner in 11 of 38 career starts, Kiowa Gee Whiz drew the No. 1 box for the championship race. The remainder of the field in post-position order: Lamorge Red Fish (Alderson Kennel), Odd Inspector (Charter), Dutch Dabney (Campbell), Bow Miyabi (Abernathy), Kiowa Rf Preston (Patriot), Aerial Battle (Capabal) and Kiowa Lazy Lazy (Lester Raines). First place pays $4,500.
After finishing seventh (among 16 kennels) behind champion Wayne Ward in the Tampa at Derby Lane meet that concluded Dec. 31, Filipelli & O'Donnell has been on a tear. Entering Friday, it held a 45-35 win lead over Patriot. Twenty-six of the kennel's winners have paid at least $10, nine more than $20, and only eight have been favored. The average win price is $14. Hallo Elmo Acre produced the highest win payout of $44 on Jan. 13, one of 18 victories last week for Filipelli & O'Donnell. The kennel won the 2009 Matinee Idol with Tmc's Trail Boss.
HORSES: Tom Proctor trainee Omega Cat is the early-line 2-1 choice in today's featured sixth race (2:49 p.m.), a 1 1/16th-mile allowance turf test for older fillies and mares, at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar. First post for the 11-race card is 12:25 p.m. … Jackson Bend is among nine 3-year-olds entered in the Grade III $150,000 Holy Bull (Race 9, 5:08 p.m.) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. … General Quarters, 2009 Sam F. Davis winner, makes his 4-year-old debut in the $75,000 Louisiana Handicap (Race 7, 4:13 p.m.) at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. … Jockey Thomas Pompell, 36, a Tampa native, got his 2,000th career win on Catch the Prize on Jan. 16 at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.