ST. PETERSBURG — How well a greyhound bounces back from a demanding qualifying series may determine the winner of the $75,000 660-Yard Challenge tonight at Derby Lane.
For Backwood Hombre, Hi Noon Hypnotic, Flying Mancini, Kiowa Muse, Magic Penny Ante, Backwood Cash, Starz Missa and Tmc's Remedy (in post position order), Race 10 at 10:07 will be their fifth 660-yarder in 15 days.
"(Racing) twice a week, it's tough," Nova Kennel operator Hans Limmer said. "They get tired. It's like a triathlon."
Nova's qualifier, Hi Noon Hypnotic, is one of four females in the race. The Rosa Gibbs trainee was the second-leading qualifier but faces a stern test against stakes winners Flying Mancini (McAllister Kennels) and Magic Penny Ante (D'Arcy), both of whom can get a leg up on this year's Flashy Sir Award (top distance dog) with a victory. Leading qualifier Flying Mancini is seeking her third stakes win in seven finals. She clocked a season-best 37.09 seconds Wednesday. Filipelli & O'Donnell has two entries, Kiowa Muse (meet's third-best time, 37.25 on Dec. 13) and Tmc's Remedy. Campbell Greyhound has two runners, brothers Backwood Cash and Backwood Hombre. Starz Missa got in with seconds in her past two starts for Lester Raines Kennel.
TAMPA BAY DOWNS: It has been a milestone year for women at the Oldsmar thoroughbred track. Thursday, jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr. got her 2,000th career victory while aboard Rustyshouldrun. Trainer Barbara McBride recorded her 1,000th lifetime win with Ashley and I on Jan. 5. … One of the new riders is Lucie Herkova, who is from the Czech Republic. … Trainer Bernell Rhone began working with Game N Laughin' two weeks before the 29-1 shot won the $65,000 Lightning City Stakes on Dec. 13. Claimed for $18,000 by Diamond G Ranch in June, she raised her lifetime earnings to $222,460 with the $30,000 paycheck. … Nearly 300 workers who reside on the backside received T-shirts, blankets and pillows at the TBD Division of Race Track Chaplaincy of America Christmas party on Monday. … Construction involving the track's parking lot across from TBD isn't expected to be finished until December 2009. Upon completion, the parking lot will join with the main facility, and Race Track Road will be on the parking lot's west side.
HOLIDAY SCHEDULE: Derby Lane — Wednesday, matinee only (simulcasts and poker end at 6 p.m.); Thursday, closed; Friday, matinee-evening doubleheader. TBD — Wednesday, no racing (simulcast and poker regular hours); Thursday, closed; Friday, racing. Tampa Greyhound Track — Thursday, closed.