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)

Faith in greyhound Art Vandelay pays off

ST. PETERSBURG — Humor is part of Art Vandelay's DNA.

The greyhound was named after a fictitious character in the TV series Seinfield. As a pup, patches of hair made him look funny. And he was called "Knucklehead" because of his early behavior.

None of that mattered to Hambleton Racing kennel manager-trainer Doug Flint, whose confidence in the sprinter resulted in a milestone victory May 18 at Derby Lane. Art Vandelay won the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile Stakes, giving Flint his first stakes victory with Hambleton.

"After I schooled him in the morning, I really thought he had some talent," Flint said. "And if he kept developing, I thought he could be a contender for the puppy stakes."

That was in October, when Flint received the pup from kennel owners James and Helen Hambleton of Solomon, Kan. Art Vandelay struggled early with one win in his first 10 starts. He also missed more than two months with an injured right front ankle but soon found his stride. In 18 subsequent starts leading up to the Gold Trophy, Art Vandelay won five times and had 14 in-the-money races with top-four finishes.

A month before the Gold Trophy, Flint, 69, attended the National Greyhound Association spring meet in Abilene, Kan., where Art Vandelay was a topic of conversation. Speaking with the dog's owners — Charter kennel's Rodney Cooley of Wheeling, W.Va., and the Hambletons — Flint said, "I really think this dog could win the Juvenile."

Cooley replied, "I want to see you on May 18th with a trophy in your hand."

Art Vandelay clocked the fifth fastest 550-yard time in the 74-year-old event, 30.60 seconds. He broke second, moved to the rail on the first turn when Flying Universe floated wide and won by 5 lengths. It was his eighth victory overall.

"When you get in the final in a race like that, you need a little luck to go along with everything else," said Flint, a native of The Dalles, Ore. "You've got to have a good dog, but you've got to have things go your way."

Flint's last stakes victory came in 2011 with Storm Rush in the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby, six days before Hambleton took over the former Royal Racing Team kennel. Art Vandelay, a 2-year-old male, is out of the Hambletons' Voo Doo Von Bonz. His sire is Cooley's multiple-stakes winner, Lonesome Cry, the Derby Lane 2003 win leader.

"Jim said Art always looked funny because he had big patches of hair on him. He'd have a patch here and a patch there. … then the hair would be all gone," Flint said. "He is a laid-back, goofy-acting dog sometimes. Jim always called him 'Knucklehead.' "

MORE DOGS: Derby Lane will have its final Monday matinee performance on Memorial Day. Monday night racing resumes on June 3. … Venus Espinosa of Patriot kennel recorded his 60th lifetime victory May 18.

Faith in greyhound Art Vandelay pays off 05/24/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 24, 2013 8:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)