ST. PETERSBURG — Derby Lane racing secretary Jerry Miller says there are three types of pups in the $20,000 Fall Juvenile Stakes.
"You've got dogs that are fast, dogs that are track fast, and the really good ones that are both," he said.
Thirty-two greyhounds start to separate themselves tonight in the opening round of the 550-yard tournament. With entries from 14 of the track's 16 kennels, the Fall Juvenile offers a $9,000 first-place prize with the winner earning its first career stakes. The third annual event is open to pups that broke their maiden between April 20 and Oct. 10. "This will be the first taste of a tournament for (most of) them," Miller said. "Dogs that broke their maiden early in that time line certainly have an advantage."
Eight dogs with the most performance points through four qualifying rounds (tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 7 and 11) advance to the final on Nov. 14. The field will be cut to 16 on Wednesday. Tonight's qualifiers are Races 4, 6, 8 and 10. Only Duke Of Davron (La Rosa Enterprises), Kiowa Ak Richpie (Patriot), M's Dream Mary (Magic City-Mighty Fine) and Magic Smoke (McAllister) have competed in a stakes. Kiowa Ak Richpie is the lone one to race in a final (sixth in Fall Sprint on Oct. 3).
Miller said the Fall Juvenile is a microcosm of the past four months at Derby Lane, which has undergone a reshuffling from the previous meet's standings.
"I see this tournament like a changing of the guard," he said. "D'Arcy (Kennel) has come up with a lot of nice young dogs, Patriot has virtually rebuilt an entire kennel out of young dogs, and Charter certainly has the resources to keep bringing pups in until they find something that works. The pups are the difference in the kennel standings today."
Charter, the leading kennel, is represented by As Turbine Turns, Super Nickey and Uss Happy Camper. Patriot also sends Kiowa Ak Richcry and Ww Bountiful to the starting box, and D'Arcy has entered Forever Together and Kl Heart N Soul. Other top challengers include: Career Goals and Heza Career Man (both from Lester Raines), Deco Bull Rum (Capabal), Magic Porkchop (McAllister) and Mn's West Ten (Alderson).
THOROUGHBREDS: Tampa Bay Downs' three-time leading trainer Jamie Ness wraps up his second Thistledown meet title today at the North Randall, Ohio, track. Ness is first in the Randall-Cranwood meet after winning the Summit title. Ness set a Thistledown record by saddling nine winners in a row, and he recently had a streak of 39 consecutive starters hit the tote board with top-four finishes. Ness is expected to compete at Oldsmar when the meet begins Dec. 12. … Entries close Tuesday for the $25.5 million Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. The first six of 14 races will be Friday followed by the others on Nov. 7.
Jockey injured: Julia Brimo has been hospitalized in critical condition after a spill at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. She was injured Friday when mount Golden Stride clipped heels and fell during the first race, her third at the Keeneland fall meet. Brimo, 33, from Ontario rode 75 winners in 2003 and received the Sovereign Award as the top apprentice jockey in Canada.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.