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Golden Squire proves a winner for D'Arcy

ST. PETERSBURG — Catherine D'Arcy uses her cellphone to play show and tell.

"This is a photo of Golden Squire with his mommy … and here is one with him and the rest of his litter."

Golden Squire proved to be the picture-perfect greyhound in the $75,000 Holiday Distance Challenge Dec. 14 at Derby Lane, setting an unprecedented standard in the seven-year-old series.

The 77-pound dog matched 2010 champion Flying Coal City as the only greyhounds to finish undefeated in the 660-yard event. But Golden Squire was even better than the industry's Triple Crown winner that season. While Flying Coal City won four qualifying rounds and the finale by 16½ total lengths, Golden Squire's combined margin of victory was 23½ lengths, capped by a 2½-length win over Kiowa Jordan Doc for the title.

Several days before Golden Squire won his first stakes race, D'Arcy, the greyhound's owner, trainer and kennel manager, said: "You can have the best dog going into a final. But you absolutely have to have luck as well. All we want is the chance for him to run his race."

The Holiday finale was Golden Squire's seventh straight win and 11th from his past 12 starts. The 30-month-old son of Australian sprinter Surf Lorian and 2010 St. Petersburg Derby winner Greys Touch Gold has sparkled since moving to the 660 course on Aug. 17, cashing in all 23 races with top-four finishes, including 12 wins.

His string of consecutive in-the-money performances stretches to 31 since July 6, and he has only missed a paycheck twice from 42 starts. The Holiday first-place prize of $33,500 is Derby Lane's richest.

Golden Squire, a winner of 16 races, is the first stakes winner out of Greys Touch Gold, D'Arcy's retired house pet.

"There were so many races in Touch Gold's career where she had to close from 20 lengths behind," D'Arcy said. "It didn't matter how far the (other) dogs were in front, she just never gave up. Golden Squire's ability to kick into a different gear coming toward the winner line reminds me of Touch Gold."

Golden Squire's kennel name is Sydney in honor of Australia's most populous city. He was sidelined 11 weeks this spring with minor foot surgery and lost his first 14 Grade A starts.

"Some of the races were in sprints and you could just tell he needed to go three-eighths," D'Arcy said. "It's a tremendous achievement (undefeated in the Holiday). He's confident and at the top of his game. We have so much faith in him, and he's been doing it since he was a pup."

Horses: Five-time leading jockey Daniel Centeno has returned to Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar. He had been riding at Laurel Park (Md.).

Holidays: Derby Lane will have a matinee performance Tuesday and close at 6 p.m. Derby Lane, Tampa Bay Downs and Tampa Greyhound Track will be closed on Christmas.

Golden Squire proves a winner for D'Arcy 12/20/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 20, 2013 8:16pm]
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