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)

Greyhound Aerial Battle set to defend title in Matinee Idol at Derby Lane

ST. PETERSBURG — Now a that he has found a new lease on his racing career, Aerial Battle can make up for lost time today in the $10,000 Matinee Idol at Derby Lane.

Five months after incurring an injury to the stopper bone in an ankle, Aerial Battle is back to defend his title in the greyhound track's only afternoon stakes of the year. He drew the No. 1 box in the 550-yard finale (Race 8, 2:30 p.m.). The eight qualifiers have combined for 241 victories and 38 stakes appearances, but Aerial Battle is the lone one with a crown.

Capabal kennel owner Henry Parker tapped into his 35 years of industry experience to help Aerial Battle overcome his health issue, which often is career ending. The former Derby Lane wins leader and lifetime winner of 44 races returned Jan. 5, winning twice in five subsequent starts.

"I couldn't be happier with him coming back as sharp as he has," Parker said. "He's gotten a little older and may have lost a step. But he's still better than most."

A 40-month-old male out of a litter from Dodgem By Design and Abita Cruzin, Aerial Battle has not missed a final in six stakes for owner John Bladen.

"Everybody wanted to see him get a chance to repeat," Parker said. "He's a tough dog that can get out of trouble and get to the first turn."

Aerial Battle faces two rivals he beat in last year's Matinee Idol: Charter kennel's Odd Inspector (second) and Lester Raines' Kiowa Lazy Lazy (fourth), winners of 83 total races. Other starters: Flying Bergen (McAllister kennel), Kiowa Class King (Patriot), M's Free Hand (Floyd & Porter), Rk's Big Bear (Abernathy) and Sovereign Gold (D'Arcy). All qualified Wednesday with top-four finishes. First place pays $4,500.

HORSES: Tampa Bay Downs trainer Derek Ryan said the thoroughbred industry got it right Monday when Zenyatta defeated Blame for horse of the year at the Eclipse Awards.

"She's probably done more for horse racing in the last few years than any horse in the last 20 years," Ryan said. "She only got beat once in her life, and that was by a head."

Ryan's Musket Man was stabled next to Zenyatta at her final race, the Breeders' Cup Classic Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Zenyatta's streak of 19 consecutive wins was snapped by Blame. Musket Man finished seventh in the 12-horse field.

"Zenyatta was like a rock star," Ryan said. "There were people at the barn every single day; you could barely get in. The people that own her (Jerry and Ann Moss) are the nicest people. (Her trainer) John Shirreffs is a class act. He let everyone come by and take pictures. How many people do that? Nowadays, most of them won't even let you in the barn."

In the Eclipse Awards outstanding owner category, Midwest Thoroughbreds, the main client for Downs trainer Jamie Ness, finished fourth behind WinStar Farm.

Greyhound Aerial Battle set to defend title in Matinee Idol at Derby Lane 01/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 21, 2011 10:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Kids still playing for all the marbles — literally

    Human Interest

    In this world of pompous athletes, overbearing coaches, money-grubbing owners and a win-at-all-costs mindset, it's easy to become jaded.

    Eli Murphy, right, leans in to give Sierra Ricci the traditional king and queen kiss at the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. Both of Allegheny County Pa., they won the girls and boys championship of the 94th annual National Marbles Tournament. [Associated Press]
  2. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  3. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  4. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    fit test: Top draft pick Cal Foote puts on his Lightning jersey.
  5. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Derek Norris, right, celebrates with Logan Morrison as he scores in what could be his last game with the Rays.