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 returns from injury ready to defend title in Derby Lane Fall Sprint Stakes

ST. PETERSBURG — Entering the final turn, just beyond the tote board at Derby Lane, his proverbial green light comes on. Time is running out, and sometimes he has yet to pass a dog.

For Craigie I Am Jak, it is go time.

Jak is back, and his timing couldn't be better. The $50,000 Fall Sprint Stakes begins Sept. 15 at Derby Lane, and Craigie I Am Jak can be the first greyhound in the six-year event to defend his title.

For a while, that didn't seem possible. A month after defeating Aerial Battle to win the Fall Sprint in October, Craigie I Am Jak tore a muscle in his right rear leg. The Campbell Greyhound Racing kennel sprinter, whose trademark is a dynamic come-from-behind running style, was sidelined more than five months.

"(The tear) was about the size of a dime," kennel owner James Campbell said. "He puts so much stress and pressure on the back legs that it usually takes a while to heal. I left him off longer than most dogs because of who he was and how much propulsion he uses his back legs for."

Craigie I Am Jak was moved to Bonita Springs, where Campbell has a booking at Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track. "For the first three months, he didn't do anything but go into semiretirement," Campbell said. "The last two months, we got him back in shape and rehabbed the injury."

The 32-month-old male out of a litter by Lonesome Cry and Craigie Crimson returned to Derby Lane in May. In 23 subsequent starts, Craigie I Am Jak has five victories and finished no worse than third 17 times. Overall, he has won 18 of 69 races. The 70-pound greyhound is racing at Grade B, one level below the top of the track's graded scale.

"He has come back from the injury a better dog," Campbell said. "His racing style has changed a little bit. He's starting to get a little closer (to other dogs) down to the (first) turn. He'll be 100 percent ready by the time the Fall Sprint comes around."

Craigie I Am Jak, a notoriously slow starter, captivates his fans on the 550-yard course. The races last slightly longer than 30 seconds, and he often has considerable ground to make up in the final 12.

"On that far turn, he is probably going 5, 6 or maybe 7 miles per hour faster than the dogs in front of him," Campbell said. "He has to make a split-second decision where to run. Most of the times, it's the right decision. He's exciting to watch."

Purchased for $2,500 at the National Greyhound Association spring meet in 2011, Craigie I Am Jak is owned by Campbell's wife, Michelle Edgar, and her mother, Tammy Edgar. "Michelle's dad (James Edgar) picked him out," Campbell said. "He found a diamond in the rough."

LABOR DAY SCHEDULE: Derby Lane will hold a 15-race matinee performance Monday. There will be no night racing, but the track will be open for poker and simulcast wagering.

Greyhound returns from injury ready to defend title in Derby Lane Fall Sprint Stakes 08/31/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 31, 2012 9:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays Kevin Cash: "We've got to turn it around. ... Time is of the essence"

    Blogs

    The question to manager Kevin Cash was about a rematch with the Mariners this weekend at the Trop, but he made clear this afternoon that with his Rays losing nine of their last 12 that they have to treat every game as essential.

    "We've got to turn it around,'' Cash said. "You can only delay it for so long and …

  2. Lightning wing J.T. Brown on why he donated to remove Confederate statue

    Blogs

    Lightning wing J.T. Brown was back in his Minneapolis offseason home over the weekend when he saw on TV the violent protests in Charlottesville over the removal of a Confederate statue.

    J.T. Brown decided to get involved, donating $1,500 to assist in removing a Confederate statue in Tampa.
  3. Rays, Bucs and Lightning join Dungy in donating to move Confederate monument

    Bucs

    The Tampa Bay area's three major league sports teams have pledged their financial support in moving a Confederate monument out of downtown Tampa.

    Tony Dungy in 2011. [Getty]
  4. Tim Tebow came into their life, and never left

    Minors

    There are a lot of stories about Tim Tebow connecting with people during his life, Tebow inspiring them and Tebow being inspired.

    Boomer Hornbeck of Naples, Fla., has battled cerebral palsy and undergone surgery after surgery in the hopes of allowing him to one day walk. Inspired by Tim Tebow, and encouraged by his relationship with him, Hornbeck has become a motivational speaker.
  5. For starters: Rays at Jays, with Longoria moved to No. 2 spot in order

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 3:10: Cash said the change was made primarily for two reasons, to change the look for several of the hitters and to get back to alternating lefty and righty hitters to make it tougher for opposing managers to match up relievers. Cash said he plans to stick with this structure for a while but doesn't …

    Evan Longoria was moved from his usual No. 3 spot in the batting order up to second.