Sunday, May 27, 2018
Sports

Healthy Magic Finch ready to defend Distance Classic title at Derby Lane

ST. PETERSBURG — Patience, not persistence, has been the best policy with Magic Finch.

Sidelined 38 percent of her racing career by minor injuries, the Abernathy kennel greyhound is attempting to defend her title in the $80,000 Distance Classic, Derby Lane's richest stakes race, which begins tonight.

"I think she's ready," kennel owner Jim Abernathy said. "She hasn't run consistent enough to win that many races. Usually we get her maybe 10 starts in a row until something happens. We just need to put a stakes race into her."

Magic Finch, a two-time stakes winner, gets that opportunity in Race 4 (8:18 p.m.), the first of four qualifiers on the evening performance.

The 660-yard event features four qualifying rounds over the next 12 nights. Eight of the 32 dogs with the most accumulative points advance to the April 7 finale. First place pays $32,000.

Other top contenders include Kiowa Mind Mia (J.E. O'Donnell Jr. kennel) in Race 6; Brother Buck (D'Arcy) in Race 8; Kentucky Fire (Cal Holland), a runnerup in three stakes, and two-time stakes winner Tiger Boy (McAllister) in Race 10.

Owned by Haber Kennels of Summerfield, Magic Finch has been sidelined three times totaling 24 weeks with leg, neck, shoulder and tail issues. She has 15 victories from 60 lifetime starts and earned $50,561 under trainer Kayruth Abernathy, Jim's wife.

Magic Finch is a 34-month-old female out of a litter by Lonesome Cry and Bird A Flyin. She won the Distance Classic and the $10,000 St. Petersburg Consolation Derby, also in 2011, by running down rivals in the stretch. Two starts ago, she clocked her second-fastest career 660 time, 37.31 seconds.

"I think (Magic Finch) is the best female dog at the track," said Kayruth Abernathy, who also entered Ahk Colormegone and Magic Bagels.

Patriot, Derby Lane's top kennel under first-year manager/trainer and former Floyd & Porter conditioner Cal Holland Jr., leads with five starters: Art Alex, Art Allen, Kiowa Mad Penske, Kiowa Powell and Kiowa Wildbraves.

Art Allen, who wasn't eligible for the Distance Classic until his fourth 660 start Wednesday, shares the track wins lead with Kiow Aloe Randy (McAllister) at 10 apiece and drew Race 8.

"Art Allen is a pretty special dog," Holland Jr. said. "I wanted to get him over there (660), because one of his brothers (Art Almost) has been over there pretty much his whole life.

"Kentucky Fire is most definitely one of the ones to beat. I love my dad, but when it comes to (winning races), I'm competitive, and I want to beat anybody and everybody."

HORSES: Kentucky Derby hopefuls have two major preps this weekend: today's Grade III $500,000 Spiral Stakes (Race 10, 5:45 p.m.) at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., and Sunday's Grade III $800,000 Sunland (Park) Derby (Race 12, 7:45) in New Mexico.

Comments
Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

THE BASEBALL LABORATORY IN ST. PETERSBURG — Up is down. Down is up. Hello is goodbye. Goodbye is hello. A reliever is a starter. A starter is a reliever.These are your 2018 Tampa Bay Rays.You never know what's going to happen. And just when you...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have had to get creative in how they start games. Now, after Friday's trade of closer Alex Colome, they might have to get creative in how they finish them.How they handle the ninth inning going forward will be a fluid ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who was trying to resurrect his career with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, said Saturday that he is retiring from football.Freeman, 30, was a first-round draft pick of the Bucs in 2009 and was their starting ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Thomas Bassinger’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game

Thomas Bassinger’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game

Interesting decision by the Rays to start RH reliever Ryne Stanek on Saturday. The Orioles' Nos. 1 through 5 hitters were righties, and Stanek came in allowing a 1.228 OPS against righties and a .592 OPS against lefties. It ended up working.How ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

What in the name of the 0-26 Bucs is going on here?The breathtaking Vegas Golden Knights are the greatest expansion team in professional sports history. They are the best (or worst) thing to ever happen to our games, having won 51 times during the re...
Updated: 8 hours ago
RAYSREPORT

RAYSREPORT

Today: vs. Orioles1:10, Tropicana FieldTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)Tickets: $15-$275; available at Tropicana Field, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within five hours of gamePromotion: Raymond children’s book for kids 14 ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays Tales: What the trade of Alex Colome and Denard Span leads to next

Rays Tales: What the trade of Alex Colome and Denard Span leads to next

The reality of Friday's surprising trade of Alex Colome and Denard Span to Seattle is, of course, between the extremes.One side is screaming this is the latest proof the Rays are driven more to pocket money than winning games (and, for the loudest, o...
Updated: 10 hours ago

For starters: Rays vs. Orioles; Ryne Stanek makes first start, Carlos Gomez returns

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' bullpenning experiment continues, with right-hander Ryne Stanek to open this afternoon's game against the Orioles at Tropicana Field. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10.It is the first career start for Stanek, who has ...
Published: 05/26/18

Captain’s Corner: Redfish bite strong on afternoon high tide

Early morning stops at jetty rock piles have produced excellent action for a variety of species. Snook, redfish and trout are the targets. Free-lining live pilchards against the rocks at the strong part of the tide is your best opportunity for snook,...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs rookie CBs quickly catching on

Bucs rookie CBs quickly catching on

TAMPA — If the first few days of organized team activities are any indication, the Bucs secondary could be much improved.Completions may be down, interceptions should be up."A lot of interceptions,’’ coach Dirk Koetter said Thursday after practice. "...
Updated: 10 hours ago