ST. PETERSBURG — Se's Home Owner has been on the move, much like owner Richard Armington Jr.
The day after becoming the first greyhound in 11 years to win the $80,000 Distance Classic in undefeated fashion April 6 at Derby Lane, Se's Home Owner was sent to Southland Park in West Memphis, Ark., where he will compete in more lucrative stakes races. The dog didn't leave without creating a stir and giving Armington the one thing he cherished: a stakes victory at the St. Petersburg track.
"I feel Derby Lane is the mecca of dog racing," Armington said. "It doesn't pay as much (in purses) any more, but it's the most prestigious place."
Armington, 43, who moved from Bristol, Conn., to Summerville, S.C., on Feb. 1 to manage a metal recycling company, said he was "jumping around the house" after Se's Home Owner completed his run through Derby Lane's richest stakes event.
Getting to the Distance Classic was quite a journey for the 21-month-old male from a litter of two-time stakes winner Kiowa Ww Brother and Se's Fancy Pants. Less than three weeks before the first qualifier, Se's Home Owner was involved in an on-track incident in which Derby Lane chart writer Timothy Barr commented the dog "bored in in the stretch." Had he received a ticket for fighting or interference, the dog would have been ineligible for any stakes race.
"I watched the race about 20 times trying to figure out what he did," Armington said. "We think he might have a funny little gallop in him, maybe, that takes him toward the rail."
Winless at 660 yards entering the Distance Classic under 20-year-old trainer Alex Hall, Se's Home Owner became the first greyhound to win all five races in the series since two-time All-America captain and Hall of Fame member Talentedmrripley in 2002.
Armington purchased Se's Home Owner for $5,000 from Kansas breeder Steve Ward.
"It's possible he could return (to Derby Lane)," Armington said. "As good as he is, he may have a chance to be an All-American."
MORE DOGS: Four-time kennel champion owner Malcolm McAllister said he and wife Barbara are retiring and will end their operation June 30.
HORSES: Daniel Centeno and Daniel Coa avoided serious injuries Friday when the Tampa Bay Downs riders were involved in a two-horse spill at Oldsmar. "Daniel Centeno was taken to a nearby hospital, treated and released," track spokesman Margo Flynn said. Coa resumed riding and went on to win four races. The incident took place in the fifth race when Coa's mount, Basilone, broke down entering the stretch. Centeno was thrown as his mount, Duppyzapper, avoided the fallen horses. No conditions were available on the horses.