Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jim Abernathy seeks upset by Rk's Big Bear in Inaugural

ST. PETERSBURG — Kennel owner Jim Abernathy comes into the $8,000 Inaugural Stakes loaded for bear.

Rk's Big Bear has a chance to defeat some of Derby Lane's best sprinters tonight because, Abernathy says, "It's greyhound racing, and anything can happen." He acknowledges four-time stakes winner Flying Coal City and Kiowa Lazy Lazy, the top winners from the previous meet, are favored and his 30-month-old is the second-youngest qualifier who lacks experience.

But upsets can happen. And no one would be happier if Rk's Big Bear could pull one off than Abernathy and wife Kayruth, the dog's trainer.

Three weeks ago, Rk's Big Bear wasn't expected to be in the Inaugural, greyhound racing's longest continuous stakes now in its 86th year. Casino Zada was going to start for Abernathy until a race-related hock injury ended her career. Enter Rk's Big Bear for Sarasota owner Arthur Kaufman, who also owns Casino Zada.

"I'd like to win it for the owner," said Abernathy, who has finalized a breeding deal with Casino Zada. "After what happened to Zada, it would be real nice."

Rk's Big Bear drew the No. 8 box for the 550-yarder (Race 10, 10:07 p.m.). Other starters from the rail:

• Rc China Doll (Red Oak kennel's first stakes finalist)

• Kiowa Lazy Lazy (Lester Raines)

• Flying Coal City (McAllister)

• Tmc's Pistol (J.E. O'Donnell Jr.)

• Sovereign Gold (D'Arcy)

• Cool Pinto Bay (Charter)

• Kiowa Ak Crier (Patriot)

Abernathy hasn't won a major Derby Lane stakes since the 1996 Distance Classic with Husker Gazette. Rk's Big Bear has 16 wins among 65 starts, including a four-race win streak in early November. The 77-pound male out of a litter by Maryville Rumble and Rk's High Octane has finished among the top four in 23 of 26 races after a six-week rest.

"He tries hard and is just now maturing," Abernathy said. "The next six months should be the best of his career. If he can get around the (first) turn second or third, he's got a shot."

Flying Coal City and Kiowa Lazy Lazy have combined for 97 victories. In their last meeting, Dec. 31, Kiowa Lazy Lazy denied Flying Coal City a share of the 2010 national win title.

Favorites have won the past three Derby Lane stakes, the longest streak in at least seven years. And since 2004, favorites have won 27 of 78. The top 10 upset winners have paid at least $20, led by D'Arcy speedster Kinloch Brae's $41.80 in the 2008 Sprint Classic.

A win by Rk's Big Bear could approach that.

HORSES: Wildcat Frankie drew the No. 1 post and is the morning-line pick for today's $60,000 Pelican Stakes (Race 9, 4:07 p.m.), a 6-furlong sprint for 4-year-olds and older on the main track at Tampa Bay Downs.

Jim Abernathy seeks upset by Rk's Big Bear in Inaugural 01/07/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 7, 2011 8:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays morning after: 5 mistakes that led to loss to Blue Jays


    We've already documented elsewhere what the Rays didn't do, how they failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity to win Wednesday's game, getting just one run after loading the bases in the seventh with one out and three of …

    Jake Faria make too many mistakes, the failure to execute costing him repeatedly.
  2. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 51/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  4. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) takes a moment on the mound in the second inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, August 6, 2017.
  5. Tim Tebow's slump continues, as does fan support


    CLEARWATER — On July 29, playing against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Tim Tebow smacked a mammoth three-run homer, helping the St. Lucie Mets cruise to a 10-3 victory at Charlotte Sports Park.

    St. Lucie’s Tim Tebow, shown Monday at Spectrum Field, struggled at the plate Wednesday against the Threshers.