ST. PETERSBURG — The farther Ahk Colormegone runs, the farther she separates herself from the other greyhounds.
The Abernathy kennel dog has been on top of her game in the $75,000 660-Yard Challenge at Derby Lane. Two wins in qualifying so far, one by 7 lengths and the other by 10.
Ahk Colormegone and Flying Marvelous of McAllister are the only undefeated entries left as third-round action takes place tonight in the track's final stakes of the year.
"We've put a lot of work into (Ahk Colormegone) and it's paid off," trainer Kayruth Abernathy said. "She was good at 550 yards. When we saw her coming from behind, Jimmy (Kayruth's husband and kennel owner) decided to change her distance."
Ahk Colormegone (Race 10, 10:11 p.m.) wasn't expected to be Abernathy's top stakes entry. That role belonged to Magic Finch, winner of the $80,000 Distance Classic and $10,000 St. Petersburg Consolation Derby this year. But Magic Finch (Race 6, 8:55) is tied for 12th in points (13), and Ahk Colormegone is virtually assured a berth in the Dec. 17 finale with 32 points. The championship race is limited to eight greyhounds.
A 23-month-old female owned by Janelle Jackson of Rockdale, Texas, Ahk Colormegone began her career with 34 of her first 35 starts at 550 yards. She finished fifth to Craigie I Am Jak in the $50,000 Fall Sprint on Oct. 1, and entered the 660-Yard Challenge without a victory in five distance races.
In her two qualifying wins, the speedster led at every call. She prefers to race in the middle of the track, often giving ground to dogs that race along the rail.
Ahk Colormegone's parents, Fuzzys Cannon and Fuzzys Cessna, were Derby Lane sprinters that combined for only two of 159 starts at 660 yards. Fuzzys Cannon, a 2004 All-America second-team selection, won 70 lifetime races, including the 2005 Matinee Idol.
"I think we've got two good chances (to win with Ahk Colormegone and Magic Finch)," Abernathy said. "We're working hard with them every day."
McAllister has dominated the 660-Yard Challenge, winning the event three times in its first four years. Flying Marvelous also drew into Race 10 for trainer Barbara McAllister.
MORE DOGS: Cal Holland Jr. is the new kennel manager/trainer for Patriot. Kennel co-owner Randy Floyd is now the trainer for Floyd & Porter.
HORSES: Tampa Bay Downs celebrates Cotillion Festival Day, a 10-race card for 2-year-olds. Two $75,000 stakes are co-featured. In the Inaugural (Race 6, 2:46 p.m.), Luke of York is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Live Every Day is the 3-1 early choice in the Sandpiper (Race 9, 4:10). … The American Graded Stakes Committee announced recently the Downs will retain its five graded stakes for 2012: the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby, and Grade IIIs Endeavour, Hillsborough, Sam F. Davis and Tampa Bay Stakes.