ST. PETERSBURG — Kennel owner Malcolm McAllister used to count on one hand the number of his greyhounds to pull off a perfect graded ladder climb.
Flying Killerbee changed that.
A promising pup from McAllister kennel, Flying Killerbee started his career with five consecutive victories — capped by a Grade A victory July 29 that completed an undefeated march through Derby Lane's graded system.
For McAllister, 64, it was the sixth time in more than 30 years that one of his dogs has accomplished the feat.
"To go to Grade A like that at Derby Lane, Wheeling (Island in West Virginia) or Southland (Park in West Memphis, Ark.) — some of the toughest tracks — is pretty rare," McAllister said.
"I've got faster dogs than Killerbee, but he is so predictable. He hits the lid, he can come out of any hole, he's front speed and he's not that short."
Flying Killerbee, a male out of a litter by Flying Hydrogen and Kay Oh Honey, won five times in 17 days. In each race (maiden and Grades D, C, B and A), he led at every call. He completed the graded ladder climb July 29 with a 5½-length victory over Bob's Loose in a career-best time of 30.89 seconds at 550 yards.
Barbara McAllister, Malcolm's wife, trains the 74-pound dog for owner Vince Berland of Abilene, Kan. Flying Killerbee's unbeaten streak ended Wednesday with a sixth-place finish behind M's Krazy Guy.
Defeating increasingly better competition in a short time span is rare for greyhounds.
"I don't know when the last time was we had a dog do it," Derby Lane spokeswoman Vera Rasnake said.
Dreamy Blossom, a sprinter for Derby Lane kennel owner Mick D'Arcy, holds the industry's record for most victories to start a career at one oval. She won 13 in a row in 2006 at Tampa Greyhound Track. The following year, Dreamy Blossom captured the $120,000 Palm Beach Grand Classic and was an All-America selection. Uss Raceway of Lester Raines kennel won his first eight starts in 2004 at Derby Lane.
Flying Killerbee was 16 months old when he won the five races by a combined 24 lengths. His average time was 31.00 seconds. Dreamy Blossom was 21 months old at the completion of her graded climb. Her average clocking was 30.83 with victories totaling 29 lengths. Uss Raceway was 20 months old, winning by a combined 30 lengths in an average time of 31.07.
Flying Hydrogen is one of the fastest greyhounds raced by Berland, who will be inducted into the Greyhound Hall of Fame on Oct. 13 in Abilene. In a 2007 interview, he compared Flying Hydrogen with 2007 Derby Lane Million winner Flying Stanley, another Berland dog who holds the sport's all-time earnings record at $559,478.
"The only dog we've ever had that could run with Stanley is Flying Hydrogen," Berland said. "But he didn't have the rush to the turn that Stanley had."