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McAllister Kennels eyes consecutive Distance Classic championships at Derby Lane

ST. PETERSBURG — A McAllister Kennels greyhound achieves All-America status and delivers a win in the $100,000 Distance Classic.

Sound familiar?

One year after Flyin Bridgeport pulled it off, Flying Mancini can do likewise for kennel owners Malcolm and Barbara McAllister. The five-time stakes winner is a favorite in Derby Lane's richest race, which begins tonight.

Flying Mancini is one of three McAllister stakes winners in the 32-dog field, running for the first time since named to the 2008 All-America team on Monday for owner Vince Berland. The 29-month-old female out of a litter by Kiowa Sweet Trey and Gable Acadia is the third All-American for McAllister, joining 2007's Flying Stanley and Flyin Bridgeport.

"Awesome," Malcolm said. "She certainly deserved it."

Flying Mancini's national honor highlights an awesome month for the kennel, which has won two stakes and returned to first place in the Derby Lane win standings (398-390 over Filipelli & O'Donnell entering Friday). McAllister's other entries, Flyin Home Depot (Sprint Classic at Derby Lane) and Kiowa Knockout (Naples-Fort Myers Classic at Bonita Springs), won their first stakes in the past 22 days.

The 660-yard Distance Classic is the track's most grueling event, requiring greyhounds to run four qualifiers and a final within 15 days. The finale on April 11 is three nights after the fourth qualifier, something Malcolm would like to see changed. "A lot of tracks have a seven-day break (until the final)," he said. "That benefits every dog."

Qualifying is based on an accumulative points system involving order of finish. Tonight's qualifiers are Races 4, 6, 8 and 10. The field will be cut to 16 after Wednesday, with other qualifying rounds on April 4 and 8. The top eight dogs will run for a $32,000 first-place paycheck. "Some of the dogs are better sprinters than distance dogs," racing secretary Jerry Miller said. "You're certainly going to see them tire toward the end of the tournament."

Miller said other main challengers include: Tmc's Remedy and Tmc's Sultan of Filipelli & O'Donnell; Kelsos Egomaniac of Lester Raines; Backwood Cash and Backwood Nan of Campbell Greyhound; Kiowa Muting and Ww's Deathvalley of Wayne Ward; and Hi Noon Halo and Hi Noon Hypnotic of Nova.

thoroughbreds: Dunkirk, Quality Road and Theregoesjojo head a field of nine today in the Florida Derby (Race 10, 5:44 p.m.) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. Friday, Justwhistledixie, the heavy favorite, won her fifth in a row with a strong stretch run in the $200,000 Grade II Bonnie Miss Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream. She held off Casanova Moon by 1¾ lengths, and Hopeful Image, a 65-1 shot, was third in a field of eight. Justwhistledixie covered 11/8 miles in 1:49.25. … Maryland is going to court to defend its legal right to keep the Preakness Stakes. The state made filings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware in response to motions filed by Magna Entertainment Corp. this month. The troubled company asked a judge to preapprove a timeline and procedures for the bankruptcy.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

McAllister Kennels eyes consecutive Distance Classic championships at Derby Lane 03/27/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 27, 2009 7:06pm]
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