ST. PETERSBURG — Before Derby Lane kennel owner Malcolm McAllister submitted his entry last week for the $8,000 T.L. Weaver Memorial Challenge, two greyhounds were under consideration: Tiger Boy, the 2011 All-America team captain and winner of the Rural Rube award (top sprinter), and young star Flying Lone Wolf.
McAllister chose the latter. And for Flying Lone Wolf, no rain meant plenty of gain.
The 22-month-old male owned by Vince Berland entered the All-America team conversation for next year with his second stakes victory in 21 days. His win in the T.L. Weaver on June 9 came on the heels of a victory in the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile.
It was only the fifth time in the past seven years that a greyhound had won back-to-back stakes within three weeks. The previous four — Flying Coal City (2010-11), Flying Mancini (2008-09), Flying Stanley (2008) and Extruding Dream (2006) — were All-America selections.
"It was my call," said McAllister, 65, who conferred with Berland and son Lance on which dog to start. "Tiger Boy had nothing to prove. I'm trying to make (Flying Lone Wolf) an All-American."
T.L. Weaver week was a rainy one, but McAllister hoped the weather would cooperate for Flying Lone Wolf, who prefers a dry surface.
"I told Lance that if it rains, Tiger Boy can win and Wolf would get beat," McAllister said. "But if it didn't rain, they wouldn't catch Wolf, and Tiger Boy might not get there (first). The Berlands promised me if I won the Weaver (with Flying Lone Wolf), he could stay here instead of going to Wheeling (Island in West Virginia)."
Flying Lone Wolf rushed to an early lead and held off Mrl No Access of Lester Raines kennel, clocking 550 yards in 30.63 seconds.
"If he wins the Fall Sprint (in October), he will be All-American," McAllister said.
Said trainer Barbara McAllister, Malcolm's wife: "Wolf has always had that great box break. But he's getting stronger as he gets older."
Entering Friday, Flying Lone Wolf, out of a litter by Lonesome Cry and Flying Argyle, had won 12 of 26 career starts. In every victory, he led at every call.
"He gives 110 percent and doesn't give it up until just before the wire," Malcolm said.
HOLLAND SERVICE: Brenda Holland, 64, wife of Tampa Bay Greyhound Association president and Derby Lane kennel owner Cal Holland, died Tuesday in St. Petersburg. A Celebration of Life will be from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday with a prayer service at 5 at Brett Funeral Home, 4810 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Ms. Holland, a St. Petersburg resident and native of Westbrook, Maine, died of undisclosed causes. Cal Holland Jr., one of three children, is the manager-trainer for Patriot kennel. Justin Holland, one of seven grandchildren, is the trainer for Cal Holland kennel.