ST. PETERSBURG — So far, Se's Home Owner is ahead in qualifying in the $80,000 Distance Classic at Derby Lane. Tonight we'll see if he can keep his head in the third round of the track's richest stakes race.
Se's Home Owner, the only greyhound to win its first two qualifiers, would appear to be a lock for the April 6 finale with 32 points — six in front of Art Almost (Patriot kennel) and Kiowa Jordan Doc (Pauline O'Donnell).
But Red Oak Racing kennel manager-trainer Alex Hall is keeping his fingers crossed with his budding star. Qualifiers are Races 6 (8:55 p.m.) and 10 (10:11).
Se's Home Owner flirted with becoming banned from Derby Lane stakes races March 6, when he was involved in an on-track incident while finishing second in a 660-yard race. The racing line comment by chart writer Timothy Barr reads that Se's Home Owner "bore in in the stretch." Had he been given a ticket for fighting or interference by track judge Luis Perez, Se's Home Owner would have been ineligible for stakes races at St. Petersburg.
Such a ticket is issued when a greyhound turns his head during a race and makes contact with another dog. When that happens, the dog is taken off the active list and must school to the satisfaction of the judges before returning. A second ticket leads to the greyhound's departure from Derby Lane.
"I hope he does keep his head focused," Hall, 20, said.
Se's Home Owner, who has 11 wins from 38 starts, didn't have a victory at 660 yards until the Distance Classic. In five previous starts at that distance, he had two seconds and three thirds. He began his career at 550, where he has won nine of 31 races. He placed fourth in both the $64,000 Sprint Classic on March 2 and the $8,000 Inaugural on Jan. 5.
Steven Ward, who bred and whelped Se's Home Owner in Kansas, sent him to Derby Lane after discarding plans to put him in the National Greyhound Association sale. The 20-month-old male out of a litter by Kiowa Ww Brother and Se's Fancy Pants won his first career race Oct. 16 and was immediately sold to Richard Armington Jr. at an undisclosed price.
"He may be one of the fastest dogs in the country," Hall said.
Horses: Three races that offer 170 points apiece are today in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series: the Grade I $1 million Florida Derby (Race 12, 6:19 p.m.) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, the Grade II $1 million Louisiana Derby (Race 9, 6:44 p.m.) at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, and the Grade II $2 million UAE Derby (Race 3, 10:25 a.m.) at Meydan in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.