ST. PETERSBURG — Ed N Edmundo is linked to a $20 deal. Mrl No Access used to be a challenge to deal with.
Both greyhounds have been the real deal so far in the $50,000 Fall Sprint Stakes at Derby Lane. Ed N Edmundo (Hambleton Racing kennel) and Mrl No Access (Lester Raines) are the lone undefeated qualifiers through two rounds of the 550-yard series. And with 32 points apiece, they are practically assured of berths in the Sept. 29 championship race. Tonight, they start side-by-side in Race 6 (8:55 race time), the first of two qualifiers. The other one is Race 10 (10:11). Qualifying concludes Wednesday.
Ed N Edmundo (box 4) has performed brilliantly in his first stakes event. He has clocked his two fastest career times, highlighted by a 30.63-second effort Wednesday. Mrl No Access (post 3) has led at every call in her two races. This is Mrl No Access' fourth stakes appearance this year, with her best finish a second to Flying Lone Wolf in the $8,000 T.L. Weaver Memorial Challenge on June 9.
A stakes win by Ed N Edmundo not only would be the first at Derby Lane for kennel owners James and Helen Hambleton of Solomon, Kan., but add to the dog's lore. Kennel manager-trainer Doug Flint said the Hambletons paid only $20 for the frozen semen from Betty N Ed to produce Ed N Edmundo. The Hambletons, who are expected to attend tonight's races, own his dam, Myokie Barb.
"It's quite a story," Flint said. "(Ed N Edmundo) is one of six dogs from that litter and we've got all six here in the kennel. They can all run."
Ed N Edmundo, who turns 2 years old next month, has finished in the money with a top-four finish in his past 17 races. He has 17 lifetime victories from 50 starts.
"He's pretty aggressive (on the track)," Flint said. "He goes to the front, and he can come from behind."
Flint compares Ed N Edmundo with Extruding Dream, a dog Flint trained from 2005-07. Extruding Dream was an All-America member and winner of the Flashy Sir award (nation's top distance dog) in 2006. "(Ed N Edmundo) ranks right up there with (Extruding Dream)," Flint said.
Mrl No Access, a 26-month-old female from a litter by Kiowa Mon Manny and Mrl Latta, is all about early speed. Of her 21 career victories in 56 starts, the 59-pound sprinter has led at every call 16 times.
"I call her 'My Tiny Trouble,' " said Jeanne Lesperance, who manages Lester Raines with husband Ken. "When she was a puppy, she was always playing and getting herself in trouble. She's pretty much grown out of that, but she likes the name and just wags her tail."
Owned by Mrl Metals (Lee Harrington), Mrl No Access has a career-best time of 30.22 seconds, tied for second fastest at the previous meet behind Windy Boss (30.21).
"She's got box speed … that early rush and she's not short," Jeanne said.