ST. PETERSBURG — Trent Lee was among the top sprinters who came to Derby Lane in 2006 for the Derby Lane Million.
The West Virginia invader left a lasting impression, despite not advancing to the final of the one-time richest race in the sport. Taking advantage of a lightning-fast surface, Trent Lee clocked the fastest time in the 84-year history of Derby Lane, 29.59 seconds at 550 yards in a Grade A race, 12th best in the industry.
Reward Trent, Trent Lee's 26-month-old son, can add to family lore. Tonight, he begins his quest toward a first stakes win as the $20,000 Fall Juvenile Stakes kicks off at Derby Lane. The Magic City Kennel speedster is one of 32 sprinters who must go through four qualifying rounds (based on points) to earn a spot in the 550-yard final on Nov. 15.
"Reward Trent has got plenty of speed, but things have to go his way," Magic City owner Randy Finegan said. "The question will be, 'Can he run back to back on three days' rest?' In the last stakes we had him in (Fall Sprint in September), he was not able to perform at that level."
Five of the 15 races on the card tonight are related to stakes.
Along with first-round Fall Juvenile qualifiers (Races 4, 6, 8 and 10), Derby Lane will participate in Night of Stars XXI, a national simulcast sponsored by the American Greyhound Track Operators Association to benefit greyhound adoption. Race 10 (10:12) on the NOS card takes place between Races 9 and 10 on the Derby Lane card. Eight dogs seek their first stakes win in NOS. The 550-yard field in post-position order: Backwood Hombre, Lamorge Aces Up, Kiowa Ak Kieffer, Silver Chestnut, Starz Ming, Flyin Home Depot, Lamorge Streaker and M's Sweet Ethan. A separate program is needed to wager on NOS, which can be seen on track monitors and at thenightofstars.com.
Reward Trent, the early line 5-2 favorite in Race 4 (8:18), has been a standout since the meet began on July 1, leading in wins with 15, 11 at Grade A. He had lost eight in a row and was not able to win above Grade C. "He's been a pleasant surprise," Finegan said. "We didn't have him rated to be the best dog at the track, but he certainly falls into the top five or 10 dogs on that circuit. He's got raw speed and is just now coming into his own."
Reward Trent has a career-best 30.46 seconds. His dam is Cb Debbie, also owned by Ward. "Reward Trent is probably more like (Trent Lee) than anybody realizes," Finegan said. "Trent Lee was a position runner who was extremely fast when the rail opened up. Reward Trent is a position runner, too, and he's a front-runner who needs the lead to show himself."
Trent Lee is now a stud dog in Kansas. In the other qualifiers, De's Spun (Race 6, 8:54), Dream Deliverer (Race 8, 9:32) and Greta's Shanghai (Race 10, 10:30) are early-line 5-2 choices. First place is worth $9,000.