ST. PETERSBURG — As Derby Lane closes the curtain on its 87th season of greyhound racing tonight, Tiger Boy will bid a fond farewell in the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby.
The 2011 All-America team captain and winner of the Rural Rube award (nation's top sprinter) will be sent to owner Vince Berland's Flying Eagles kennel and farm in Wichita, Kan., for breeding. After that, he will go to Southland Park in West Memphis, Ark, to end his racing career.
But Tiger Boy shares top billing on Fan Appreciation Night.
A win by Tiger Boy or kennelmate Flying Delaet in the 86-year-old Derby, the oval's second-oldest race, would give kennel owners Malcolm and Barbara McAllister a career sweep of Derby Lane's stakes program.
"It would be very prestigious and the final accomplishment of an illustrious career," Malcolm McAllister, 65, said.
Tiger Boy has been at St. Petersburg since January. He captured the meet's first stakes, the $8,000 Inaugural, and shares the wins lead with Jim Mercedes (Patriot kennel) with 16. Tiger Boy drew Box 7 in Race 10 (10:11 p.m.). Flying Delaet is in Box 3.
Other starters from the rail: Magic Bagels (Abernathy), Art Almost (Patriot), Angus Mcloud (Nova), Budz Crosby (Alderson), Flyin Commandant (Red Oak) and Kentucky Blue (Cal Holland). First place pays $13,000.
The $10,000 Consolation Derby is Race 8 (9:33).
Starters in post position order: Jewelz Fire (Hambleton), Art Allen (Patriot), Kitt Peak (D'Arcy), Invalid Entry (Alabama), Tmc's Tail Light (J.E. O'Donnell Jr.), Starz Brave One (Alderson), Terrific Timing (Lester Raines) and Getso's Cindy (Nova). First place is worth $4,400.
Both races are 660 yards.
McAllister has been a Derby Lane dynamo since arriving in 2005 from Gulf Greyhound in La Marque, Texas. The four-time kennel champion captured its first stakes in 2007 and has won 22 of the past 68, earning $868,200 in first-place prize money. No other kennel has more than nine stakes victories during that time.
The Derby Lane stakes program has 10 featured races plus the Consolation Derby.
"(Winning every stakes) would set the bar even higher for those to follow," Malcolm McAllister said.
Patriot has wrapped up the six-month kennel championship under first-year manager-trainer Cal Holland. It is the second title for Patriot and owner Vinny Savill of Whitman, Mass.
For the first time in several years, no kennel will leave Derby Lane at the season's conclusion. Track spokeswoman Vera Rasnake said Marsella Racing will join the roster Monday for the six-month Tampa meet at Derby Lane. The operation is owned by Phil Marsella, who also has a booking at West Palm Beach. It will be Derby Lane's 16th kennel.
Of the nine kennels to win the Derby since 2000, only three remain: Capabal, D'Arcy and J.E. O'Donnell Jr.