Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Trainer, 19, shows knack for job by reaching stakes final at Derby Lane

ST. PETERSBURG — In the future, Alex Hall will talk about his first stakes final. He was a teenager, less than four months on the job, and advanced two pups into the championship race.

The final chapter to that story will unfold tonight in the $20,000 Fall Juvenile Stakes at Derby Lane, where Hall starts Red Oak Racing kennel's Flying Observer and Flying Soriano in the 550-yard race (Race 8, 9:33 p.m.).

At 19, Hall is the youngest of Derby Lane's 16 kennel managers and trainers, a dual position he accepted July 13 from Red Oak manager Robert Lambert.

"I'm very blessed," Hall said. "I think a lot of people doubted me having a whole kennel to run by myself, but I showed up and rose to the occasion.

"I'm very pleased with the way this has turned out the last couple months."

The post draw wasn't kind to Hall: Flying Soriano starts from the No. 5 box and Flying Observer from No. 6.

But both dogs, owned by Vince Berland of Abilene, Kan., overcame tough times early in their careers and earned spots in their first finales. Flying Observer, who lost her first nine lifetime starts, won her first two Fall Juvenile qualifiers. Flying Soriano carried a 12-race losing streak into the event, but won two of his first three qualifying tests.

"Observer either gives it a really exploding effort to the get to the lead or she doesn't get out (of the box)," Hall said. "When she doesn't get out toward the lead, she gets banged around real hard because she's a 61-pound female. She's actually got a lot of bottom to her, which makes her such an explosive pup.

"Soriano's slump was my biggest concern going into the stakes. But he had almost double the starts (42) over a lot of other pups (entered). That's when you really have to take more experience. Plus, he's shown a lot of nice lines in Grade A."

Red Oak is the only kennel with multiple entries. Other starters from the rail: Switzler Hubble (Patriot kennel), Declan's Stone (D'Arcy), qualifying leader Lily Rose (Floyd & Porter), Kb's Epic Win (Cal Holland), Intentionally (Lester Raines) and Flying Dimarco (McAllister). First place pays $9,000.

Hall started with Red Oak as an assistant. His three-person staff cares for 62 dogs. Hall is the son of former Patriot manager-trainer Victor Hall, who led the operation to a Derby Lane win title in 2010. The elder Hall is no longer involved in the industry and lives in Connecticut.

"I really came into the dog business when I was 16 and took a helper's job with my dad," Alex said. "He taught me everything I know."

VETERANS DAY CARD: Derby Lane has a 15-race matinee performance Monday. There will be no live racing that night, but the track will remain open for poker and simulcast wagering.

HORSES: Tampa Bay Downs opened its barn area this week. The Oldsmar meet begins Dec. 1.

Trainer, 19, shows knack for job by reaching stakes final at Derby Lane 11/09/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 9, 2012 11:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Exposé 'Champions Way' uses FSU to illustrate bad behavior in college programs

    College

    While the entire college football universe was focused on a sexual assault allegation against quarterback Jameis Winston during Florida State's 2013 national title run, another off-field scandal was playing out quietly.

     Jameis Winston (5) warms up before the game between Florida State Seminoles and the University of Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013.
  2. Charlie Strong, Gulf High and the best (old) Jon Gruden-Tennessee rumor

    Blogs

    As Butch Jones keeps losing, Tennessee Vols fans are turning to one of the media's favorite pastimes.

  3. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  4. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  5. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.