Make us your home page

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

  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up


    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)