Greys Calibrator has set the standard in the Derby Lane Million. Now the D'Arcy Kennel greyhound is one victory away from history.
The 32-month-old red brindle female continued her dominance Saturday night in the semifinals of the tournament-style event at Derby Lane. Before a season-high crowd of 4,540, Greys Calibrator rallied in the final yards for a victory, her fourth in five qualifiers, by a neck.
She was the star in qualifying rounds. Owned by Kansas residents Jack and Mary Butler, Greys Calibrator was the only greyhound to win four races; set a track record at 550 yards (29.80 seconds) and topped the point standings with 72. She also is the only female to reach the eight-dog final.
Post position draws for the Derby Lane Million and Derby Lane Consolation, both next Saturday, will be held on Derby Lane's tarmac at noon.
Greys Calibrator recorded the fastest semifinal time of 30.1 seconds. She paid $4.60, $3.60 and $2.80.
Sas Mason Jar of Thorne/Herron was the other semifinal winner, holding off Ebony River to win by a head in 30.16 seconds. He was second highest in points with 58, joining kennelmate Kiowa Cruzechamp (50) in the championship field, making Thorne/Herron the only kennel with two finalists. Sas Mason Jar has won his past three qualifiers. He paid $7.60, $3.40 and $3.20.
"Mason Jar was a last-minute entry," kennel manager Rod Monroe said. "It's great to have two in the finals for so much money at stake."
The winner of the championship race receives $500,000.
Other Derby Lane Million finalists, with qualifying points: Floyd & Porter's Joe Hearns (56), Magic City's Ebony River (52), Brumage/Filipelli's Cajun Cain (51), LaRosa Enterprises' Bob's Skeet (46) and C & C Kennel's Jack Whistler (45).
The Consolation field will consist of C & C's Oh Well Whocares, Floyd & Porter's Em's Darla, Magic City's Extruding Dream and Your Lucky Charm, McAllister Kennel's Flying Nitrogen, Ryan Farms' Mayor Daley, Lester Raines' Greys Huntington and Thorne/Herron's Kiowa Cruze Thru.
The payouts in the Derby Lane Million range from $20,000 to $500,000. In the Consolation, the purse structure goes from $4,000 to $16,000.
Ebony River came close to matching Greys Calibrator's four wins. Despite winning only once, he finished second three times, losing all three by less than a length.
"He's not a real good breaker, but he's a good finisher," Magic City trainer Doug Flint said. "If he draws an inside box, he'll be real tough. With some luck, he could have finished with a lot more points."