Once inside Pauline O'Donnell kennel, it doesn't take long to spot the alpha dog.
"He is in the first crate near the door," kennel manager-trainer John Graham, 54, said. "He is the one who is spoiled and thinks he owns the place. He's a ham deluxe. The only thing equal to his talent is his personality."
Kiowa Jordan Doc has a lot of both. If Derby Lane produces a 2013 All-America greyhound, the 66-pound dual-distance performer appears to be the leading candidate after his nose victory in the $50,000 Fall Sprint Stakes on Oct. 5. The 33-month-old male out of a litter by Flying Penske and Kiowa Tiffany has won the past two 550-yard stakes races at the St. Petersburg track, including the $8,000 T.L. Weaver Memorial Challenge on June 8.
"He beat seven of the best dogs in June, and he beat seven of the best dogs (Oct. 5)," Graham said. "I don't know what else you have to do (to be an All-America dog). I would say absolutely he is one of the best eight dogs in the country."
Owned by kennel owners Barney and Pauline O'Donnell of Hialeah and Hall of Fame member Kay Smith of Frederick, Okla., Kiowa Jordan Doc has been a stakes race dynamo. Since 2012, he has reached the final in six of eight stakes races. Graham said he is better suited for 660 yards.
"His weakness at five-sixteenths is he doesn't like dogs to the outside of him," Graham said. "He's like a running back that likes to run in space, but not so much in traffic. That's why we use him mostly in three-eighths races, because he's more comfortable with a lot of space that three-eighths provides."
Kiowa Jordan Doc overtook Jack's Cruze of Cal Holland kennel to capture the Fall Sprint in 30.43 seconds. The winner of 34 career races raised his purse earnings to $61,331. It was a historic victory for Graham, who said he had never won a major sprint stakes race at Derby Lane in 24 years.
"It means a lot to win two consecutive (550-yard) stakes races at Derby Lane," Graham said. "Most dogs that have done it have become All-Americans. It's not easy to do."
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MORE DOGS: Pj Fresno, who ran third in the Fall Sprint, will remain at Derby Lane and not go to Southland Park in West Memphis, Ark., as originally planned, kennel owner Jim Abernathy said. ... Derby Lane will have a Columbus Day matinee 15-race program Monday with no evening racing.
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HORSES: Tampa Bay Downs two-time leading trainer Kathleen O'Connell has two chances to get her first sweep in the Florida Stallion Stakes Series today on the Festival of the Sun program at Calder in Miami Gardens. She saddles Scandalous Act in the My Dear Girl for fillies (Race 7, 3:30 p.m.) and My Brown Eyed Guy in the Reality for males (Race 8, 4:01). Both $300,000 races are at 11/16th-miles. The 2-year-olds won the first two legs in the series this summer.