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Barts Mr Peabody finds his stride at Derby Lane

Published Oct. 21, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG — When Rick Bartley fell asleep on Saturday night, he was prepared for a potential interruption.

It didn't take long for his tranquility to be broken by a ringing phone.

"Did I win? I was hoping you'd call with some good news," Bartley told a member of the media.

The report couldn't have been any better.

Bartley, 64, a greyhound breeder from Abilene, Kan., collected his first stakes title at Derby Lane when his Bartley Corporation kennel homebred, Barts Mr Peabody, rallied to capture the 78th running of the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile.

Barts Mr Peabody, who struck out at his first track with 12 consecutive losses, hit a home run at his new home with a career-best performance. His clocking of 30.65 seconds over the 550-yard course was the fastest he'd ever run, good for a 2-length victory over pace-setter Roann Danseuse of Capabal kennel. Barts Mr Peabody paid $9.40 to win as the second wagering favorite, and earned $9,000 with his ninth victory from 34 lifetime starts for owner Rhonda Bartley, Rick's wife.

The win capped a comeback in the Gold Trophy for Barts Mr Peabody, who overcame a seventh-place finish in the first of four qualifying rounds. He won his next two races to remain in contention.

Barts Mr Peabody broke alertly from box 7 and entered the backstretch in third place. He moved into second by the final turn, and sped past Roann Danseuse 20 yards from the finish line.

It was the first Derby Lane stakes crown for Bartley Corporation trainer Ken Brotherton, who is at St. Petersburg for the first time. The 63-year-old native of Oklahoma City has been involved with greyhounds for 45 years, and previously ran at Tampa, Orlando and Sarasota.

Brotherton and Bartley joined the Derby Lane roster 15 months ago after Council Bluffs Race Track in Iowa ended greyhound racing in December 2015.

Barts Mr Peabody, a 2-year-old male from a litter by Pat C Clement and Barts Autumn Sky, went winless at Southland Park in West Memphis, Ark. The dog had issues with the track's turns, so he was moved in July to Derby Lane.

Brotherton said Derby Lane's oval is better suited for Barts Mr Peabody.

"He had a little trouble with the (Southland Park) turns, and (at Derby Lane) he can get away with it because the turns are sharper," Brotherton said. "He's always had plenty of speed, and his brother (Barts Pocket Aces) is a (Grade) AA at Southland."

Brotherton believes Barts Mr Peabody can be effective at 660 yards as well.

"He's probably old enough, and he's got plenty of starts," Brotherton said. "It's just a matter if running so wide in the turns hurts him too much . … That would be the only thing."

MORE DOGS: The inaugural $10,000 Howl-O-Ween Stakes features qualifying on the Wednesday matinee in Races 6 and 10. The 550-yard finale is Oct. 31.

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