ST. PETERSBURG — Henry Parker takes the good with the bad.
He had both with Joey Ice.
Parker, a Derby Lane kennel owner, recently retired his 2014 All-America team captain and Rural Rube winner as the nation's top sprinter, whose 105-race career was cut short by injuries.
"Joey Ice was exciting (with) his big rush," Parker, 59, said. "Everybody loved him. People watched him all over the country, all over the world."
The 42-month-old son of Kiowa Sweet Trey and Queen Rania didn't just win races, he dominated them. Twenty-six of his 57 victories were by at least 5 lengths. Joey Ice captured Derby Lane's two richest 550-yard stakes in 2014 (the $64,000 Sprint Classic and the $50,000 Fall Sprint), won one top dog title, and had win streaks of 12 and nine. He earned $80,974 in purses.
Joey Ice, whose final race was on June 6, is standing at stud on the farm of his owner, Joey Lingle of Blair, Okla.
The white and brindle colored dog suffered a hairline fracture to his left rear hock on Oct. 13, five days after clocking a career best time of 30.05 seconds. Dr. Jerry Gregory of Tampa performed surgery, and Joey Ice returned to action on March 18. He won his next two races but would make only five more starts for trainer Belinda Parker. A bowed tendon ended his career.
"He was unbelievable (after the layoff)," Henry Parker said. "I was running him and (2014 Fall Juvenile winner) Joey Rightywhity together in the morning. Joey Ice was beating him like crazy.
"That's the killer thing. Nobody got to see how good I really got (Joey Ice) back. I had him really, really running good. I've had great luck as far as getting dogs back off injuries."
Parker revitalized the career of 2010 All-America second-team sprinter Aerial Battle. The stakes-winning dog twice missed extended racing time with injuries, but finished with 70 victories.
Joey Ice's talent showed early. He was entered in the 2013 Fall Sprint with only 10 lifetime starts and advanced to the final (he finished seventh). Joey Ice won that event's first-round qualifier, but lost 22 of his next 25 races. His career then took off with a nine-race win streak.
"He got knocked around, then stalled a bit," Parker said. "Once he got back on track. … wow!"
Joey Ice's 79.5 win percentage at the January to June 2014 meet is the second best by a top dog since Cayman Went (83.7 in 2003-04). He held a 9-6 head-to-head advantage over two-time defending win leader Husker Magic of Abernathy kennel, beating the female foe in his two stakes-winning finals. Joey Ice, Parker's only All-America first-team greyhound, helped Capabal to its lone kennel championship.
"Joey Ice was the kind of dog you had to be patient with," Parker said. "But in the end, he figured it out, and he honestly knew he was like a celebrity. I miss him a lot."