1. Sports

Highlyclassified stands apart from Derby Lane crowd

Published Oct. 17, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — Don't be deceived by his persona on the racetrack.

Highlyclassified is one high maintenance greyhound off of it.

The fastest 660-yard athlete that Derby Lane patrons have seen in the past nine years, Highlyclassified isn't a crowd favorite in Farmer Racing kennel.

"Coolie (Highlyclassified's kennel name) has his own turnout, because he doesn't get along good with the other dogs," kennel owner John Farmer said. "He'll aggravate other dogs so that they'll bark, and then I'll let him back inside. He doesn't like being out with the group."

The 39-month-old male out of a litter by Kiowa Mon Manny and Cantrell is in rare company. Since Jr's Boy set the 90-year-old track's fastest 660 time with a clocking of 36.53 seconds on Feb. 15, 2006, Highlyclassified has come the closest to smashing that record — twice. He ran a 36.72 and a 36.73 at the previous meet for breeder and owner Monte Jacobs of Chaflin, Kan.

The three-time stakes finalist is attempting to become the fourth greyhound since 2005 to clock meet-best times in back-to-back meets. Tmc's Roxslide was the latest to do it at 660 in 2012-13, and Red Dirt Road had consecutive top 550 times in 2008-09. Flying Coal City, the 2010 Triple Crown winner, posted the best 660 times in three straight meets in 2009-10, and had the top 550 clocking each time in the two 2010 meets.

A recent 11-week layoff rejuvenated Highlyclassified, who was rested after his third-place finish in the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby on June 27.

After seven consecutive starts at 550, including a fifth-place finish in the $50,000 Fall Sprint on Oct. 3, the 76-pound dog returned to the 660 course four days later and clocked what was then a season-best time of 37.09 seconds. Highlyclassified lost his place atop that list on Wednesday when Night Goddess of D'Arcy kennel clocked a 36.89.

Highlyclassified has 20 victories from 107 overall starts, and cashed 79.4 percent of the time with top-four finishes. His career start was iffy. He needed eight schooling races before making his lifetime debut, and didn't break his maiden until start No. 10.

"He was a head case," Farmer said.

"He was not real focused in on chasing the lure, and he refused to go around (the track) in the mornings a couple times. He was just real green and shy. He was plenty fast, but didn't know how to run."

Highlyclassified's career blossomed after moving from 550 to 660 in his 33rd start. Fifteen victories (from 68 races) have come at the longer distance.

"He never really put 100 percent effort in his 5/16ths races," Farmer said. "He was just jogging with the pack, but still hitting the (tote) board. I thought with his stride, he's definitely a distance dog. It looks like he's running in slow motion, but he's really moving. He just looked like a distance dog from the get-go."


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