ST. PETERSBURG — Girl power is alive and well at Derby Lane.
Poweroftraction proved it in the $20,000 Remembrance Stakes on Monday, winning the inaugural event for young greyhounds in her first stakes appearance.
"Once in a while, it works like that," Nova kennel owner Hans Limmer said. "She's a good female."
The only female to advance to the eight-dog championship race, Poweroftraction, the fifth wagering choice at 10-1, surprised many patrons with a box-to-wire win by three-quarters of a length over 21-1 shot David Lopez — one of three starters for Capabal kennel.
Her time of 30.53 seconds tied for the fastest among 120 greyhounds that ran that distance on the Memorial Day 15-race program.
"She broke on top, and was gone," trainer Miguel Valenzuela, 63, said.
Owned by Dr. Rodger Barr and wife Donna Barr of Minneapolis, Poweroftraction overcame a shoulder injury and a three-month layoff earlier this year. She returned in April, losing her first two starts before winning her ensuing three races. In the Remembrance, she started the four-round qualifying series with three consecutive second-place finishes, and got into the finale by only two points.
"She's very strong on the backstretch, and when she breaks, she's got to have a clean run," Limmer said. "(On Monday), she had an ideal hole (7)."
Rt's Bo Jangles (Cal Holland kennel), the even-money choice, finished third. But it was 2-1 second favorite John Valazquez, the Capabal dog in box-1, who failed to make a serious challenge that Limmer appeared most concerned with.
"If (John Valazquez) didn't have the 1-hole, it would have been a different race if he gets in front," Limmer said. "He didn't like the inside. … Nobody likes the 1-hole."
Poweroftraction caught Limmer's eye when she started her career last August at Derby Lane, winning her first two schooling races — one by 14 lengths. The 29-month-old female from a litter by Djays Octane and Kiowa Ww Reyna broke her maiden in September by 11 lengths in her third official start. The Remembrance title was her 13th lifetime victory from 35 starts. She earned her biggest paycheck of $9,000.
Limmer, whose operation is challenging for a second consecutive kennel championship, also had good news for Poweroftraction's fans.
"She's going to stay in St. Petersburg the rest of her (racing) life," Limmer said.
Jeff Sessions (Farmer Racing) finished fourth, followed by Brian Ernst (Capabal), Fiesta Ironman (Burk Greyhounds), John Valazquez and Ozark Mike (Burk Greyhounds).
HORSES: Two Tampa Bay Downs riding champions hit milestones recently. Ronnie Allen Jr. got his 3,500th career win on Pursuit of Lute on May 21 at Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa., and Daniel Centeno reached 2,500 lifetime victories aboard Two Weeks Off on May 27 at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa.