"He (Coal City) looks great," said Malcolm. "He enjoyed being present at the April 21 Hall of Fame ceremony and was happy to return to the kennel." Along with his AGTOA and NGA plaques Derby Lane sent the champion a special blanket depicting his awards. Coal City did appear to enjoy parading the blanket on stage with the Berland family that own Coal City and St. Pete kennel operator Malcolm McAllister. Presenting the award was AGTOA President and Banquet Honoree Tim Leuschner.
McAllister is hopeful that Coal City will be ready to defend his title in the T. L. Weaver Memorial stakes in June. "I will have a little over a month to get him ready for the 550-yard stakes," said Malcolm. "Depending on how he handles his return Coal could also be in the St. Petersburg Derby afterwards."
Flying Coal City kicked off the New Year in the same fashion he ended last year-with a stakes win. He won the first stakes of the year crossing first in the 86th annual Inaugural. Afterward the champs luck changed. A draw by lot eliminated him from defending his title in the Sprint Classic in March and afterward he suffered a minor injury that took him completely out of this year's Distance Classic in April.
Flying Coal City (Kiowa Sweet Trey x Flying Crestline) has an incredible following both nationally and internationally. The 76-pounder is always the selected favorite among the Saturday night Fantasy Greyhound League made up of fans around the globe. The fantasy league founders, both living in MO, Shelley Ann Bunch-Lake and Frank Hansel were present at the Hall of Fame to see the league favorite receive his awards. Brian Wamboldt from Canada and Christopher Pascal from Indiana who also play in the weekly game from Derby Lane made a first time trip to the Greyhound Hall of Fame. "I had a great time in Kansas," said Pascal. "I'll definitely return."
A second Derby Lane champion was among the All-American's honored. TMC's Remedy was also presented a blanket from the track along with his plaque from the AGTOA. "It's an honor and I thank all of you that voted for him," said owner Eddie McDonald who made the trip from TX with his wife Rhonda to accept the award. Six other greyhounds received awards for their slots on the 2010 All-America Team.
HOF President Tom Taplin was full of good news during the evening. He announced that the Tuesday night auction produced approximately $23,000. "I keep going back to the same well and can't thank everyone enough for the continued support," said Taplin to the crowd. He also announced that through donations that the HOF has built a new kitchen and that the facility was available for events such as weddings and banquets. He also encouraged everyone to become members of the Greyhound Hall of Fame Club.
By Vera Rasnake