Monday, June 27, 2011

NGA News - Storm Rush, Magic Finch win Derby stakes

NGA News -  Derby Lane Vice President Richard Winning made the trophy presentation to Royal Racing Team’s Trainers for Storm Rush (Kiowa Mon Manny x Sizzler Drive) who jockeyed for position to finally wear her rival down for the win in the 85th annual St. Petersburg Derby Saturday June 25. Storm Cloud and Abernathy kennel’s Magic Finch (Lonesome Cry x Bird A Flyin) thrilled fans with wins in the St. Petersburg Derby and Consolation Derby races. Storm Rush’s battle with two-time stakes champion USS Gazillionair who was also the Distance Classic runner-up this year has been the most watched replay from Derby Lane’s website since the race was finalized Saturday night June 25. The 10th race stakes was a two-dog battle from the start with Gazillionair "man handling" the female who rallied for a crafty comeback in the homestretch. Storm Rush powered her way to the front but the 75-pound Gazillionair pushed her to the inside and out of his way. Gazillionair took the lead in the backstretch with Storm Rush putting forth a valiant effort that saw the female storm her way to the outside of Gazillionair and pull away in a four-length victory. Storm Rush gives the kennel their first stakes win. James Hambleton of KS owns Storm Rush and is also the new owner of the Royal Racing kennel that will be changing the name of the kennel July 1. "I really like this female," said trainer Doug Flint, "Her win was not a surprise to me, as I truly felt she was the best distance greyhound in the final." Flint is looking forward to watching the 21-month old female develop. Flying Marvelous was the betting favorite that was cutoff in both turns. Storm Rush paid $11.40 for her win. USS Gazillionair has competed at both distances this year. He was the Fall Juvenile champion in November 2010. This year the male won the Rotary Governor’s race and has now been the runner-up in both major 660-yard stakes this year. OK Barry (Capabal), Magic Smoke (Abernathy), Flying Masago (McAllister), Dancin Rainman (Nova) and Flying Marvelous (McAllister) finished third through eighth, respectively.

Before the tenth race Derby Charter kennel’s Strike Out King was the betting favorite in the Consolation stakes that was held in race eight. When the greyhound’s fired out of the box it was Cal Holland’s speedster Kentucky Fire that shot out on top. She led all the way to the homestretch before Magic Finch, who won the $85,000 Distance Classic in April, overtook Fire near the wire for the title. Finch paid $7.80 to win. "I just schooled her before she ran in the qualifier," said kennel owner Jim Abernathy. "I wasn’t sure if she was totally ready for the stakes, but she did just fine." Finch was pulled a few starts after the April stakes and was laid off for nearly two months. Her second place in the opening rounds earned Finch a slot in the semifinals, but her seventh place finish placed her in the Consolation stakes. Terry and Lisa Haber who own Finch made the trip again for their star female who has littermates racing and doing well at Tri State in WV. Strike Out King (Charter) was the bet favorite from the rail post who finished third followed by Alderson kennel’s Starz Brave One to complete the Superfecta that paid $660.10. Fifth through eighth was Kiowa JSK Gustaf (Patriot), Chugalugger (Magic City-Mighty Fine), Strike It Up (Charter) and Hi Noon Maestro (Nova).
By Vera Rasnake

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