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Top two square off in Sprint Classic

Kiowa Sweet Trey and Talentedmrripley lead a field of 8 at Derby Lane.

By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 9, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG -- Qualifying races narrowed the number of greyhounds competing in Derby Lane's $85,000 Sprint Classic from 32 to eight.

The competition, though, has been reduced to two.

Kiowa Sweet Trey and Talentedmrripley are the top dogs for tonight's race (No. 10).

The greyhounds won a combined four qualifying races and are the points leaders.

Running out of the newly formed E&M Kennel, Kiowa Sweet Trey is unbeaten and won the previous two stake races this season: the St. Petersburg Inaugural and the All-Star Kennel Preview.

He is a slight favorite over Talentedmrripley after sweeping his three qualifying races and earning the most points (64).

The red brindle male, who won 16-of-18 at the Wheeling Downs track in West Virginia last season, drew the No. 3 box.

In Wednesday's semifinal, Kiowa Sweet Trey ran out of the No. 4 box, the same box he ran out of to win the All-Star Kennel Preview. The semifinal included Talentedmrripley and marked the first meeting between the greyhounds.

Talentedmrripley ran out of the No. 3 box, but drew the more favorable No. 8 box for tonight's race.

Racing at Tampa Greyhound last season, Talentedmrripley was the Speed Classic winner, set a track record in a 5/16th-mile race and was the season's win leader. But he was injured trying to stretch out from 5/16ths to 3/8ths of a mile races.

Since the injury in November, Talentedmrripley recovered nicely. During his first official schooling race in January, he ran 30.91 to became the first greyhound to run 5/16 in less than 31 seconds this season at Derby Lane.

Talentedmrripley has won six of eight official races and is second in points (46) for the Classic.

He also is in contention for the national Rural Rube award given to the top sprinter in America by the greyhound industry.

Other greyhounds competing include Dodgem by Design (No. 1 box), Fuzzys Geronimo (No. 6), Kiowa Bill Blank (No. 7) and Courageous Nicky (No. 7).

Dodgem by Design and Kiowa Bill Blank are half-brothers, and Fuzzys Geronimo belongs to the Greymeadow Kennel, which won three straight Sprint Classics (1998-2000).

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