ST. PETERSBURG - Festive Event has never been better.
The white brindle male by Greys Statesman and Oneco Malee has won nine of his first 10 starts this season at Derby Lane, captured the 2004 Inaugural Championship and posted the track's second-fastest five-sixteenths-mile time.
Festive Event leads all dogs in victories and has propelled Bahama Mama Greyhounds into first in the kennel standings.
"We appreciate the wins he has," Bahama Mama kennel owner Francesca Field said. "He may be taking to the track better than before or he could be maturing. The one sure thing is that he always runs with a lot of heart."
Festive Event's career-high winning streak reached six Wednesday when he defeated Wkl Buck Rogers by four lengths in a Grade A race. Counting his final two starts at Tampa Greyhound Track, Festive Event has won 11 of his past 12 races. The 75-pound dog has 33 career wins, 15 seconds and seven thirds in 71 starts. And Festive Event has the ability to set the pace or come from behind for trainer Debbie Schleibaum. This season Festive Event was sidelined two months by a sore toe on his right rear paw. Since his return April 26, the Green Turtle Cay Greyhounds-owned dog has won 20 of 40 races, all on the five-sixteenths-mile oval.
"We haven't put him on the back side (three-eighths) yet," Field said. "If he continues to have this much success, we plan to stretch him out with the Distance Classic (March 19)."
Festive Event's sire and dam produced one of the area's best greyhounds, Talentedmrripley.
GPA ANNUAL PICNIC: The annual Greyhound Pets of America Tampa Bay picnic is Sunday at Safety Harbor. The event is at Philippe Park, 2525 Philippe Parkway (Shelter No. 2) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The GPA is the largest greyhound adoption agency in the United States. The picnic is free, and all greyhounds are welcome. For information call (727) 595-7852. THANKSGIVING SCHEDULE: Derby Lane will have matinee racing on Thanksgiving. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. with post time at 11:30 a.m. There is no night racing or simulcasting that day. The regular schedule returns Friday.