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Smoking 'Gun' nabs win No. 50

Extruding Dream, known around its kennel as "Gun'', earns victory No. 50 in 99 starts.

By DON JENSEN
Published January 13, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - Magic City Kennel owner Randy Finegan didn't take his Gun on a deer hunting trip to Georgia last weekend, so trainer Doug Flint used it to bag another trophy.

Extruding Dream ran his way into the Derby Lane spotlight again, defeating a quality field in the 82nd Inaugural Stakes on Jan. 6. It was a historic win for the greyhound that goes by the kennel moniker of Gun: career victory No. 50 in his 99th start and his fourth stakes triumph in the past 12 months.

The 5-length victory by the 35-month-old black male greyhound surprised many on Derby Lane's opening weekend as he beat multiple-stakes winners Flying Stanley and Brady Thomas in the 550-yard race. Extruding Dream's $20 mutuel payoff was the highest of his career.

"I think the fans respect him more in a 3/8ths race than a 5/16ths race," Flint said. "But he can run either distance. He is a sprinter that can carry his distance a little farther."

Extruding Dream's success for the past six months had been mild compared with his record-breaking performance at the Derby Lane 2005-06 meet. In 22 starts before the Inaugural, mostly at Tampa Greyhound Track, Extruding Dream won only seven and was a finalist in two stakes: second in Tampa Derby at Tampa Greyhound and fifth at American Greyhound Derby at Lincoln Park, R.I. He also missed racing time for breeding purposes.

The Inaugural victory was timely with voters filling out ballots for four major 2006 awards: All-America and All-America captain through the American Greyhound Track Operators Association, and Flashy Sir (distance) and Rural Rube (sprint) by the National Greyhound Association. The awards will be given in April.

Flint has never had an All-America dog in 30 years in the business.

Extruding Dream was the top gun at Derby Lane last season. He established a meet record with 37 victories from 60 starts, won three stakes (Distance Classic, Derby Lane Million Consolation and St. Petersburg Derby) and was third in the Sprint Classic. He also became the first greyhound in the facility's 81-year history to set track records at 550 and 660 yards during the same meet (both marks have since been broken).

Owned by Joe Ametrano, Bruce Caldwell and Finegan, Extruding Dream has defeated stakes or Grade A competition for 43 of his past 45 victories. He is sired by Impossible Dream, a seven-time stakes finalist at the two distances. His dam is Iwantthattrophy. Flint plans to enter the 71-pound dog in the All-Star Kennel Preview, which starts Wednesday with a pair of qualifying races. The top four finishers in each event advance to the 550-yard final Jan. 20.

"Winning the Inaugural was pretty exciting," Flint said. "The day after, I pulled up the replay of the race and watched it a couple times. One thing I eventually noticed was what (track announcer) Jim Peake said as Extruding Dream was nearing the finish line: 'He's back!' That summed up everything."

Horses

Above the Wind makes his 10-year-old debut today as he goes for a fourth straight win in the $60,000 Pelican Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar. Owned by Hamco Group LLC and trained by Ronnie Allen Sr., the Island Whirl bay gelding seeks his 21st career victory. Mike Allen, the trainer's son, will ride the Michigan-bred in his first start in six months. The 6-furlong dirt test has attracted a field of 14. Top rivals include Bernie Blue, D'artagnans'spirit, Guapeton, Out for a Spin, Put Back the Shu, Roman Candles and Wonone. The Pelican is the 10th of 11 races with post time at 4:25 p.m. ... Defending riding champ Jose Lezcano returned Friday after a five-day suspension for careless riding. His mount, Shimmering Crystal, interfered with a rival in the eighth race Jan. 5 and was disqualified from first to second. Lezcano was second in the standings Friday, nine wins behind Daniel Centeno.