With five dogs racing, Filipelli focuses on points

Tonight's third round of the Gold Trophy Juvenile Stakes at Derby Lane could be a precursor to a promising career for one greyhound.

Published May 12, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - The numbers game favors kennel partner John Filipelli. Now his focus is points.

Five Filipelli & O'Donnell Kennel greyhounds head the field of 16 for tonight's third round of the Gold Trophy Juvenile Stakes at Derby Lane. Along with qualifying events in Races 6 and 10, fans will be treated to Night of Stars XIX, a national simulcast with a portion of the proceeds going to greyhound adoption. Derby Lane's NOS race features Flashy Sir Award winner Extruding Dream of Magic City Kennel.

Filipelli & O'Donnell advanced five of six entries into the next two Gold Trophy rounds. Hallo Flying Sol leads the kennel with 24 points, two behind leaders Craigie Crimson and Godfather of D'Arcy Kennel and Upland Flower of Cal Holland Kennel. The remainder of Filipelli & O'Donnell's runners: Hallo Big Shoot (22 points), Kiowa Top Tom (14), Lazy K Trey (13) and Kiowa Boy (11). The kennel would have advanced all six entries had Mohican Direct not been pulled Wednesday night because of a minor injury.

"I think it's probably one of the first times that somebody has been able to put that many dogs (into the third round), " Filipelli said. "The Kansas Futurity is running right now, and other dogs have left under certain circumstances that broke in here. I happened to keep all our pups here. They were the best that were left."

Trained by Mark Dunnuck, the six Filipelli & O'Donnell greyhounds were registered for the Derby Lane Million, with Hallo Flying Sol the lone participant. He was eliminated after two rounds. Hallo Flying Sol is one of four kennel entries that have competed against Grade A company.

Gold Trophy qualifying points range from 16 (win) to zero (eighth) in each race. The top eight in the accumulative points standings after Wednesday's fourth round advance to the 550-yard title race May 19.

D'Arcy has a third qualifier in Craigie Dodgin (17). Abernathy is the other kennel with multiple entries (Hellion, 20, and Chaska Reraise, 11).

The Gold Trophy crown can be a precursor to a solid greyhound career. Last year's winner, Brady Thomas of Floyd & Porter Kennel, went on to win the Tampa Speed Classic and NOS XVIII at Tampa Greyhound Track. And he was an All-America second-team member.

"Since they run this race toward the end of the meet, those pups are seasoned and usually turn out to be some of the better dogs at the racetrack, " Filipelli said. "A lot of them go on to run solid Grade A or even go to other stakes races."

Post times for the qualifiers are 8:54 and 10:30.

In NOS, Extruding Dream drew the No. 7 starting box for the 550-yard sprint. Other entries in post-position order: Ctw Newsreel, Flying Wynnewood, Greys Sherluck, NOS XVI winner Top Cat Orson, Kiowa Zapper Jay, Sol Deli and Lorac. The race will be between Derby Lane's ninth and 10th, with post time at 10:12. It is Race 10 on the NOS 16-race card and part of the $75, 000 guaranteed Pick 6. Palm Beach Kennel Club will be featured on NOS at 9:50, with Derby Lane Million winner Flying Stanley competing in the first round of the Palm Beach Grand Classic.

NOS can be viewed at simulcast outlets or www.thenightofstars.com. The first race is scheduled for 7:10 from Raynham, Mass.

HORSES: Terry (T.D.) Houghton, one of seven riders banned by Tampa Bay Downs in December because of a Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau investigation, met with a hearing officer from the Illinois Racing Board's Department of Revenue on May 3, seeking permission to ride at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill. A decision is expected in June.

According to a story on www.thoroughbredtimes.com, Houghton's attorney, Art Engelland, said the investigation of his client focuses on suspicious betting patterns in three races in which Houghton competed. One was at Tampa Bay Downs and two at Great Lakes Downs in Muskegon, Mich. Engelland said Houghton was on the favorite twice and a 10-1 shot in the other race. Engelland said it appears the other banned riders face similar suspicion.

MORE HORSES: Before Tampa Bay Downs opens its 2007-08 meet Dec. 8, track officials hope to gain more graded stakes races. The Downs has two Grade III events: the Tampa Bay Derby and Hillsborough. The Sam F. Davis is considered to have the best shot. Track vice president and general manager Peter Berube said he would like to see the Endeavour, Florida Oaks, Sam F. Davis and Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup become graded. Announcements will be made after the American Graded Stakes Committee meeting in November.

AROUND THE TRACKS: Monmouth Park in New Jersey kicks off its most anticipated season today when the refurbished track opens for a five-month sprint to the Breeders' Cup. The 79-day season will be held in two sessions. The first lasts 75 days, running through Sept. 2. The track reopens from Oct. 24-27, with the final two days highlighted by 11 Breeders' Cup races, and the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Times wires contributed to this report.