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Trainer knew all along dog could go Distance

BD's Robin among the favorites for today's Classic at Derby Lane.

By BOB PUTNAM

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 7, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- James Campbell, trainer for BD's Robin, said he did not care that his greyhound was a puppy and had gone through schooling for the first time at Tampa Greyhound last season.

He had the greyhound pegged for stardom.

"For some reason, I just knew that she was going to be in the Distance Classic here," Campbell said. "People thought I was crazy when I said that, but it was just a gut feeling."

His prediction seemed far-fetched. After all, BD's Robin had won only six races and was a long shot heading into the qualifying rounds for the $100,000 Distance Classic two weeks ago.

But the greyhound won two of the four qualifying rounds and drew the favorable eight box for tonight's stakes race, the richest of the season. The race is the 10th of 14.

"Hey, we got lucky," Campbell said. "It didn't look as if she might have a chance to win when we started, but we get a break here, a break there, and look where we're at. The outside eight box is a nice spot for us to be."

Campbell has had success in this stakes race before. He trained Tomoka Penny, winner of the Distance Classic in 1999. BD's Robin and Tomoka Penny belong to the Alderson Kennel.

"I hope BD can pace herself and not run too far ahead," Campbell said. "She's better at pacing herself and coming from behind. If she starts out in the lead, I'm going to be sweating it because there are some quality dogs in this field."

Four of the finalists have won stakes races: Courageous Nicky was the Puppy Preview winner on opening weekend and is the season leader with 14 victories. He also scored the most points (40) during the four qualifying rounds for the Distance Classic.

Greys Free Bird won last year's Consolation Derby, Wonderland Derby and was a finalist for the American Derby. She is the only female named to the All-America team. Her sister, Greys Free Style, won last year's Distance Classic.

Boot Scootin Gal is the oldest in the field, won the St. Petersburg Derby and was in the final of the Distance Classic last year.

Flying Waterford won last year's Fans' All-Star Distance feature and this year's Sweet Heart Challenge.

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