By BOB PUTNAM
© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 30, 2001
The 75th annual St. Petersburg Derby, the signature stake race that concludes Derby Lane's season, has an impressive list of greyhounds. Three of the eight competing have won stake races at the St. Petersburg track the past two seasons.
The greyhound with the most at stake is Boot Scootin Gal.
The female is the defending champion of the St. Petersburg Derby and is running out of the No. 3 post in the 10th race of the night. Boot Scooting Gal had the same post last season when she beat Flying Waterford by .01 seconds to win.
Boot Scootin Gal will have to beat tough competition.
Running out of the No. 2 post is Greys Free Bird, an All-American which won last season's Consolation Derby. N Big Ed, which had the season's fastest time and won this season's Fans All-Star three-eighths-mile stake race, is in the No. 5 post.
Two sisters will compete in the St. Petersburg Derby, Rayjay Janet and Isabel Margarita. Both sprinters, they will be racing on opposite ends. Rayjay Janet is in the No. 1 post, Isabel Margarita the No. 8.
The other stake race tonight is the Consolation Derby, the eighth race. The Consolation Derby gives the other eight greyhounds who did not make qualify for the St. Petersburg Derby a chance to win a stake race. And much like the St. Petersburg Derby, the Consolation Derby has a strong field of previous stake winners.
The favorite is Forbe's Gift, which won the 1999 Consolation by closing from fifth to first to win by 11/2 lengths. He has the favorable No. 1 post.
Tomoka Penny, the 1999 Distance Classic winner, is a strong contender. The 5-year-old female set the fastest time in 1999 when she won the Distance Classic.
In the No. 2 post is the 1999 Derby winner Touche Baby.
Kansas Jewel, which has late speed, is in the unfavorable No. 3 post and has been blocked out on her breaking move during her past three races. Her kennelmate, Atocha, is beside her in the No. 4 post.
Kansas Jewel and Atocha belong to the Ryan Farms Kennel, which won the kennel standings at the track for the third year in a row. It is the first time a kennel has done that in more than 25 years.