Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fiesta Ironman makes late run at Derby Lane's Remembrance Stakes

ST. PETERSBURG — Just when Derby Lane racing secretary Les Robison believed he had all the entries for the $20,000 Remembrance Stakes, his telephone rang.

Garrett Burk was on the other end, requesting a late change.

Enter Fiesta Ironman, a greyhound who showed Burk something earlier that day on the May 5 matinee card. Burk, who had already entered Ozark Mike and Ozark Fred for the 550-yard puppy stakes, adjusted that plan after Fiesta Ironman rolled to a 7-length Grade B win.

"Garrett was like, 'I'm going to put Ironman in (the Remembrance). … He looks like a better dog than Ozark Fred,'" said Shannon Burk, 34, Garrett's wife and co-owner of her husband's Burks Greyhounds kennel. "He changed it at the last minute (and took out Ozark Fred)."

Fiesta Ironman, who struggled mightily when he arrived at Derby Lane this past October, is a dog on the rise. The 21-month-old male from a litter by Pg Tiger and Mega Dunia kicked off the Remembrance on May 13 with his first career Grade A victory, a four-length upset at 12-1 odds in 30.75 seconds — his fastest clocking on the 550-yard course. It was Fiesta Ironman's seventh overall win, and only the third time in 32 starts that he had run faster than 31 seconds.

"He's been coming around a lot lately," Burk said.

Fiesta Ironman spent plenty of time on the track before making his racing debut Dec. 2, alternating between official and unofficial schooling. In his first five official schoolings, the 71-pound dog lost by 25, 17, 19, 16 and 17 lengths. Fiesta Ironman broke his maiden in his fourth start.

"We've had him since he was 13 months old," Burk said. "He schooled, and did terrible. He even graded off (once). We put him back in schooling and kept trying."

The first-round win by Fiesta Ironman ensured that the sprinter would advance to Saturday's third round for owner Jeff Blair of Abilene, Kan. He ranks sixth with 22 points after a fourth-place finish in Wednesday's second qualifier. The point leaders are undefeated Brian Ernst and John Valazquez, both with Capabal kennel, at 32. A three-way tie for third at 26 exists between David Lopez (Capabal), Jeff Sessions (Farmer Racing) and Rt's Bo Jangles (Cal Holland).

"I would prefer (Fiesta Ironman) to win the (championship) race, and not work so hard in these (qualifying) races," Burk said. "He's a sweetheart (in the kennel). He's so calm. … For being a puppy, he's still well-behaved."

Fiesta Ironman, whose sire Pg Tiger won the 2009 Fall Juvenile Stakes at Bluffs Run Greyhound Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is in Race 6 at 8:39 p.m. Ozark Mike also advanced with 11 points and is in Race 10 at 9:47.

MORE DOGS: Lester Raines rejoined the Derby Lane roster May 15. The kennel left for Southland Park in West Memphis, Ark., on Dec. 26, 2012. Tom Artzer is the trainer.

Fiesta Ironman makes late run at Derby Lane's Remembrance Stakes 05/19/17 [Last modified: Friday, May 19, 2017 11:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays set to activate Tommy Hunter from DL

    Blogs

    The Rays plan to activate RHP Tommy Hunter from the DL for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

  2. Steven Souza Jr. snaps out of slump as Rays defeat Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After Tuesday's shutout loss to the Angels, Steven Souza Jr. stood in front of his locker and talked about his need to contribute to the offense.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesus Sucre (45) hugs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) in the dugout after his two run home run in the second inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
  3. Tom Jones: Rays made right move sending Blake Snell to minors

    The Heater

    tom jones' two cents

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Blake Snell’s struggles on the mound were only one of the reasons the Rays sent him to the minors; some other red flags existed. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Ryne Stanek has had his early struggles, but Wednesday he showed his high-octane potential, working around a one-out walk to strike out the mighty Mike Trout (on a 98.4 mph fastball) and legendary Albert Pujols (98.7), both swinging.

  5. Rays journal: More bullpen changes as Diego Moreno heads to DL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays bullpen has another new look.

    Rays reliever Diego Moreno, pitching Sunday against the Yankees, heads the DL with shoulder bursitis.