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    Posted byadmin on Sunday, January 22 @ 22:07:15 EST
    Contributed by admin

    ST. PETERSBURG - For the past several weeks, they have been arriving at Derby Lane from all over the country. Heck, make that the world. There are two from Ireland and a pair from Australia in the mix. "The majority of them have already been around the track a few times," said Derby Lane media relations director Vera Filipelli.

    They are all here for the same reason: The Derby Lane Million, being billed as "the richest race in greyhound history." To see just how big this event is in the world of greyhound racing, we called Gary Guccione, executive director of the National Greyhound Association in Abilene, Kansas. By the tone of his voice, you could tell Guccione believes this race is pretty big.
    How big? Think Super Bowl, World Series and Kentucky Derby rolled into one. Actually, you probably need to add the Stanley Cup Finals and the Masters in there, too.
    "I think they are understating it, if anything," Guccione said of Derby Lane's hype machine. "This is absolutely the biggest thing to happen with stakes races in the history of the sport. All major stakes records will be broken in one race." Guccione has the ammunition to back up his claim. Consider that the winner of the Derby Lane Million receives $500,000, a pretty good paycheck for about 30 seconds of work. Then consider that the all-time record for career earnings by a greyhound is held by Be My Bubba, who earned $365,734 during a career that peaked in 2000-01.
    So in a matter of half a minute, the Derby Lane Million champ will become the sport's all-time greatest prize winner, and the runner-up ($150,000) and third-place finisher ($125,000) will rank high as well. The event truly is "the richest race in greyhound history," easily surpassing the Iowa Breeders Classic, an annual race with a $400,000 purse.
    "This thing has just captured everyone's attention and interest," Guccione said. "It really does have the whole sport buzzing." To enter, owners had to pay a $10,800 entry fee for each of the 64 spots. They contributed $650,000, with Derby Lane chipping in the additional $350,000 to make the total purse worth $1 million dollars. By the end of the weekend, Filipelli expects all the entries to be on site and training for the Feb. 11 opening round. The Million final is scheduled March 4.

    Associated Topics

    Greyhound Racing

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