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Sep 28, 2020

“I miss him.’’

Randy Floyd couldn’t hide his feelings about Shoot The Breeze, who left Derby Lane recently for the more lucrative purse structure at Southland Racing in West Memphis, Ark.

Shoot The Breeze represented the past and present for Floyd and wife Patti, who operate one of the 14 kennels at Derby Lane. He became their first win champion in 13 years at the January-to-June meet, and his dam – Danicas Go Daddy – provided many fond memories for the Floyds, who raced her at the Florida West Coast track from 2010-13.

“Shoot The Breeze was just a nice dog,’’ Randy Floyd said. “He didn’t bother anybody. He wasn’t playful. . . more or less, all business.

“He just came out and ran. When we broke him in, I didn’t have any idea he was going to turn out to be this good.’’

Shoot The Breeze was better than good. He developed into Derby Lane’s fastest athlete on the 550-yard course. In the January-to-June meet, the 35-month-old son of track record holder Trent Lee possessed seven of the top 10 times – highlighted by a 30.00-second clocking on Feb. 19.

From Jan. 29 to Feb. 22, Shoot The Breeze won a career-high six consecutive races with times ranging between 30.00-30.19 seconds. He won those races by a combined 45-1/2 lengths. “He was cooking then,’’ Floyd said.

Shoot The Breeze finished the meet with 15 victories from 24 starts, denying 2019 All-America sprinter LK’s Crush N It of Lashmet kennel a potential record-setting third top-dog meet title in a row. He edged LK’s Crush N It by one win.

When owner Charles Haliburton sent his standout greyhound to Southland Racing, Shoot The Breeze departed with a four-race win streak - including an 8-length romp in his final start on Sept. 15.

The 84-pound speedster won 29 of 49 races at Derby Lane, and finished third in a pair of stakes races: the $64,000 Sprint Classic on Feb. 29, and the $18,000 1925 Historical Inaugural on Jan. 4.

“It was fun to watch him, even though I wasn’t (trackside),’’ Floyd said. “When I left the kennel, I could watch him with Patti on the computer.

“He doesn’t break that much anymore, but he rushes down to the turn. And then once he gets around that turn, it’s like, “Forget it, you’re not going to catch him.’’

The previous Floyd greyhound to claim a meet win title was Hometown Boy for the then Floyd & Porter kennel in the January-to-June campaign in 2007. Hometown Boy captured his top-dog title with 18 victories from 28 starts, finishing three wins ahead of runner-up Brady Thomas, also a Floyd & Porter athlete.

Hometown Boy owned one stakes title: the Sprint Classic in 2007. He made history in that event by becoming the first dog in the 45-year-old Sprint Classic to complete an undefeated series with four qualifying victories and the title win. Only one other dog has achieved that since: LK’s Crush N It in 2019.

Hometown Boy raced from 2005-08, and won 54 of 126 races with $64,072 in purse earnings. He also holds the 550-yard record at Tampa Greyhound Track with a clocking of 30.01 seconds.

Shoot The Breeze has impeccable breeding. His sire, Trent Lee, set the Derby Lane 550-yard record with a clocking of 29.59 seconds in 2006. Danicas Go Daddy competed in stakes races at Derby Lane for the Floyds, and won 32 of 172 starts from 2010-13.

“Dogs like Shoot The Breeze come along very rarely,’’ Floyd said. “A lot of times, they run so had that they break themselves down. They’ve got one speed, and that’s it.

“I was proud of (Shoot The Breeze’s win title). I can’t eat it. I can’t spend it. It’s on paper. But yeah, it was nice.’’

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