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Friday, August 5, 2016

Gretchen Oswalt left nothing to the imagination in 2008-11 when she raced for Derby Lane kennel owners Randy and Patty Floyd in St. Petersburg Fla.
Dart from the starting box, build a big lead and hold on for dear life.
TR’s Flapjack, one of her progenies, is similar. The exception is that he can carry his speed farther.
Only defending top dog Oya Stan The Man, the St. Petersburg Derby winner from D’Arcy kennel, has won more races at Derby Lane since Jan. 1 than TR’s Flapjack, a 550-yard specialist who is at St. Petersburg because he struggled early in his career at Southland Park in West Memphis, Ark.
“We’re just tickled to death with him,’’ Patty Floyd said. “When he comes out of your bloodline and you see how good he is, (it’s exciting.)’’
Gretchen Oswalt, who made 150 starts, won 22 races – each by leading at all three calls in a race. On three occasions, she had eight-length leads and held off charging rivals.
TR’s Flapjack’s career has followed that path. Twice in his first 75 races through Aug. 3, the 82-pound greyhound has won after speeding out to eight-length advantages. The 35-month-old male by 2010 Triple Crown winner and five-time stakes champion Flying Coal City has already surpassed his dam with 24 wins – all but one by leading at every call in the race under trainer Derek Barsell. His past 17 victories have been at Grade A.
“He’s just maturing,’’ Floyd said. “Something clicked, and you don’t know why. I know the breeding is there. His mom was a front-runner. . . . She could get out in front, but she’d come up short. The daddy had speed, too.’’
TR’s Flapjack was sent to Derby Lane in July 2015 by owner John Robinson of Orlando after winning only once in his first 10 starts. Robinson had a connection with the Floyds after buying Gretchen Oswalt for breeding purposes. The deal was contingent on Robinson keeping her at the Belleview farm where she has resided since retiring from racing.
TR’s Flapjack is out of the third litter produced by Gretchen Oswalt. Her second litter, also sired by Flying Coal City, supplied the Floyds with one of their best dogs in recent years in CJ’s Mack. He was a stakes-caliber athlete who finished third in the Derby Lane win standings in the 2015 January-to-June meet.
The Floyds’ last top dog was Sprint Classic champion Hometown Boy, who edged kennelmate Brady Thomas by a win in 2007.
TR’s Flapjack was rested for the first five weeks of the previous meet, but still tied kennelmate and Sprint Classic winner Lego Andrew for second place in the win standings at 16, three behind Oya Stan The Man. TR’s Flapjack, who has 19 victories in 2016, put together a five-race win streak in May.
“He likes the front, and he’s one of those that has the potential,’’ Floyd said. “He’s laid back, calm, and goes to work.’’

Don Jensen

I have been a sports writer in the newspaper industry for 40 years: working in Florida, Maryland and Virginia. I moved to Florida in 1984 after serving as the publicity director of Charles Town Race Track, a thoroughbred facility in West Virginia. I reside in Tampa, Fla., and cover the Tampa Bay area parimutuel scene – both greyhounds and thoroughbreds – and write about high school sports for the Tampa Bay Times.