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Back to News » DERBY LANE REMEMBRANCE STAKES PREVIEW
Friday, May 12, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The stakes name is different. The eventual winning kennel of Derby Lane’s final 550-yard stakes race of the 2016-17 season may be the same in the $20,000 Remembrance Stakes.

Capabal kennel owner Henry Parker won the final two editions of the Fall Juvenile in 2014-15 that formerly was held in October and November. But when Derby Lane racing secretary Les Robison revamped the track’s stakes program this season, the Remembrance replaced the Fall Juvenile. There will be four qualifying rounds again, beginning Saturday night in Races 4, 6, 8 and 10. The championship race will be held on a matinee performance, the May 29 Memorial Day card.

Thirty-two greyhounds are entered, and Parker’s trio of pups can’t be overlooked. He won the 2015 Fall Juvenile with Lagro Cc Nance, and the 2014 title with Joey Rightywhity.

All three Capabal entries are owned by Raymond Thurber and trained by Belinda Parker. John Valazquez (Race 6, 8:39 p.m.) is the top winner with 15 victories from 45 starts. Parker also entered littermates David Lopez (4, 8:10) and Brian Ernst (8, 9:13).

John Valazquez started his racing career 10 months ago at Ebro, Fla., where the speedster won two schooling races. The 28-month-old male from a litter by Dragon Fire and Awesome Fling was moved to Derby Lane the following month. John Valazquez has 15 victories from 45 lifetime starts, and has led at every race call in 12 of his wins.

David Lopez and Brian Ernst have eerily similar resumes with both 23-month-old males from a litter by Street Credit and Kelsi Purcell finishing second in their careers debuts on the same program (Nov. 15). David Lopez has eight wins from 34 starts, and Brian Ernst has nine victories in 33 outings.

Dogs that drew the No. 1 box for the opening round: Nova kennel’s Moveslikejagger (Race 4), Burk Greyhounds’ Ozark Mike (6), and Lk’s Good Golly (8), and Lk’s Royal Sire (10) - both from Lashmet kennel.

D’Arcy kennel’s Ethanol, winner of the $75,000 Distance Classic on April 8, is in Race 4.

First place is worth $9,000.

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.