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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – No stakes champion. No top-10 winner. No problem for Everett Racing kennel.

For the second consecutive meet, the kennel operated by Kelly Everett of Cooper City, Fla., claimed the win championship for the recent January-to-June season at Derby Lane. A sensational surge in the final 30 performances launched Everett Racing past co-runners-up Abernathy and Lashmet, each of which wound up 34 wins behind. Everett Racing finished with 289 victories from 1,805 starts in 182 performances.

Everett Racing, which arrived at Derby Lane in May 2018 following a title-filled run at Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track in Bonita Springs, Fla., and Flagler in Miami, marched atop the kennel standings for good on May 29 with a six-win card to overcome what once was a 17-win deficit against former leader Lashmet.

Despite not having a stakes winner or greyhound finish in the top 10 in victories, Everett Racing won 63 races in the final 30 performances – highlighted by a modern-day tying seven-win card on June 22.

Everett Racing ranked third in starts among 14 kennels, behind ABC Racing (2,027) and Patriot (1,871). Its win percentage was 16 percent, and the kennel’s athletes finished in the money at a 53.4-percent clip with top-four performances. Everett Racing also produced the second most top-grade wins with 76, seven behind Lashmet.

Kelsie Gubbels is the trainer for Everett.

“The dogs love both of us,’’ Everett said after winning the title the first time. “We both do the work, and it’s definitely a team effort.

“My dogs really took to (Derby Lane) right away. I thought it would take a little while, but we knew we brought the right dogs for this track. They really took to the track . . . a lot faster than we expected.’’

The Everett Racing athletes haven’t let up since.

During its closing hot streak at the recently-concluded meet, Everett Racing produced at least one victory in 27 of the final 30 performances – including 16 multiple-win days. The seven-win card matched the modern-day mark set on June 16, 2009 by Filipelli & O’Donnell kennel, a key to the John Filipelli-trained operation tying McAllister kennel for the win title that season.

Everett Racing set a track record of 337 victories with its first title in the July-to-December 2018 meet. That total is the best by a winning kennel since Derby Lane began compiling meet statistics in six-month periods beginning in 2009 – a span of 20 meets.

With 626 victories in the past 12 months, Everett Racing ranks fourth among Derby Lane champion kennels with most wins during that time frame. Patriot won 658 races in 2012, followed by McAllister at 643 in 2007-08, and Red Oak Racing at 636 in 2013.

Everett Racing is the sixth operation since 2005 to win at least two consecutive kennel crowns. Burk Greyhounds claimed three titles in a row from 2015-16, and McAllister had back-to-back championships in 2011 and again from 2007-2009, when the track compiled data on a year-round basis. Other kennels with back-to-back titles since include Bartley Corporation (2017-18), Red Oak Racing (2013) and Patriot (2012).

Everett Racing, which won its first race at Derby Lane on May 2, 2018 with Flying Up Up N Away, entered the ongoing Tampa at Derby Lane meet with 754 victories at the track and could reach 1,000 by the time the six-month season concludes Dec. 31.

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.