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Monday, March 6, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Kennel operator and trainer Cal Holland won his third Sprint Classic championship Saturday night when Kentucky Kat scored a box-to-wire three-length victory at Derby Lane.

Aided by a lightning-quick start from the No. 3 box, Kentucky Kat assumed early control and never was threatened in the 42-year-old event. Her winning time on the 550-yard course was 30.72 seconds. Kentucky Kat paid $5.20 as the 8-5 wagering favorite in the $64,000 race.

“It’s never over until it’s over,’’ Holland, 72, said. “But when she broke that good and she went around the first turn first, I thought we had a good chance of winning.’’ It was the second career stakes title for Kentucky Kat. The 34-month-old female from a litter by Pat C Clement and Kentucky Jude won the $8,000 T.L. Weaver Memorial Challenge on Aug. 27. Kentucky Kat has 37 career victories from 69 starts, and the $25,000 first-place prize in Derby Lane’s richest 550 stakes elevated her overall earnings to more than $52,000 for owner Don Godby of Eaton, Colo.

Holland’s previous Sprint Classic win came in 1995 with Evening Memory. He also captured the 1982 event with Genes Spur. The remaining order of finish in the Sprint Classic: Bella Gigan (Alderson kennel), Abs So Hard (Tri-State), Imark Keefer (Abernathy), LK’s Prospector (Lashmet), SE’s Punisher (Nova), SH Takashi (D’Arcy) and Barts Mr Peabody (Bartley Corporation).

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.