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Monday, May 15, 2017

 

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Brian Ernst made quite an impression Saturday night in the $20,000 Remembrance Stakes first round of qualifying at Derby Lane.

Competing in his first stakes race for Capabal kennel owner Henry Parker, Brian Ernst posted a career-best time on the 550-yard course. His clocking of 30.44 seconds also was the best among 95 greyhounds that competed in a sprint on the evening card.

Trained by Belinda Parker for owner Raymond Thurber, Brian Ernst rallied to defeat 4-5 favorite Rt’s Bo Jangles by a neck to earn 16 points. The 23-month-old male from a litter by Street Credit and Kelsi Purcell paid $9.60 to win.

It was one of two first-round victories for Capabal, which won the past two titles in the former Fall Juvenile Stakes. The stakes race for puppies was renamed the Remembrance this year. JohnValazquez gave the kennel its other win with a three-length triumph in 30.88 seconds and paid $5.60.

Upsets occurred in the other qualifiers. Farmer Racing’s Jeff Sessions came from behind to knock off 7-5 favorite Poweroftraction, winning by less than a length in 30.94 seconds. Jeff Sessions returned $21.40 to his supporters.

Burk Greyhounds’ Fiesta Ironman recorded his first career top-grade win with a four-length victory over David Lopez. Fiesta Ironman clocked a time of 30.75 seconds and paid $27.20.

The second round is Wednesday night with the field being cut to 16. The finale is May 29 with a $9,000 first-place prize up for grabs.

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.