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Monday, November 27, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Once they reached the backstretch, Flamenco Dancer and RT’s Bo Jangles raced in tandem – never more than a length separating the two rivals Wednesday night in the semifinals of the $10,000 Thanksgiving Stakes at Derby Lane.

RT’s Bo Jangles, a stakes-winning candidate for the 2017 All-America team, poked a nose in front, then a half-length, and finally a length. But Flamenco Dancer would not go away. As the greyhounds neared the finish line, it appeared that RT’s Bo Jangles would run his win streak to nine. Flamenco Dancer made one final surge in the final stride that would prove to be the difference, nipping her foe by a nose.

If the finale can come close to that drama, the 550-yard race should be a beauty Saturday in Race 10 at 9:47 p.m.

Flamenco Dancer (Farmer Racing kennel) and RT’s Bo Jangles (Cal Holland) will be among the starters for the second annual event that carries a $4,500 first-place paycheck. The rest of the field includes CTW Madman Shane (Clear The Way Kennels), Fly J Kissantell (Lester Raines), John Valazquez (Capabal), Kaias Coach K (Floyd), U Ya Roughnready (D’Arcy) and WW’s Odessabeach (Patriot). They advanced by finishing at least fourth in their respective qualifying races.

Both qualifiers were upsets.

Flamenco Dancer, who won for the third consecutive time to raise her lifetime victory total to nine, paid $31. The 22-month-old daughter of Barcelona Boss and Lets Go Flying is trained by kennel owner John Farmer for a four-owner membership group headed by Monte Jacobs of Claflin, Kan. Flamenco Dancer clocked 550 yards in 30.81 seconds. She will be in her third stakes finale in a row, having finished third in the $10,000 Howl-O-Ween on Oct. 28, and second in the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile on Oct. 14.

Fly J Kissantell, a 40-month-old female from a litter by Soprano Drive and Flying Moonlite, paid a career-high $22.80 to win with her 18th overall win. She held off CTW Madman Shane by a half-length in 31.05 seconds. Fly J Kissantell is trained by Jennifer Richardson for owner Vince Berland of Abilene, Kan.

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.