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Monday, July 2, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The 405th and final performance of the Derby Lane 2017-18 greyhound racing season on Saturday had a perfect ending for Lashmet kennel.

LK’s Payday won the $25,000 St. Petersburg Derby – edging kennelmate LK’s Dodge Ram by a nose – and LK’s Honolulu rolled to a resounding victory in the $5,000 Consolation Derby to give the operation a sweep of the track’s final two stakes races.

The program also saw Bartley Corporation clinch a second consecutive kennel win championship for the January-to-June meet, and Cal Holland kennel’s Jiminy Reno record his first top-dog title by one victory over kennelmate and former two-time win leader RT’s Bo Jangles, the 2017 All-America first-team sprinter who fell for the first time in his 129-race career and missed an opportunity to tie for another crown.

LK’s Payday, the 2-1 wagering favorite, rallied from fifth and passed four rivals in the stretch to win her first stakes title for kennel owners John and Jill Lashmet, who bred and raised the greyhound on their farm in Fort Lupton, Colo. She paid $6.40 to win in 37.49 seconds on the 660-yard course.

LK’s Dodge Ram and eventual third-place finisher Rich N Famous of Farmer Racing dueled for the lead most of the way until LK’s Payday rallied in the outer part of the track.

“I actually thought the 1 dog (Rich N Famous) was going to catch the 6 dog (LK’s Dodge Ram),’’ Lashmet kennel manager-trainer Ken Deacon said. “The 1 (dog) swung out wide (entering the stretch) and (LK’s Dodge Ram) came back in. When I saw the 5 dog (LK’s Payday), I looked at (wife Nadine) and said, ‘Oh boy, here (LK’s Payday) comes.’’

It was the 14th lifetime win from 66 starts for LK’s Payday, a 32-month-old daughter of Barcelona Boss and LK’s Cherokee. She earned $11,000. LK’s Payday went undefeated in the 92nd Derby, winning two previous qualifiers as did LK’s Dodge Ram.

Flying Hypatia (Lester Raines kennel) finished fourth followed by TMC’s Inthamoney (Steubenville), Diamond Rio (D’Arcy), HKF Sandy (Farmer Racing) and Kentucky Marilyn (Cal Holland). “It’s always an honor (to win), because you beat a lot of nice dogs to get (to the finale),’’ said Deacon, 65, a native of Rochester, N.Y.

LK’s Honolulu started Lashmet’s stakes blitz with a career showing in the 88th Consolation Derby. She took the lead for good on the clubhouse turn and defeated Jiminy Garnet (Cal Holland kennel) by eight lengths as the fourth-wagering choice. LK’s Honolulu’s time of 37.18 was a lifetime-best for the 26-month-old daughter of Pat C Sabbath and LK’s Attitude - faster than LK’s Payday in the Derby. She paid $10.80 to win with her seventh victory from 27 career starts. First place paid $2,200.

“When (LK’s Honolulu) broke (second), I said it’s over,’’ Deacon said.

TMC’s Makinmoney (Steubenville kennel) was third followed by MR Jewel (Farmer Racing), Fiesta Toril (Floyd), Swamp Yankee (Capabal), Figfin Ira Star (Burk Greyhounds) and Volando Tara (Floyd).

The stakes victories by Lashmet moved the operation into a second-place tie with Cal Holland in the final kennel standings behind Bartley Corporation, which prevailed by a five-win margin at 234 under kennel manager-trainer Ken Brotherton. Rick and Rhonda Bartley of Abilene, Kan., own the operation.

Jiminy Reno won the top-dog title with his 23rd victory from 38 starts in the Saturday matinee performance. He rallied to win a Grade A 550-yard sprint for his ninth consecutive win to break a tie with RT’s Bo Jangles.

Jiminy Reno, a 26-month-old male from a litter by Alivefortomorrow and Oceania, is bred and owned by Kathleen Hastings of Abilene and her brother, James Morgan, of Colorado Springs, Colo. Jiminy Reno won the $20,000 Remembrance Stakes on May 28.

“(Jiminy Reno) broke in and kept winning,’’ Holland said. “He’s just that great of a dog.’’

RT’s Bo Jangles fell in his race on the evening performance when he got bumped by a rival on the first turn. He eventually got back and resumed running, seemingly uninjured. The 2017 national win leader and two-time stakes champion was examined after the race by track veterinarian, Dr. Donald Beck.

“My heart just fell,’’ Holland said. “But when I saw him get up and run hard, then I was relieved.’’

Holland said he planned to take RT’s Bo Jangles, a lifetime winner of 76 races, off the active list for the start of the Tampa at Derby Lane six-month meet that begins this week. Best times at the recently-concluded meet were recorded by Everett Racing’s Fly Up Up N Away at 550 yards in 30.02 seconds, and Cal Holland’s Kentucky Hotspot at 660 in 36.97.

The new Derby Lane racing season includes several changes to its kennel roster. Burk Greyhounds and Clear The Way Kennels have been dissolved, while Next Gen Racing has been added as the 16th kennel with Davina Filipelli serving as the trainer.

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.