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Friday, July 20, 2018

Once Jiminy Reno missed his break Wednesday in the featured race at Derby Lane, he had missed an opportunity to close in on an iconic track record.

The 26-month-old male from a litter by Alivefortomorrow and Oceania had his career-best win streak snapped at 12 with a fifth-place finish. The record for most consecutive wins at Derby Lane is believed to be 15, track director of racing Les Robison said.

Jiminy Reno, owned by siblings Kathleen Hastings of Abilene, Kan., and James Morgan of Colorado Springs, Colo., broke last from box 7 in the field of eight and never recovered as the prohibitive 1-2 favorite. He wound up five lengths behind Extrem Racing kennel 8-1 shot DS Poppy, who notched her first career Grade A victory in her 110th start for owner David Sullivan.

“It was the best win streak we’ve had in a while. . . . Certainly the best since I’ve been here,’’ said Robison, who became director of racing five years ago.

“I saw a lot of early of speed on the upper half of the track (in boxes 5 through 8). He missed his break and was going to have a hard time getting back into the race. That’s what happened to Reno. He made a late move, but the distance was too far to make up.’’

DS Poppy, who is trained by Blane Armstrong, came to Derby Lane in June from Wheeling Island in West Virginia. Her one-length victory in 30.55 seconds on the 550-yard course set off huge exotic payouts with LK’s Next Step (Lashmet kennel) second at 40-1 odds, CH Love My Honey (Lester Raines) third at 12-1, and LK’s Bonanza (Lashmet) fourth at 51-1. The $2 trifecta paid $8,899.20 and the $1 superfecta returned $10,530.30.

Jiminy Reno, who has 30 career victories from 61 starts, had not finished out of the money since a sixth-place showing on April 18. His 12-race win streak began May 23. The 550-yard specialist trained by Holland had won 18 of his previous 19 starts. Few greyhounds in recent history have matched his excellence at Derby Lane.

Cayman Went, a 2015 Greyhound Hall of Fame inductee in Abilene, won 19 of 20 starts from March 24, 2004 to June 16, 2004 for owner Green Turtle Cay Greyhounds. He was a dual-distance performer, winning eight times at 660 yards with the others at 550.

The son of Snow Bow and Faithful Message had a career-best 16-race win streak from Nov. 22, 2003 to Jan. 31, 2004, but his first five victories were recorded at Tampa Greyhound Track with the final 11 coming at Derby Lane.

Cayman Went, who had 74 career victories, captured greyhound racing’s Triple Crown in 2004 as the All-America captain, Rural Rube award winner as the nation’s best sprinter, and Flashy Sir award winner as the sport’s top distance performer. The 11-time stakes winner earned $158,299 while racing from 2002-2004.

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.