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Friday, October 5, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Run, Rudy. Run.

The youthful greyhound has no problem doing that.

LK’s Crush N It, whose kennel moniker is Rudy, is living up to his name at Derby Lane.

He has beaten his opponents by double-digit margins in four of his five victories, including a win on Monday when the Lashmet kennel pup scored an 11-length triumph in his Grade A debut. LK’s Crush N It did it in a career-best 30.25 seconds on the 550-yard course. It was only his sixth career start for breeders and kennel owners John and Jill Lashmet of Fort Lupton, Colo.

“That was his first Grade A win, and I think it’s pretty significant,’’ kennel manager-trainer Ken Deacon said. “When you beat fields of dogs by a full second, it’s 16 lengths. So if you’re beating a group of dogs by a second, that’s like real time. . . . That’s like hours have passed in racing time. John said this dog might be the fastest dog they’ve ever raised, and they’ve raised quite a few.’’

LK’s Crush N It will join kennelmates LK’s Ferdinand and LK’s Hi Pockets as Lashmet’s entries in the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile which begins Saturday at Derby Lane. The top four finishers in all four first-round qualifying races (Races 4, 6, 8 and 10) advance to Wednesday’s final two qualifiers, where the first four finishers in each of those races move on to the 550-yard title race Oct. 13. LK’s Crush N It is in Race 4 (8:18 p.m.), LK’s Ferdinand starts in Race 6 (8:52), and LK’s Hi Pockets drew into Race 10 (10:01). LK’s Ferdinand already has stakes experience, finishing seventh to Jiminy Reno in the $50,000 Husker Magic Fall Sprint this past weekend. First place pays $9,000.

LK’s Crush N It has impressed Deacon on and off the track. He started racing in late August, winning a pair of schooling races by 10 and 3 lengths, respectively. The 22-month-old son of stakes runners LK’s Now R Never and LK’s All In continued to shine when he began official racing. He won his first three races by 13, 10 and 11 lengths. Then, after suffering his only loss when he got bumped on the first turn (he finished seventh), LK’s Crush N It bounced back to win his two ensuing starts - highlighted by his first top-grade victory with a clocking that ranked first among 104 greyhounds running that afternoon on the 550-yard strip.

“He’s blistering fast,’’ Deacon said. “The one time he got beat, they ran him almost all the way off the track. I’ve never seen him get beat except for that one race. In the morning schooling, he’s probably gone around (the track) 15 or 20 times, and he’s never been beaten.

“I don’t even know how to describe him. In the kennel, he doesn’t wet his bed, he doesn’t bark, he does everything right. When I got this group of pups in, he was the one who came up first to me. He’s been on my hip the whole time.’’

LK’s Crush N It is one of five littermates that Deacon has in the kennel. The others are LK’s Big Boss, LK’s Lightyear, LK’s Pretty Peni and LK’s Sweet Pea.

“His sisters and brothers all broke their maiden and are running pretty good right now, too,’’ Deacon said. “When I first got the dogs, I told John that (LK’s Crush N It) was real fast, and the rest of them are going to be useable. That’s basically how it’s turned out.

“I don’t know who good (LK’s Crush N It) is. He could be a whole lot better than what he is. He’s just a puppy and still under 2 years old. I think he can go 3/8ths. He runs forever. . . . He’s still pulling away from everybody when the race is over.’’

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.