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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Who could blame Kelsie Gubbels for having spring in her step Saturday as she walked her runners in the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile from the track back to Everett Racing kennel?

The operation started five greyhounds in the 80th annual event, and all five earned berths to Wednesday’s second round at Derby Lane.

“Puppy stakes is actually fun, because we like to break in the puppies,’’ said Gubbels, the trainer for the meet-leading kennel operated by Kelly Everett. “That’s always the fun part, and especially watching them grow up, too.’’

Everett Racing has not won a stakes at Derby Lane since its arrival May 2 from Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track in Bonita Springs, Fla. But it has made an impact. Entering this week, Everett Racing led the Tampa at Derby Lane meet kennel standings by a 190-139 margin over Lester Raines. The meet concludes Dec. 31.

“It’s kind of hard winning a stakes right now against Jiminy Reno and (RT’s) Bo Jangles,’’ said Gubbels, referring to the Cal Holland kennel standouts who are not eligible for the Gold Trophy. “Coming in (to Derby Lane), we knew that we had decent dogs, a lot of active dogs. So we were hoping to be successful that way.’’

Everett Racing has entries in the final two Gold Trophy Juvenile qualifying races. BD Monty (box 1), Flying Groom (2) and Flyin Artistry (6) start in Race 6 at 8:52 p.m.; and BD Wells (2) and Flying Covergirl (5) drew into Race 10 at 10:01 p.m.

The top four finishers in both races advance to the 550-yard championship event Saturday. First place pays $9,000.

BD Monty is the only dog among the five that won her first-round qualifying race Saturday. Her brother is BD Wells, who are 22-month-old dogs from a litter by stakes runners Fuzzys Cannon and BD Elizabeth. Fuzzys Cannon won the 2005 Matinee Idol Stakes for D’Arcy kennel at Derby Lane.

Another pair of littermates are Flyin Artistry and Flying Covergirl, who are 21-month-old females from stakes runner Barcelona Boss and Fly Sarah Palin. “They live next to each other,’’ Gubbels said. “They both have the same personality. Both are crazy in the kennel.’’

Flying Groom, who is from a litter by Kiowa Myth and Kiowa Bride, celebrated his second birthday this past Friday. “Groom has a hard time breaking, but he’s usually in the top four (20 times in 23 starts). He likes to play around in the pen, goes out by himself, and plays with us.’’

Each of the greyhounds has at least five victories. BD Monty is the leader with seven, including wins in his past two starts.

The 5-2 morning-line favorites in the two races are Lester Raines kennel’s B Norman Noel (Race 6) and Lashmet kennel’s LK’s Crush N It (10). Both greyhounds start from box 8 in their respective races.

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.