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Monday, June 3, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The proverbial freight train that can be heard on Florida’s West Coast may not be one’s imagination.

The sound is being created by Everett Racing kennel, whose recent surge has it in position to win a second consecutive win championship at Derby Lane.

For the past four months, owner Kelly Everett’s operation – which set a six-month meet record for victories at 337 in the most recently completed July to December meet for its first Derby Lane title – trailed Lashmet kennel.

Through April, Everett Racing was 16 wins behind Lashmet, which is seeking its first St. Petersburg crown under kennel owner John Lashmet. That deficit was wiped out in May, when Everett Racing greyhounds won 55 races in 32 performances to overtake Lashmet.

Led by kennel manager and trainer Kelsie Gubbels, Everett Racing overtook Lashmet for the lead in the kennel standings this past Wednesday with a six-win performance – the most wins by any kennel on one card at the current six-month meet that concludes June 29. Entering Monday, Everett Racing enjoyed a 232-228 lead over Lashmet.

Everett Racing had been chasing Lashmet for most of the meet. Everett Racing’s 49-45 lead at the end of January quickly disappeared with Lashmet and kennel manager and trainer Ken Deacon taking charge. Led by two-time stakes champion LK’s Crush N It (winner of the $64,000 Sprint Classic and the $18,000 1925 Historical Inaugural), Lashmet had been on cruise control toward a possible win title until Everett Racing got white hot.

LK’s Crush N It leads Lashmet this meet with 26 victories, and has all but wrapped up the kennel’s first top dog title with an 11-win margin over O Ya Ice Man of Lester Raines kennel.

The only other kennel with more than 200 victories is Abernathy, which had 208 for kennel owners Jim and Kayruth Abernathy.

Lashmet also was first in top-grade wins with 74, three ahead of Lester Raines. Jennifer Richardson is the kennel manager and trainer for Lester Raines.

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.