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Monday, August 19, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Flying Givenchy of Everett Racing kennel surged in the final yards Saturday to win the $8,000 T.L. Weaver Memorial Challenge at Derby Lane.

Bred and raised by Vince Berland of Abilene, Kan., Flying Givenchy overtook reigning meet win leader LK’s Crush N It, who set the pace as the 3-5 race favorite.

Flying Givenchy, a 25-month-old son of Barcelona Boss and Flying Blush, won by a half-length in 30.57 seconds on the 550-yard course. He paid $13.60 as the third wagering choice.

It was the first stakes title and 19th victory from 38 lifetime starts for Flying Givenchy. “I didn’t think he could catch that 8-dog (LK’s Crush N It),’’ kennel operator Kelly Everett said. “The last time they ran together, he was gaining, but couldn’t catch up to (LK’s Crush N It, who beat Flying Givenchy by 2 lengths Wednesday in the T.L. Weaver qualifying round). But he got lucky. Every dog has his day, right?’’

LK’s Crush N It, a two-time stakes winner for Lashmet kennel, led by three lengths at the first race call. But Flying Givenchy gradually cut into that deficit. The two greyhounds were on even terms entering the stretch, and Flying Givenchy hit the finish line first to finish off the stretch duel.

Flying Givenchy earned $3,200. Trainer Kelsie Gubbels and Everett were presented a trophy by Derby Lane vice president Louise Weaver, great-granddaughter of T.L. Weaver, the track founder.

Deco Colt Gun (Nova kennel), the current Tampa at Derby Lane meet win leader, finished third – four lengths behind. Flamenco Dancer (Farmer Racing) was fourth followed by TNT Sherlock (Patriot), Deco Gatling Gun (Nova), LK’s Santorini (Lashmet) and Amazing Glavine (Bartley Corporation).

The T.L. Weaver was the first of 12 stakes races at Derby Lane for the 2019-20 season. Stakes action resumes next month with the $50,000 Husker Magic Fall Sprint on Sept. 14-28.

“(Flying Givenchy) will be here for the next stakes race,’’ Everett said.

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.