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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – It began with the night’s closest finish – Deco All Redd’s first career win by a nose.

By the end of the night, Nova kennel wound up being second to none.

For the first time in modern-day history, a Derby Lane operation won eight races on a single program. Nova’s accomplishment on this past Saturday’s evening performance covered all five graded levels, highlighted by wins with its first six starters.

Few could see the record-setting effort by Nova coming. Entering the night’s 15-race program, Nova ranked 12th among 14 kennels with 48 wins. Kennel owner Hans Limmer had 11 greyhounds entered - 10 in 550-yard sprints – and most of them shined when the lights came on under the guidance of trainer Missy Kubitz.

Deco All Redd’s come-from-behind win in Race 2, a Grade M sprint, was the first of six victories in consecutive races for Nova. Deco All Redd, competing in his fifth lifetime race, paid $6.40 to win – one of five Nova favorites to prevail on the program.

Another favorite, Hi Noon Ruger, followed with a 5-1/2-length win at Grade C and paid $5.20. Turbo Finley then pulled off a two-length triumph at Grade B and returned $11.40.

Dancin Lee continued the trend with a two-length victory at Grade D in Race 5, paying $9.20. Finish Him then picked up his first career Grade A win by 2-1/2 lengths and returned $12.80. Send Overnight extended Nova’s win streak in Race 7 with a half-length triumph at Grade D, paying $6.40 as the favorite.

Nova suffered its first loss in Race 8, but Deco Gatling Gun put the kennel back in the winner’s circle in the following race with an eight-length Grade A romp, returning $5.60 as the favorite.

Nova then had three more opportunities to set the modern-day mark, and it took the final one to pull off the feat. After losing Races 10 and 12, Turbo Ferris rallied for a 3-1/2-length Grade C win in Race 14 – paying $4.20 as the favorite – to give Nova a page in Derby Lane’s record book.

Edward Gardner, Robert Hardison and David Hays each owned two of the winners, while Charles Haliburton III and Peter Limmer each were owners of a winner.

Only two kennels in modern-day history had won seven races in one performance. Three-time defending kennel champion Everett Racing was the most recent operation to win seven, that coming on June 22, 2019. Filipelli & O’Donnell kennel was the previous one with seven victories on June 16, 2009.

LANDMARK VICTORY. All-America first-team sprinter LK’s Crush N It of Lashmet kennel reached his 75th career win Monday with a four-length Grade A victory at Derby Lane. Trained by Ken Deacon for breeders and kennel operators John and Jill Lashmet of Eaton, Colo., LK’s Crush N It attained his milestone victory in start No. 106. The 39-month-old son of LK’s Now R Never and LK’s All In is the reigning national win leader and five-time stakes champion.

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.