Greyhound News
Back to News » New Grand Finale Derby to start at Derby Lane
Friday, December 18, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Derby Lane kicks off its first stakes race in 10 months on Saturday with the Grand Finale Derby, a new 550-yard sprint series.

The first round features 32 greyhounds in Races 4 (1:10 p.m.), 6 (1:39), 8 (2:13) and 10 (2:47) on the 15-race matinee performance. First post for Saturday is 12:30.

The Grand Finale Derby resumes Wednesday with Round 2, and the championship race is scheduled for a rare Sunday matinee performance on Dec. 27, the final day of the six-month meet. All eight dogs that compete in the title race will receive shares of a purse structure which totals a combined payout of $30,000.

Derby Lane has not offered a stakes race since February, when 2019 All-America first-team member LK’s Crush N It of Lashmet kennel captured the $64,000 Sprint Classic, his second consecutive crown in Derby Lane’s richest 550 series.

The coronavirus pandemic wiped out the $75,000 Distance Classic, the $20,000 Remembrance, the $25,000 St. Petersburg Derby and the $5,000 St. Petersburg Consolation Derby between March and June. No stakes races were scheduled after that until Saturday.

LK’s Crush N It is one of the entries in the Grand Finale Derby, and drew box 3 in Race 4. The male from a litter by LK’s Now R Never and LK’s All In has 92 career victories from 151 starts, including wins in his past three outings. He is trained by kennel manager Ken Deacon for breeders and owners John and Jill Lashmet of Eaton, Colo. LK’s Crush N It, a five-time stakes winner, celebrates his fourth birthday on Tuesday.

Another strong contender is kennelmate LK’s Santorini, who has the same connections. The 44-month-old daughter of LK’s Vespar and LK’s Chardonnay will start from box 4 in Race 8. She has won her past two starts following a four-week rest, and appears headed toward a first meet win title with a 19-15 lead over Nova kennel’s Deco Colt Gun, who is not entered in the Grand Finale Derby.

LK’s Santorini, a lifetime winner of 67 of 145 races, started the year with her only stakes championship to date in the $18,000 1925 Historical Inaugural on Jan. 4.

Lashmet kennel has won Derby Lane’s past three stakes races and four of five since Oct. 26, 2019.

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.