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Feb 18, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The $64,000 Sprint Classic featured a familiar theme on Saturday at Derby Lane.

All four first-round winners led at every race call in the track’s premier 550-yard stakes series.

Lester Raines kennel’s O Ya Hot Rod, Shoot The Breeze of Floyd, and Lashmet’s LK’s Crush N It and LK’s Santorini defeated their respective opponents by a total of 15-1/2-lengths to earn 16 points apiece.

The 32-dog field will be reduced to 16 after qualifying on Wednesday in Races 4 (8:10 p.m.), 6 (8:39), 8 (9:13) and 10 (9:47). Two ensuing rounds will determine finalists for the Feb. 29 championship race. Greyhounds accumulate points in each qualifier based on order of finish on a scale of 16-10-8-6-3-2-1-0. First place pays $25,000.

“The better dogs won the races, and the favorites all pretty much came in as expected,’’ Derby Lane racing secretary Les Robison said.

Of the four winners, only O Ya Hot Rod was not the public’s wagering favorite. He was the 7-2 second choice and paid $9 to win. Breaking from box 6, the 39-month-old male from a litter by Defrim Bale and O Ya Cindra prevailed by one length in 30.62 seconds under trainer Jennifer Richardson.

Shoot The Breeze provided the most impressive performance with an eight-length romp out of post 8 in 30.07 seconds, the third fastest time of the meet. The 28-month-old son of Trent Lee and Danicas Go Daddy paid $2.60 as the prohibitive wagering choice for trainer Randy Floyd.

LK’s Crush N It, the reigning national win champion and winner of four career stakes, clocked the second fastest time at 30.22 seconds out of box 3 for trainer Ken Deacon. He won by 4-1/2 lengths and returned $2.80 to win. It was the 70th career triumph from 99 starts for the 38-month-old male from a litter by LK’s Now R Never and LK’s All In.

LK’s Santorini, a 34-month-old daughter of LK’s Vespar and LK’s Chardonnay, prevailed by two lengths in 30.57 seconds under Deacon. Starting from post 6, LK’s Santorini returned $4 to win. On Wednesday, Shoot The Breeze (box 2), LK’s Santorini (3) and O Ya Hot Rod (7) drew into Race 10, while LK’s Crush N It drew post 7 in Race 6.

“I’m looking forward to Wednesday,’’ Robison said. “The 10th race has got three winners. That could be an exciting race depending on the break. Any one of the three that won the first round could possibly win the second round.’’

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