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Oct 26, 2020

Lester Raines generated its own brand of Super Tuesday at Derby Lane.

In one of the most astonishing accomplishments in the modern era at the Florida West Coast greyhound track, the reigning meet kennel champion nearly pulled off the improbable on this past Tuesday’s matinee performance – winning all but one race it entered.

Lester Raines captured nine races with its 10 starters. Yes, nine of 10 . . . and its other dog ran third.

“I guess it probably would have been the day to buy a lottery ticket,’’ said Gary Reicherts, a septuagenarian who bred four of the winning greyhounds on Lester Raines’ iconic day.

Under the guidance of kennel manager and trainer Anthony Diaz, Lester Raines won three consecutive races in three different stages of the 15-race card with victories in Races 1-3, 5-7, and 13-15.

The performance erased the track’s previous modern-day record of wins by a kennel for one performance on March 14, when the Hans Limmer-owned Nova kennel registered eight victories.

Prior to Nova’s big effort, two kennels had recorded seven wins on one card in the past 11 years: Everett Racing on June 22, 2019, and Filipelli & O’Donnell kennel on June 16, 2009.

“(This past Tuesday) wasn’t one of my better days in life, and I come home and I (look at the results) and go win, win, win, win. . . . Jeepers! It definitely brightened up my day.’’

Reicherts, who breeds and raises greyhounds on his farm in Osage, Iowa, with wife Beverly and daughter Angie, starred on the performance with the four winners: littermates O Ya Bartender (Maiden, $10.40 to win) and O Ya Bree (Grade D, $4.20), along with O Ya Praire Wind (D, $6.80), and O Ya Shady Lady (D, $5.20).

The first three greyhounds were sired by Oya Stan The Man, one of Reicherts’ all-time best athletes that gave Mick D’Arcy his only St. Petersburg top-dog win title as a Derby Lane kennel owner in the January-to-June 2016 meet. In that season, Oya Stan The Man parlayed a $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby championship into All-America first-team honors.

Lester Raines’ other victories were produced by Dutch Blair (C, $7.60), owned by Jo Ann Koerner; JS Bizzyasabee (A, $6.40), owned by Sharon Henry; PJ Show Time (D, $8.40), owned by Gloria Dorsey and William McCarthy; Super C Aneeta (C, $9.40), owned by Cole Kennel; and Jax Score (C, $8), owned by Michael Jackson and Henry.

The only Lester Raines dog to lose was Grade A sprinter O Ya Flo, another daughter of Oya Stan The Man and bred by Reicherts. O Ya Flo finished third, four lengths behind Everett Racing’s Turbo Baylor in one of Derby Lane’s largest upsets of the year. Turbo Baylor, the longest shot on the tote board at 63-1, paid $129.80 to win for a $2 ticket.

The nine victories were part of a massive 24-win week for Lester Raines, which won at least three races on five of the seven performances. It moved into third place in the Derby Lane kennel standings with 162 victories. Everett Racing is the leader at 175.

“I feel very proud of my dogs,’’ Reicherts said. “I know some of them had favorable holes (that day).

“Anthony is doing a very good job with my dogs. I’ve never met him personally, but he took over as head trainer (earlier this year) and I can tell he really likes the dogs.’’

Diaz replaced Jennifer Richardson as Lester Raines’ trainer when she moved to Virginia.

“I was very, very happy with Jennifer,’’ Reicherts said. “She did a very good job with my dogs, too.’’

Michael Strickland of Abilene, Kan. is Reicherts’ go-to guy who gets the greyhounds prepared for competitive racing.

“I’ve been very fortunate, and have dealt with other kennels before (at Derby Lane),’’ Reicherts said. “Mick D’Arcy did a wonderful job with my dogs, and did a heck of a job with Oya Stan The Man; and Lester Raines is very relaxing to work with.

“We spend a lot of times with our greyhounds, and they give us back a lot of enjoyment.’’

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