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Monday, August 21, 2017

The Derby Lane 2017-18 stakes schedule opened with a stunner Saturday night when Farmer Racing kennel’s Hkf Betty Lou scored the biggest upset in a St. Petersburg championship race in at least 15 years with a box-to-wire 2-1/2-length victory in the $8,000 T.L. Weaver Memorial Challenge.

The longest shot of eight greyhounds in the field at 25-1, HKF Betty Lou defeated TMC’s Moonbeam of Steubenville kennel in 30.27 seconds on the 550-yard course. It was her second best career clocking from 58 races on the sprint track (she ran a 30.23 in December 2016).

HKF Betty Lou, a 29-month-old female from a litter by Bella Infrared and HKF Sweetaboutu, paid $52.20 to win – sparking a $1 superfecta payout of $30,221.20 on the 3-4-1-7 combination. RT’s Bo Jangles, the prohibitive 2-5 favorite who had won his past five races from Cal Holland kennel, broke last and eventually finished third.

The remaining order of finish: Fiesta Indiana (Burk Greyhounds kennel), Barts Mr Peabody (Bartley Corporation), SE’s Wepon X (Nova), Po Dunk (Alderson) and CTW Party Animal (Clear The Way Kennels).

“I knew when (HKF Betty Lou) drew the 3-hole, she had to outbreak the 1 (RT’s Bo Jangles),’’ kennel owner-trainer John Farmer said. “She’s usually tough to catch if she gets in front.’’

Owned by Ohio greyhound breeder Richard Knauff, HKF Betty Lou earned $3,200. She won for the 13th time from 68 starts.

Since 2004-05, a total of 154 stakes finals have been held at Derby Lane, and HKF Betty Lou’s payout for a $2 win mutuel tops the list. The previous high win price during that span was $41.80 by D’Arcy kennel’s Kinloch Brae in the 2008 Sprint Classic.

Derby Lane vice president Louise Weaver, great-granddaughter of the late T.L. Weaver, made the trophy presentation.

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.