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Friday, February 8, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A week before Derby Lane kicks off its most lucrative 550-yard stakes race, the $64,000 Sprint Classic, a pair of sprinters stepped into the spotlight on Thursday’s matinee performance.

Jiminy Reno, the national win leader for 2018, collected his 50th career victory with a four-length Grade A victory. Derby Lane’s defending two-time meet win leader reached the milestone in his 99th start for Cal Holland kennel.

The 33-month-old male from a litter by Alivefortomorrow and Oceania is owned by siblings Kathleen Hastings of Abilene, Kan., and James Morgan of Colorado Springs, Colo.

LK’s Crush N It maintained his outstanding form in another Grade A sprint for Lashmet kennel. The 26-month-old son of LK’s Now R Never and LK’s All In took over the meet win lead with a box-to-wire 7-1/2-length triumph. It was his fourth consecutive win and 12th victory in 13 starts. In his three prior starts, LK’s Crush N It set a season best clocking each time at 30.32, 30.28 and 30.15 seconds – winning those races by a combined 29 lengths.

He has seven victories in the meet that began Jan. 1, one more than O Ya Smack Down of Lester Raines kennel.

Ken Deacon trains LK’s Crush N It, who was bred by owners John and Jill Lashmet of Fort Lupton, Colo.

The Sprint Classic begins its first of four qualifying rounds on Feb. 16. The championship race is March 2.

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.