Greyhound News
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The mechanical lure began its journey around the Derby Lane track on Saturday and Don Burk waited for Wide Open to make her debut in the $20,000 Remembrance Stakes. Burk didn’t say anything as he watched the TV monitor. The starting box opened, and Burk remained quiet. After Wide Open proceeded to win by 2 lengths, Burk finally broke his silence.

“I’m in shock,’’ said Burk, the ABC Racing kennel manager. “That one really surprised me. . . . I’m in shock.’’

Wide Open continues her pursuit Wednesday for a berth in the May 27 championship race as the 550-yard event enters second-round qualifying.

Trained by Shannon Shull, Wide Open is one of the early surprises in the Remembrance. The second of two entries by Burk, Wide Open is in a first-place tie in the points standings after her win at 11-1 odds. Another victory, worth 16 points, would ensure her a spot in the title race.

Wide Open, whose female littermate Son Shine also won a first-round qualifier, broke third from the No. 7 box and reached the finish line first in 30.93 seconds. “That’s probably one of the best races I’ve ever seen her run in her life,’’ Burk said.

Two months ago, Wide Open was competing at 660 yards before Burk put her back on the sprint course The 68-pound dog entered the Remembrance off a box-to-wire 2-1/2-length victory at Grade B. Wide Open was bred by owner William O’Donnell and his North Shore Kennel Of Lynn operation in Massachusetts.

Wide Open, a 25-month-old daughter out of stakes runner Jennah, is by SH Avatar, a two-time All-America first-team selection in 2012-13. SH Avatar won back-to-back editions of the $500,000 Iowa Breeders Classic and also captured the $60,000 Team Survivor Stakes at Bluffs Run in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The standout sprinter was chosen the Bluffs Run Greyhound of the Year in 2012.

Wide Open drew box 4 Wednesday in Race 8 (9:13 p.m.).

The 32-dog field will be reduced to 16 after Round 2. Eight greyhounds with the most total points after four rounds advance to the finale, which pays $9,000 to the winner.

Son Shine starts in Race 10 (9:47) out of post 5.

Abernathy kennel’s Imark Hershey, another first-round upset winner at 13-1 odds, goes for another victory in Race 4 (8:17) from the 8 box. The other first-round winner, CBJ Buttercup of Xtrem Racing, also is in Race 4 and wears the No. 1 blanket.

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.