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Monday, September 14, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The late Patsy Cline put Winchester, Va., on the map eight decades ago with her exceptional country music singing.

TS Patsy Cline, a greyhound who was named after the legendary artist, hit all the right notes this past Saturday at Derby Lane.

Her maiden-breaking, 10-length victory ignited a four-win evening performance for Abernathy kennel, launching the operation into a first-place tie with Everett Racing in the highly-competitive kennel standings at Derby Lane. Abernathy, which is owned by Jim and Kayruth Abernathy, tied Everett – each with 108 victories in the July-to-December meet. Abernathy was one of only two of the 14 kennels to record at least 10 wins during the previous week’s seven performances (Watson Racing led with 13 victories).

Everett Racing, which held first place by itself the past week under kennel owner Kelly Everett and trainer Kelsie Gubbels, is gunning for its first kennel championship since winning three six-month meet crowns in a row in 2018-19. Abernathy has finished second in a kennel race three times since 2004, including a runner-up showing to Everett Racing in 2019.

TS Patsy Cline’s win as the prohibitive 1-2 favorite was followed by victories from Craigie Zumba ($10.40 to win), Finlandia ($22.80) and JPRG Lone Star ($10). The four Abernathy 550-yard sprinters won by a combined 23-1/2 lengths.

Patsy Cline, the artist, began singing in 1954 and died in a 1963 plane crash in Camden, Tenn., at age 30. A 1973 inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ms. Cline had hits like Crazy, I Fall to Pieces, She’s Got You, and Sweet Dreams.

TS Patsy Cline, the greyhound, also has been a favorite among her fans. The 59-pound athlete began racing in July at Wheeling Island in West Virginia, where she made five schooling races before being shipped to Derby Lane. TS Patsy Cline’s only schooling race at Derby Lane came on Aug. 28, when she won in box-to-wire fashion by 12 lengths for owners Carl Tomblin and Steve Sarras.

The 21-month-old daughter of Superior Panama and Ty Law has been the wagering favorite in all four official starts since. After finishing third in her career debut, TS Patsy Cline posted a pair of seconds before breaking her maiden on Saturday – clocking the 550-yard course in 31.53 seconds.

Capabal kennel ranks third in the kennel standings with 106 victories.

Defending champion Lester Raines and Nova are tied for fourth at 104. Derby Lane features seven 15-race performances weekly with Monday-through-Saturday matinees, and a Saturday evening card.

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.