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Monday, August 10, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – It is a family affair at Derby Lane . . . and Nova kennel owner Hans Limmer couldn’t be any happier.

Hi Noon Ruger, Hi Noon Ricochet and Hi Noon Recoil – all from a litter by two-time All-America first-team member SH Avatar and Hi Noon Wheezy – have entered the spotlight in the July-to-December meet.

On Monday, Hi Noon Ruger led the win standings by a 6-5 margin over Hi Noon Ricochet. Hi Noon Recoil had clocked the fastest 550-yard time of 30.26 seconds on July 18 in an 11-length Grade A victory.

Their efforts have led Nova to third place in the 14-kennel standings with 60 victories, behind reigning champion Lester Raines (71) and Abernathy (61).

All three 29-month-old greyhounds are making their second appearances at Derby Lane. After starting their respective careers at the West Coast Florida facility in October, 2019, the dogs were moved two months later to Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque, Texas. Limmer brought his athletes back to Derby Lane this past March, and they have flourished under trainer Missy Kubitz.

Hi Noon Ruger, a 550-yard specialist who has won 15 of 32 career starts, is nearly perfect at the current Derby Lane meet. The female has six victories from eight appearances by a total of 23-1/2 lengths. Her two losses – both second-place showings – were by a nose and a neck. Hi Noon Ruger’s best time is 30.41 seconds on Aug. 1. She has won her past two races.

All of Hi Noon Ruger’s wins for this meet have been at Grade A, Derby Lane’s top grade. Nova is the front-runner in Grade A wins with 25, 11 in front of Lester Raines. Hi Noon Ricochet’s five wins at the meet also have been solely against Grade A company. The male sprinter has made eight starts with one second, that coming in his most recent race this past Saturday. Hi Noon Ricochet’s best 550 time has been 30.56 seconds in a July 6 Grade A triumph. He has 15 lifetime victories from 36 starts.

Hi Noon Recoil’s meet-best time was in one of three victories at this meet, all at Grade A. The male sprinter has won 14 of 33 lifetime starts.

The trio is part of a seven-dog litter owned by Charles Haliburton III. Three other littermates have displayed talent at Derby Lane, with Hi Noon Revolt and Hi Noon Revolver competing at the Grade A level, and Hi Noon Revenge advancing to Grade B. High-performing Hi Noon athletes are nothing new to Nova, which captured a kennel win championship in the July-to-December 2016 meet.

Hi Noon Renegade, a standout 550 sprinter who ran at Derby Lane in 2010-12, finished second in the meet win standings twice for Nova in the two six-month meets in 2011.

That was Hi Noon Renegade’s best season, when he claimed his two stakes crowns in the $64,000 Sprint Classic and the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile, and was chosen to the All-America eight-member first team. Also owned by Haliburton, Hi Noon Renegade won 56 of 100 career starts.

Derby Lane features seven weekly performances with matinee racing Monday through Saturday, 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.