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It took a season and more to determine a champ

After more than 100 games during the winter season at Tampa Jai-Alai, it still came down to the final one to determine who would finish with most wins overall.

Neither won that game as Aitor scored a perfect game to eliminate Elgueta and Iruta, forcing a tiebreaker. Iruta held the advantage because of his 144 second-place finishes, compared with Elgueta's 133. It was only the second time in Tampa Jai-Alai history that a player has won back-to-back triple crowns. Iruta finished with 186 wins.

The only other player to capture overall wins, singles and frontcourt championships in consecutive seasons was Bolivar, who won three in a row from 1976 through 1979 and five during his nine seasons at Tampa Jai-Alai.

Iruta easily won the championship game singles and backcourt doubles titles. Iruta had 54 singles victories to Elgueta's 41 and edged Elgueta 36-33. Late gamer Areitio won the championship frontcourt doubles title with 38 wins to Rufino's 31.

Summer session: The 1995 Summer Season begun Saturday afternoon will continue until Dec. 30 with a monthlong break in October. The schedule will remain the same, with matinees every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at noon and night games beginning at 6:45 p.m. each Monday and Wednesday through Saturday.

Pepsi splash: The second Pepsi Jai-Alai Championship among Tampa, Orlando and Ocala will be held Aug. 11 in Ocala, Aug. 18 in Orlando and Aug. 25 in Tampa. Areitio and Iruta are expected to compete.

Gorgeous Belle: Derby Lane's Belle Bop (Beckner Kennel) won the 69th annual St. Petersburg Derby late Friday night. Belle Bop, a red brindle 66-pound female, broke sharply from the one box and took a long lead. Forever Flashy (Journigan Kennel) raced hard to force the pace. Down the homestretch, Greys Mardigras (Greymeadow Kennel) overtook Forever Flashy and set her sights on Belle Bop. But Belle Bop lasted long enough, winning on the ]-mile course in 37.81. Belle Bop paid $15.40, $6.20 and $3.20.

A runaway: Runaway Romance (E. J. Alderson Kennel) finished second in race 10 but remained the track wins champion with 21 at Derby Lane.

Northern Star: Pro's Hey Jude (Pro Racing Kennel) went north to capture two races in a row at the Grady Memorial Stake at the Wonderland Track in Massachusetts. Pro's Hey Jude won in the Gold Trophy Jevenile Stake at Derby Lane last month.

Golden night: More than 5,841 spectators came out for the last night of racing at Derby Lane on Friday night. The handle was $455,376, the ITW was $535,609 and the total was $990,985.

Gaining ground: New ITW outlets for Derby Lane include Acapulco, Mexico; Las Vegas Hilton and Tucson, Ariz. That gives Derby Lane 96 outlets.

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