ST. PETERSBURG — Ls Jack Williams grew up in the heart of Texas. He was whelped in Cameron and raised in Rosebud, the son of 2002 All-America sprinter and dual-stakes winner Dodgem By Design, greyhound racing's leading sire in 2009.
He arrived at Derby Lane last year, impressing Nova Kennel owner Hans Limmer with his speed. The dog's heart has been equally important. Five months after suffering a hairline fracture to a hock, Ls Jack Williams rewarded Limmer for his patience, winning the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile on May 15. His first career stakes win came in only his 13th career start and his seventh after a race-related injury.
"Our hearts dropped when he got hurt, (and) he healed up perfectly," said Limmer, 70. "He's got heart, and he's going to be a very, very good dog."
Three screws were inserted into Ls Jack Williams' right rear leg after the December accident, caused when a rival bumped him against the rail. He wore a cast for six weeks before trainer Rosa Gibbs began walking him 2 miles a day. "He didn't end up in the sprint path for a good two months, after the injury and the cast came off," she said. "If we had any chance with those screws in, we knew we had to take some time with him."
The 25-month-old sprinter returned in April. He finished first in two schooling races, and won three subsequent starts, including his first at Grade A in the Gold Trophy Juvenile's opening round May 1.
Ls Jack Williams got into the championship by a nose — the photo-finish result of his third-place outcome in the last qualifier. Fourth place would have left him out of the 550-yard title race. He was the least experienced finalist with the other dogs having at least 38 starts. But starting from his preferred No. 8 box, Ls Jack Williams led the entire race, holding off favorite Nicolaus Silver for his sixth lifetime victory. His winning time was a career-best 30.74 seconds. Nova also won the 2009 Gold Trophy Juvenile from the outside post with Hi Noon Rembrant.
Owned and raised by Peter Limmer, Hans' son, Ls Jack Williams was whelped by longtime breeder Phyllis Shuffield. He is the second pup out of the litter from Sport Rivera to win a stakes. Ls Lafave captured the $15,000 Mardi Gras Futurity on Jan. 23 at Hallandale Beach. "(Ls Jack Williams) broke in at St. Petersburg, and he's going to stay in St. Petersburg," Limmer said.
Ls Jack Williams' return has boosted Nova, mired in the bottom fourth of Derby Lane's 16-kennel standings since the meet began Jan. 1. Nova had only one Grade A win until Ls Jack Williams won twice in the Gold Trophy Juvenile. Nova's previous top-grade victory came Jan. 20 with Dr. Randy. Limmer said Ls Jack Williams will be nominated for the $8,000 T.L. Weaver Memorial Challenge that begins Wednesday.