Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Holland legacy with Patriot kennel firm at Derby Lane

ST. PETERSBURG — As he reflected on his most recent kennel title, Cal Holland Jr. looked toward the grandstand at Derby Lane. Several decades ago he sat in those upper-level seats, clocking greyhounds in unofficial schooling races for his grandfather.

"We were just kids back then," Holland said.

Now 47, Holland has gone from grandstand to grandeur. In the past 87 years at Derby Lane, no one has won more races in one year than Holland, who enters his second season as the manager-trainer for Patriot kennel.

"I knew (the Patriot job) would be good, but I didn't know it would be this great," he said. "That's why I took this job: to win races, to be first (in the standings), and to do the best job I could."

Patriot's second consecutive kennel championship and third overall was practically a carbon copy of its previous one. Led by top dog and All-America candidate Venus Espinosa, Patriot won the six-month meet (ended Dec. 31) with 325 victories, 64 ahead of McAllister. While the total fell short of its track-record 333 wins in the January-to-June meet (Patriot beat McAllister by 63), the kennel won 658 races in 4,668 starts over 12 months to set a record for victories during that span. McAllister held the previous mark with 643 wins from 3,182 starts in 2007-08.

"Quality and quantity are foremost," Holland said. "My boss (Vinny Savill of Whitman, Mass.) supplies me with great dogs, and I believe in keeping as many active dogs (68) as I can. I am very hands-on and I'm trying to get my help to be very hands-on."

Venus Espinosa won top-dog status with 26 victories from 41 starts, highlighted by a win in the $50,000 Fall Sprint Stakes on Sept. 29. The 39-month-old male out of a litter by Kiowa Mon Manny and Sol Venus put together a nine-race win streak that started in his final start of the previous meet, and clocked two of the top four 550-yard times (30.40 and 30.46 seconds). Venus Espinosa was nearly retired with an ankle injury before returning in April.

Holland said Venus Espinosa, who goes for his 50th career victory Monday in the $10,000 Matinee Idol Stakes (Race 10, 2:47 p.m.), is one of the best dogs he has worked with. Others were Joe Hearns of Floyd & Porter kennel, and Alabama Tide and Evening Memory, both associated with his father, Cal Holland.

"Venus Espinosa is one very special animal," Cal Jr. said.

Brothers Art Allen (14 wins) and Art Alex (12) gave Patriot three of the top nine winners at the meet. The best times were clocked by Lester Raines' Mrl No Access (30.39 seconds at 550 yards) and Pauline O'Donnell's Tmc's Roxslide (37.24 at 660).

HORSES: Tampa Bay Downs leading operation Midwest Thoroughbreds is a top candidate to win an Eclipse Award for owner tonight at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach.

Holland legacy with Patriot kennel firm at Derby Lane 01/18/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 18, 2013 10:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No. 12 FSU, freshman QB James Blackman struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State


    TALLAHASSEE — Whatever was left of No. 12 Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes suffered a massive, likely fatal, blow Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  2. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off


    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH:

  4. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  5. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national anthem …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]