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. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  2. Florida softball returns to World Series; FSU baseball in ACC title game


    GAINESVILLE — Florida defeated Alabama 2-1 Saturday to win the deciding Game 3 of their softball Super Region, putting the Gators in the Women's College World Series for the eighth time in program history.

    ’NOLE POWER: FSU’s Dylan Busby, right, is congratulated by teammate Taylor Walls after Busby’s homer against Duke.
  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Christian to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a perfect 30-0 …

    Matheu Nelson of Calvary Christian celebrates scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning.
  4. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …