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)

Kelsos Ace High's unmatched speed offers advantage in Distance Classic at Derby Lane

ST. PETERSBURG — His cruising speed is comparable to many. His top speed is second to none.

Kelsos Ace High is the greyhound to beat in the 52nd annual $80,000 Distance Classic, Derby Lane's richest stakes that begins tonight.

"Ace is getting so much faster, he scares me," Lester Raines kennel assistant manager Jeanne Lesperance said. "He's one of those dogs that you hold your breath when he runs."

Kelsos Ace High is the track's ace under trainer Ken Lesperance, Jeanne's husband. He leads the meet with 11 victories. He has clocked six of the top-10 times at 660 yards, including a season-best 37.13 seconds on March 9. He specializes in coming from behind, rallying for 19 of his 25 career victories.

"His extra gear usually kicks in at the head of the homestretch," Jeanne said. "He starts to motivate it in the middle of the far turn. I think Ace is the fastest three-eighths (mile) dog here, but what we really want is some luck."

The distance-course dynamo has won 22 of 46 starts at 660 yards or longer. He is 3-for-16 at 550. Kelsos Ace High's pedigree is excellent. His sire, former sprinter Kelsos Fusileer, raced in the inaugural Derby Lane Million in 2006. Kelsos Picilino, his dam, was a marathon performer.

Kelsos Ace High is owned by sexagenarian John Kelly, who owns a breeding farm with wife Elizabeth in Farmingdale, N.J.

"John has raised some nice dogs over the years and is a big advocate of adopting every single dog he owns through New Jersey," Jeanne said.

This is the third stakes for Kelsos Ace High, who arrived at Derby Lane in 2010 after a brief stint at Wheeling Island (W.Va.). He finished second in the $75,000 660-Yard Challenge on Dec. 18. Last summer, the 76-pound greyhound was injured in his stakes debut, the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby. Kelsos Ace High was knocked into the inner rail, cutting his left front stifle joint (knee). He required stitches and missed seven weeks.

"We babied him along since he was so young," Jeanne said. "Because he's a mellow dog he could have lost interest real quick."

Lester Raines, the defending kennel champion, has never won the Distance Classic. Kelsos Ace High drew box 7 in Race 10 (10:11 p.m.). Morning-line favorites in the other qualifiers: McAllister kennel's Flying Masago (Race 4), D'Arcy's Midnight Light (Race 6) and Red Oak Racing's Hammered Tight (Race 8). After four qualifying rounds, eight of the 32 entries will advance to the 660-yard finale April 9. First place plays $32,000.

STATE RULING: Ronnie Williams, the Ebro Greyhound Park trainer found responsible for the deaths of 37 greyhounds last year, had his license permanently revoked and was fined $170,000 recently by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. The fine is the largest assessed against an individual licensee.

Kelsos Ace High's unmatched speed offers advantage in Distance Classic at Derby Lane 03/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 25, 2011 9:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season


    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  2. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined


    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  3. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch


    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  4. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues


    Four days before their preseason home opener against the Cleveland Browns, which had 12 players not stand for the national anthem prior to their last game, the Bucs used their team meeting to discuss social issues that might have led to that demonstration, coach Dirk Koetter said.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]
  5. Rookie tight end Antony Auclair making case to stick with Bucs


    Don't let his modest preseason stats fool you: Antony Auclair, the undrafted rookie tight end from Canada is making a strong case to stick around on the Bucs' 53-man roster this season.

    Bucs tight end Antony Auclair (82) collides with a defender following a catch during training camp. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]