Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lester Raines kennel enjoying success at Derby Lane

ST. PETERSBURG — Life in the 60s was a treat for Ken and Jeanne Lesperance.

Sixty wins in August have elevated their Lester Raines kennel to the top of the standings at Derby Lane.

"We just keep knocking on wood, trying not to think about it," said Jeanne, whose husband, Ken, is the kennel manager and trainer. "(The dogs) have been flying so hard. We are so pleased with the way they are running."

Lester Raines is no stranger to success at Derby Lane. In eight meets since 2004, it has finished third to eighth in wins. It is the only kennel to win a stakes at St. Petersburg in each of the past five seasons. The accomplishments haven't come easily. Many of the operation's top greyhounds run at West Virginia casino tracks Tri-State and Wheeling Island, where purses are substantially higher. Raines' home track is Tri-State near Charleston, where he won an unprecedented 20th consecutive kennel title in 2007.

When the Derby Lane meet got under way, Lester Raines had several new litters of pups to develop. At least six higher-grade dogs were sidelined by injury. Lester Raines was fourth in the 16-kennel standings on Aug. 1, 10 wins behind defending champion Patriot. But the youthful greyhounds began maturing, and nicked-up dogs like Far Site Better, Kelsos Ace High, Kelsos Devil Era and Poppys Pick returned. The 52-dog operation has rolled since, entering Friday with a 106-94 win lead over Patriot.

Four Grade A sprinters have carried the load. Uss Gazillionair and littermates Kiowa Lazy Larry, Kiowa Lazy Lazy and Kiowa Lazy Lott have combined for 24 victories, 18 at Grade A. Lester Raines is first in Grade A wins with 27.

"Thank God we've got dogs that can win back-to-back (Grade) A's because that's where your money is," Jeanne said. "So many of our dogs are not short in sprints (550 yards), almost all of them come from behind. If you let them around third or fourth (on the first turn), they're going to give you a run for the money."

In August, Lester Raines had at least one victory in 27 of 34 performances, including 22 multiple-win showings. Twice, it won four races on a card. Lester Raines didn't win more than 10 races in any of the meet's first five weeks, but had 15, 15, 11 and 16 victories in the past four weeks. Lester Raines has 575 starts, 172 fewer than Patriot. Its win percentage is 18.4 and in-the-money percentage (top-four finish) is 59.1.

"Being on top is nice," Jeanne said, "but it's more important that we're making enough money that (Raines) can pay the bills and we can pay our bills."

NOTES: Elizabeth Carter has joined Filipelli kennel as a trainer. … Derby Lane will host a Labor Day 15-race matinee performance Monday with first post at 12:30 p.m. There will be no evening performance. The track will remain open for poker and simulcast wagering.

Lester Raines kennel enjoying success at Derby Lane 09/03/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 3, 2010 10:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Nature Coast puts unbeaten streak on the line vs. IMG White

    Footballpreps

    BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast currently rides a 22-game regular-season win streak, but first-year football coach Cory Johns was not around for any of those wins. Neither was most of his coaching staff. This is an entirely new campaign with new obstacles ahead.

    Nature Coast offensive lineman Louis Miele (66) blocks a Sunlake defensive player during the Clash 4 Clayton football scrimmage and fundraiser at Springstead High School Spring Hill, Fla. on Saturday, August 12, 2017.
  2. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season

    Footballpreps

    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.
  3. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined

    Bucs

    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]
  4. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch

    Footballpreps

    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.
  5. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    During a 20-minute team meeting Tuesday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter decided to turn the discussion to social issues and whether players are expected to stand for the national anthem.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]