ST. PETERSBURG — Jeanne Lesperance says the only way to differentiate between littermates Kelsos Hathaway and Kelsos Scotsclan is by the coarse hair one has on its back.
She hopes the pups can stay the course in the championship race of the $20,000 Fall Juvenile Stakes tonight at Derby Lane. Both 550-yard specialists led qualifiers in points, with Kelsos Hathaway earning 50 and Kelsos Scotsclan 39.
"They pretty much have the same running style, and both have a lot of guts and speed," said Lesperance, who manages Lester Raines Kennel with husband Ken. "Raw-speedwise, Scotsclan is faster. If you run them in a two-dog race, Scotsclan is going to beat Hathaway eight times out of 10."
The Fall Juvenile is Race 10 (10:07 p.m.). The rest of the field: meet win leader Reward Trent, Backwood Cash, Chacha Susan, Fearless Fella, Shotgun Charlie and Rosey Rookie. Lester Raines is going after its second straight pup stakes win after Craigie Mr Venus captured the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile on May 24.
"We're going to push for one-two (finish) or even one-three," Jeanne said.
Kelsos Hathaway and Kelsos Scotsclan, brothers from a litter by three-time leading sire Gable Dodge and Kelsos Gabriella, are owned by John Kelly. At 21 months old, the two are among the field's youngest (Backwood Cash is one week younger) and have the fewest starts with 23 total races. "We're exactly at the opposite end of the pendulum (as far as experience), because Mr Venus was the most seasoned when he won," Jeanne said.
She calls her two pups "bookends."
"You can't tell them apart," Jeanne said. "They both weigh 76 pounds and are the identical color (fawn), like a buff-colored cocker spaniel. Beautiful boys, but the only way you can tell them apart is by the coarse hair on one of their backs."
They have combined for 11 wins, both taking their first three career starts by more than 40 total lengths. First place pays $9,000.
MORE DOGS: Two invaders have come to Derby Lane for the $75,000 660-Yard Challenge on Dec. 6-20. Multiple-stakes winner Flying Mancini, a track-record holder at Woodlands in Kansas City, Kan., and Wheeling Downs, W.Va., has joined McAllister Kennels. Magic Penny Ante, winner of the American Derby at Twin River in Lincoln, R.I., is with D'Arcy Kennel. Flying Mancini clocked the meet's third fastest time at 660 yards on Wednesday at 37.31 seconds.
HORSES: Tampa Bay Downs has begun preparations for its 83rd season of live thoroughbred racing. The Oldsmar oval barn area opened Thursday and horses began training Friday. The 94-day meet runs from Dec. 13 through May 3.