ST. PETERSBURG — Cary Glidden is with the love of his life and working in the industry he loves.
Thank you, Derby Lane.
Glidden, 35, is the manager and trainer of Abrahamson kennel, the new operation that began running Tuesday at Derby Lane.
"This is probably one of the best things that has happened to me in a long time," he said.
"I'm finally happy. I have a whole life, a job that I enjoy, and I can train the dogs my way. It's finally on my shoulders."
The kennel is owned by Neil Abrahamson, Glidden's stepfather. His mother, Janice Abrahamson, owns many of the greyhounds.
They are entrenched in the business, breeding and raising dogs at their farms at Live Oak in North Florida and West Virginia. The Abrahamsons maintain residences in Naples and Windsor Heights, W.Va.
Derby Lane is one of four bookings for the Abrahamsons.
They have a combined operation at Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track in Bonita Springs and Flagler Greyhound Park in Miami, and also race in West Virginia at Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center in Cross Lanes and Wheeling Island.
The Abrahamsons dissolved their kennel at Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale Beach on April 28.
"We were being spread too thin (in Florida)," Glidden said.
Glidden said his life changed three months ago when Neil Abrahamson was informed by Derby Lane management that his operation would become the track's 17th kennel.
"I was very happy, because I didn't want to leave the dog business," he said. "I told Neil, 'One way or the other, I'm moving to St. Pete.' "
Glidden's fiancee, Robin Searl, a nurse and former kennel employee at Derby Lane, lives in St. Petersburg.
While working at the Naples-Fort Myers kennel, Glidden would commute on weekends to visit Searl and her two children.
The Naples native began working with dogs 20 years ago at defunct St. Croix Meadows Greyhound Track in Hudson, Wis.
The Abrahamsons have ties to Derby Lane.
Glidden said Neil Abrahamson booked Gulf & Bay kennel at St. Petersburg about 15 years ago. Janice Abrahamson has run dogs with kennel owner Jan Alderson, and former Derby Lane kennel operator John Filipelli once trained for the Abrahamsons at defunct Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha, Wis.
Current Derby Lane kennel operator James Campbell urged Glidden to check out the St. Petersburg track when both were at Naples-Fort Myers.
"(Campbell) kept telling me how great it was to be at," Glidden said.
"Derby Lane seems to be the most classy place (of all the tracks) that I've been to. People are so polite and they've been very helpful."
The Abrahamson kennel has 48 dogs, 21 on the active roster. The kennel won its first race Wednesday with Grade D sprinter Braska Shooter.
MORE DERBY LANE: The $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile Stakes has third-round qualifying tonight in Races 6 (8:55 p.m.) and 10 (10:11).