Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Sports

Trainer upholds Holland family tradition at Derby Lane

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — Cal Holland Jr. always walks into the kitchen.

It is the area in his St. Petersburg home where he pays tribute to his late mother, Brenda, whose ashes are contained in one of several urns in the family's china cabinet.

"That's sort of our sacred ground," Holland said. "I look at the urn every day and say, 'Mom, you're the one that got me here. You're the one that's made me the man I am today.' Then I'll blow it a kiss, put my hand on it and go on about my day."

Family is Holland's No. 1 priority. A close second is his job.

And what a job he has done as the manager and trainer for Patriot kennel at Derby Lane. Since taking over the greyhound operation in December 2011, the Hialeah native has won consecutive kennel championships in record style. Patriot again is atop the standings, and if it can remain there through June 30, the kennel would be the first to win three titles in a row since Ryan Farms in 1999-2001.

"(Patriot) was a great kennel when I took it over," Holland said. "My two goals were to make it a first-place kennel and stay there, and to win stakes races and have a dog in every stakes race."

Supported by assistants David Keck and Gloria Morse, Holland, 47, hasn't missed a beat. Patriot won two crowns in 2012, becoming the first kennel at the 88-year-old track to surpass 300 wins in a six-month meet.

With quality and quantity as the common denominators, Patriot won the January-to-June meet by 63 victories with 333, and the July-to-December meet by 64 with 325, both times finishing ahead of four-time champion McAllister kennel. The 658 wins for 12 consecutive months eclipsed the track's previous mark of 643 by McAllister in 2007-08. Patriot made 4,668 starts during that span; Nova was a distant second at 3,559.

"Every little injury, I'm on. … I think that's why we have more starts than anybody," Holland said. "The first turnout (in the morning) is the most important. I watch every single dog to see how they're doing. Those dogs are my kids, and all 68 want my attention."

Holland joined Patriot after a successful eight-year run as the trainer for Floyd & Porter kennel.

"Cal deserves all the accolades," kennel owner Randy Floyd said. "He took over a top kennel and he's kept it on top. That says something. You put good dogs with a good handler, it's going to have a good outcome."

Patriot captured a pair of stakes in 2012: the $50,000 Fall Sprint with All-America second-team member and defending wins leader Venus Espinosa, and the $10,000 St. Petersburg Consolation Derby with Art Allen. The two standouts have combined for 99 career victories and more than $87,000 in purse earnings.

The Consolation Derby victory came 18 days after Brenda Holland's death from pneumonia at age 64.

"It was probably one of the most exciting races because it was right after my mom had passed away," Holland said. "When we went out to the winner's circle, everyone hollered, 'Brenda Holland.' "

Patriot has come a long way since its Derby Lane arrival in 2009. Owned by Vinny and Phyllis Savill of Whitman, Mass., Patriot lost its first 63 starts before winning its first title in 2010 (January to June). When former manager-trainer Victor Hall moved to Vermont, the door opened for Holland, whose family's participation in dog racing spans four generations.

His grandparents, Calvin and Evelyn Holland, got the ball rolling. His father, Cal, a Derby Lane kennel owner and president of the Tampa Bay Greyhound Association, followed.

Cal Holland Jr. has worked with greyhounds since he was 13. His children, Justin, 25, and Jenna, 20, handle dogs at the Gandy Boulevard facility along with his stepdaughter, Patricia Isaac, 20. Three years ago, Holland married the former Joyce Isaac.

"Joy is my best friend and the rock in my life now since my mom has passed away," Holland said. "My dad was very good to me, but my mom molded me into what I am. I'm blessed to have my family and my job that I love very, very much."

Comments
Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot: What you need to know

Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot: What you need to know

Just like the several types of dishes you’ll see at Thanksgiving, you can run any type of race before you stuff your face. The Tampa Bay Times’ annual Turkey Trot offers a race for nearly every distance, from a one-mile run/walk to a 10k...
Updated: 1 hour ago
American Athletic Conference power rankings, Week 13

American Athletic Conference power rankings, Week 13

Memphis has locked down the West Division.All that's left is to settle the East with Friday's "War on I-4" between UCF and USF.USF has won six of the eight meetings in the rivalry, but the stakes never have been greater. The winner advances to play M...
Updated: 2 hours ago
More attractive landing spot for coaches, UF or FSU?

More attractive landing spot for coaches, UF or FSU?

GAINESVILLE — Unless Chip Kelly has made up his mind by the time you read this, the Gators are still looking for a new football coach.There's a chance the rival Seminoles aren't far behind. Industry insiders are speculating that Texas A&M could...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lakewood defenders put early-season blip firmly behind them

Lakewood defenders put early-season blip firmly behind them

ST. PETERSBURG — The turning point in Lakewood High’s football season came on Sept. 2. The Spartans had a lead against rival St. Petersburg on Friday night when rain and lightning forced the second half to be played the next morning.Lakewood imploded...
Published: 11/22/17

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballTennessee vs. PurduenoonESPN2Western Kentucky vs. Villanova2 p.m.ESPN2Maui Invitational seventh-place game2:30 p.m.ESPNUMaui Invitational fifth-place game5 p.m.ESPN2Wofford at Texas Tech6:30 p.m.Fox SunHoward at USF7 p.m.820-AM...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

TAMPA — It’s the biggest football game in USF history. It’s two days and 90 miles away. USF at UCF. The 9-1 Bulls against the 10-0 Knights. It’s USF coach Charlie Strong against UCF/Florida/Nebraska coach Scott Frost. It̵...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Call Missouri jinxed, but Michael Porter Jr. injury is its own story

Please repeat after me: There is no such thing as jinxes, hexes, ghosts or cartoonish black clouds looming with personalized curses for select targets.Honest.But, boy, are there coincidences — even if some say there is no such thing as those, either....
Updated: 10 hours ago

Giants are NFL’s most disappointing team this season, but Broncos are close

The New York Giants made the playoffs for the first time in four years last season under the guidance of coach Ben McAdoo, setting high expectations for the 2017 campaign. They pushed those expectations even higher with the addition in free agency of...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

TAMPA — For Cambridge Christian, last Friday’s Class 2A region final against Indian Rocks Christian represented a hurdle that the Lancers couldn’t quite clear a year ago. For one Lancer in particular, it was the Golden Eagles themselves that brought ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

TAMPA — Third and long, normally an ideal situation for an NFL defense, continues to be a problem as the Bucs try to get opposing offenses off the field.In the second half of Sunday’s game, the Dolphins converted six third downs when they needed 8 ya...
Updated: 10 hours ago