Alderson operation takes dual aim at Derby Lane juvenile crown

Published May 9, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — Hardly a day goes by when Jan Alderson doesn't talk about greyhounds.

The owner and trainer of Derby Lane's longest standing kennel is at the track daily, caring for 70 dogs that have developed into one of the best groups this season.

Just imagine the discussion Alderson might have on Mother's Day with her mother, Eleanor Alderson, 91, and daughter Lisa Lesperance, a California resident, if Fiesta Bruno or Mega Montana win tonight's $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile Stakes at Derby Lane. First place pays $8,000.

"It would be nice to get some extra money," Jan Alderson said. "We work really hard for what we get."

With a staff that includes Alderson's son, Greg Lesperance, and assistants Ken Deacon and Greg Morse, the operation ranks second in the meet win standings behind Burk Greyhounds. Alderson is the only kennel with two dogs in the 550-yard finale (Race 8, 9:13 p.m.).

Eyes Loaded (D'Arcy kennel) is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. He won three of four qualifiers and has clocked the meet's fastest time at 29.99 seconds.

"He is a nice dog," Alderson said. "But I think anybody that's in it can win it."

In the past 10 years, only two favorites have captured the Gold Trophy Juvenile with the average win mutuel payoff of $14.40 for a $2 ticket.

Fiesta Bruno and Mega Montana are owned by Jeff Blair of Abilene, Kan. Blair and his brother, David, have been responsible for "98 percent" of Alderson's recent success, she said.

"I get good dogs (from the Blairs) and I've worked very hard to build the kennel up," Alderson said.

Fiesta Bruno, who has finished first or second in 23 of 47 starts, has a strong closing kick. Mega Montana is a speedster who has been first or second in eight of 18 races. Both dogs were sired by Bella Infrared, the Rural Rube winner as the nation's best sprinter and All-America team captain in 2012. Another starter sired by Bella Infrared is Tnt Back Talk (Patriot).

Fiesta Bruno, a 22-month-old male, is Alderson's top dog this meet with nine wins. He has been in the money with top-four showings in seven of his past eight starts. Previously, he beat only one of 21 dogs over a three-race span.

"Sometimes, they just have a string of bad luck, and they have it go their way again," Alderson said. "Bruno is youngster, so he's still developing. He's running with the big boys. … We'll see how he does."

Other starters: Flying Sahara (McAllister), Jw Kromekote (Capabal), Lk's Woolsey (Alabama) and Penrose Richard (Cal Holland).

HORSES: Kid Cruz, owned by Steven Brandt and Rick Boylan of St. Pete Beach, is expected to start in the Grade III $300,000 Pimlico Special on Friday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. It will be his third race since chipping a bone in the 2014 Travers Stakes at Saratoga Springs, N.Y.