Derby Lane, the St. Petersburg Kennel Club, is the oldest continuously operating greyhound track in the world.
Derby Lane sits on the edge of Tampa Bay, carved out of palmetto and pine forests.A lumber entrepreneur named T. L. Weaver expanded his timberland holdings and lumber operations to St. Petersburg, Florida during the land boom of the 1920s. He sold one pine tract to a group of local businessmen who constructed a greyhound track. Unable to pay their outstanding balance, the businessmen gave the track to Weaver’s lumber company. The club’s inaugural race was held on the afternoon of January 3rd, 1925. Derby Lane, along with the Weaver family has been showcasing legendary champions to this day
Baseball Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Mantle watched the competition at Derby Lane during Spring Training season. For decades, a live band entertained crowds as they cheered champion greyhounds competing for high honors.
Over the years, Derby Lane has embraced technological changes in odds computation, race draws, judging, and simulcasting to modernize the industry.Gaming options have also advanced with the addition of the Poker Room.
Derby Lane has welcomed a variety of entertainment other than greyhound racing, from concerts and beer tastes, to on-location shoots for major motion pictures. Award winning director Steven Soderbergh unleashed a trifecta of Hollywood celebrities at Derby Lane in 2001 to film scenes for his blockbuster movie, Ocean’s Eleven. Superstars Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Carl Reiner turned heads for their scenes that included Derby Lane employees as film extras. Pitt and Reinerenjoyed a day at the races in the box seat area. The circus tent scene featuring Clooney and Pitt, dubbed California, was actually staged in the Derby Lane parking lot.
Derby Lane is not only known for its 15 minutes of Hollywood fame. The star athletes that have performed here are the ones who truly deserve to be in the spotlight. In 1986, Derby Lane’s Keefer was the most popular Greyhound in the nation. Greyhound Hall of Famer, Keefer, drew the largest crowd on track (12,779) for his victory in the 1986 Distance Classic. Keefer’s story was featured in several magazines including the Wall Street Journal. Years after Keefer’s passing, a book was penned in his honor.
Historic Hall of Famer, Rural Rube, graced the track oval and was so beloved that the industry named an award after him. The coveted Rural Rube award is presented to North America’s most accomplished sprinter each year. Derby Lane athletes are the only ones to date that have captured the sport’s Triple Crown. In 2000, Dominator lived up to his name and brought in the new millennium with a new award. Dominator was named All-America Team Captain (best greyhound in North America), received the Rural Rube award (best sprinter), and the Flashy Sir award (top distance) becoming the first North American Triple Crown champion. In 2004, Cayman Went became the second Triple Crown Champion, and in 2010 Flying Coal City became the third greyhound to have the Triple Crown honors bestowed upon him.
Derby Lane greyhounds remain a favorite among K9 breeds. The Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet featured a show about greyhounds, called Breed All About It. The Breed All About It story was voted most popular in the series.
Greyhound racing history has unfolded at this track. Derby Lane athletes are revered around the globe, and their popularity is unsurpassed.
- Client Derby Lane
- Date March 28, 2014
- Tags Greyhound