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. DerbyLane,
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.
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
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 canine 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.