DERBY LANE HISTORY
Derby Lane, now known as Win! Derby, sits on the edge of Tampa Bay. During the land boom of the 1920’s, a lumber entrepreneur named T.L. Weaver expanded his timberland holdings and operations to St. Petersburg, FL. 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.
Baseball Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Mantle watched the competition at Derby Lane during Spring Training season.
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, 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.
Over the years, Derby Lane embraced technological changes in odds computation, race draws, judging, and simulcasting to modernize the industry. Gaming options advanced with the addition of the Poker Room.
Derby Lane showcased legendary greyhound racing from 1925 until a Florida Constitutional Amendment passed in 2018 ending greyhound racing by 2020.
In front of many greyhound-racing fans, Derby Lane held their final races on December 27th, 2020.
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. The circus tent scene featuring Clooney and Pitt, dubbed California, was actually staged in the Derby Lane parking lot. More recently, Bryan Cranston was on track to film scenes for the movie, The Infiltrator.