Naples High graduate and top greyhound owner Kelly Everett was the focus of a great story in the February 28 edition of the Naples Daily News. Here’s the article in its entirety.Read
Kelly Everett visited the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track with his mother Cindy two decades ago. Except for sleeping at home, he has never left.
Everett’s love affair with the greyhounds has taken him from kennel assistant to trainer, and now one of the most successful owners in the 60-year history of the Bonita Springs track.
“They are truly part of my family,” Everett, 37, said of his greyhounds. “I spend more time with the greyhounds than my actual family. Once you’re involved with them it’s easy to get attached. You might say I have 66 children, thinking of the dogs I own and others in the kennel trained for other owners.”
Everett has cemented himself as the leading trainer by recording 374 wins and earning $319,830 in 2015-2016, and another 200-plus wins and $153,718 in purses in 2016-2017.
The Bonita Springs resident and Naples High School graduate is nearing 2,000 wins at the track as a trainer or owner under the Everett Racing banner.
Everett has been the leading trainer in Bonita Springs for four years — and the last three years at the sister track in Miami, Flagler Dog Track. Everett has delivered the results for the kennel, winning three Naples-Fort Myers Derby races while grooming three local All-American greyhounds – Tiger Boy, B’s Headliner and Where’s Big Cash.
Everett Racing has two greyhounds, Flyin Mike Tyson and Flyin Honor Code, in the $50,000 Naples-Fort Myers Derby Championship on Saturday night.
Everett watches nearly every race, and just grimaces when one of his dogs gets bumped out of the money while they’re going 30-40 mph, usually in less than 31 seconds.
“They’re absolutely athletes and are treated like an athlete with nutrition, exercise and good vitamins,” he said. “You know when you come in the dogs are happy to see you. They kind of let you know you’re there for them.
“Dogs have to be in good condition to race. People that have pets at home, it’s simple, and these dogs are high maintenance.”
Everett, who bowled a 300 game at age 15 to become the youngest in Florida to accomplish the feat, starts a track day at 5 a.m.
“Turn them out in the pen, then exercise and weighing, feeding at 7 a.m. and then a second turnout,” he said. “On a typical day, we’ll feed them red meat, pasta noodles and dry grain — no sugar but occasionally bananas or a treat.
“I always check a dog for soreness or scratches after he or she races, and the vet will inspect again on the next race day.”
But it’s not all work or business with the greyhounds.
“Certain dogs will play around, throw their muzzle on you, then jump up and hug and it’s really cool to see them smile with their mouth wide open,” he said. “Flying Nnamdi, a stakes winner, had such a personality, always wanting to play. After you are around them for 80 hours in a week, you kind of know who’s who and some of their mannerisms.”
Racing secretary Ron DePari has watched Everett become successful with a simple formula.
“Every single day I’m at the track Kelly is here working, no matter what time of the day,” DePari said.
Greyhounds typically race until they are four years old, and then are made available for adoption. “More greyhounds are adopted than any other breed,” Everett said. “They’re unique — something you won’t find at the pet store. I’ve been their caretaker for several years so I’m not surprised when people who adopt tell me how attached they have become.”
Everett does have some betting advice.
“There are a lot of different reasons to wager on a certain dog, like the horses, everything from bloodlines to past performances,” he said.