Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Live greyhound racing's future in jeopardy in Florida

ST. PETERSBURG — Today's $10,000 Matinee Idol is Derby Lane's only afternoon stakes of the year. But how long will the iconic greyhound track have the only game in town?

The tussle in Tallahassee is on again, a turbulent time that threatens greyhound racing in Florida. Two bills written in the Florida Legislature, prohibiting a minimum requirement of live performances for greyhound permit holders, would give tracks control of racing dates.

If passed, dog racing in the state could end July 1. House Bill 641, authored by Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, and Senate Bill 382, introduced by Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, would allow tracks to offer poker and simulcast wagering without dog racing. Similar bills last year failed.

Derby Lane is one of 13 state tracks with live dog racing, teaming with Tampa Greyhound Track for eight weekly performances year-round.

"We need to run every day to make a living," Tampa Bay Greyhound Association president Cal Holland said. "If (Derby Lane) runs only two or three cards, that would put half of us or more out of business."

The Florida Greyhound Association reports the state's dog-racing industry is responsible for more than 3,000 jobs and $5 million in state income with an economic impact of $50 million.

"(The end of racing) would be a disaster," said Maryann Tolliver, president of Greyhound Pets of America, Tampa Bay Chapter. "We adopt out 180 to 200 dogs per year. If all of a sudden we have 1,000 dogs (Derby Lane's kennel population), we wouldn't have any place to put them, and (you know) where the dogs would go."

Tolliver said each potential adoptee costs approximately $500. A nonprofit group, GPA relies on donations and fundraisers. A perfect storm means GPA would need $500,000 to handle Derby Lane's dogs. And with more than 13,000 dogs estimated in Florida, the overall expense in the state would be $6.5 million.

"If times are changing and greyhounds and horses are to become a sport of the past, the cost of this transition is way above $130 million," said kennel owner Malcolm McAllister, whose Tiger Boy is favored to win the Matinee Idol (Race 8, 2:30 p.m.). "Should then, the state of Florida pick up the tab?"

Kennel manager-trainer Catherine D'Arcy said dogs would be the real losers.

"I turn them out six times a day; exercise them on the sprint path; they swim and race," she said. "Pets in this country don't get walked six times a day."

Track spokeswoman Vera Rasnake said the facility expects to remain status quo.

"If they decouple (the dog racing requirement), Derby Lane plans on doing business as usual," she said. "We are a greyhound racing facility, first and foremost, since 1925. We do plan on continuing the greyhound racing schedule we have."

Live greyhound racing's future in jeopardy in Florida 01/27/12 [Last modified: Friday, January 27, 2012 8:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tim Tebow came into their life, and never left

    Minors

    There are a lot of stories about Tim Tebow connecting with people during his life, Tebow inspiring them and Tebow being inspired.

    Boomer Hornbeck of Naples, Fla., has battled cerebral palsy and undergone surgery after surgery in the hopes of allowing him to one day walk. Inspired by Tim Tebow, and encouraged by his relationship with him, Hornbeck has become a motivational speaker.
  2. For starters: Rays at Jays, with Longoria moved to No. 2 spot in order

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 1:03: Manager Kevin Cash made an even bigger change in the Rays lineup today, moving 3B Evan Longoria from his usual No. 3 spot up to second. And he stuck with Brad Miller in the leadoff spot.

    Here is the lineup:

  3. Tony Dungy on Twitter: I'm donating $5K to move Confederate statue, Bucs, Rays and Lightning should act too

    Bucs

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach and Tampa resident Tony Dungy announced publicly today that he's contributing $5,000 to a fund to move a Confederate monument out of downtown Tampa.

    Tony Dungy in 2011. [Getty]
  4. The legacy of Tim Tebow's baseball summer

    Minors

    CLEARWATER — It was about three weeks ago. A Saturday night. I sat behind home plate at a Charlotte Stone Crabs game at Charlotte Sports Park. There was a professional baseball scout sitting just behind me with a speed gun in his hand. He had seen the whole thing.

    Seth Bosch, left, of Punta Gorda, Fla., met Tim Tebow in Port Charlotte, Fla., in late July when Tebow, while in the on-deck circle during a game, shook hands with Seth through the backstop screen. The moment was captured on video by Seth's mother, as was the home run Tebow promptly hit in his ensuing at bat. Seth, who has high-functioning autism and other health issues, celebrated wildly and the video went viral. PHOTO PROVIDED