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Continued: Once a way in to the casino club, greyhound racing now unwanted even by many track operators

  • Article by: FERNANDO PEINADO , Associated Press
  • Last update: July 9, 2014 - 9:35 AM

"They could set a dangerous precedent for all breeds of racing," said Lonny Powell, the CEO of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, who worked for years as a regulator of dog races.

Melbourne Greyhound Park, a smaller track in central Florida, sees the biggest crowd each year during the Kentucky Derby, when around 3,000 patrons turn up to watch the simulcast screens and place bets on the horses.

Cashing in on those rare events is not enough for track operators. Promotional gimmicks such as "Doggy Dinner Theater" and races with dogs named for celebrities have not worked, said Havenick, the Miami track owner.

Reducing the number of races might help make them special events again, he suggested.

The death of dog racing would be the end of "a beautiful show," said Duke Adkinson, a longtime fan who came to Flagler — now part of Magic City Casino — with his preteen grandson Dillon to instill in him the love for the races.

"Everyone who has not seen it live needs to come at least once if they like greyhounds," Adkinson said, surrounded by empty seats and aging faces.

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