The ultimate canine race in Florida takes place on New 12 months’s Eve, a minute earlier than midnight, on the Palm Seaside Kennel Membership. As soon as the clock strikes midnight, canine racing within the sunshine state isn’t any extra. That’s when Amendment 13, passed overwhelmingly back in November 2018, bans the game perpetually.
There are about 1,200 greyhounds which have nonetheless been racing in Florida since Modification 13 handed. The tracks declare all of the canines shall be adopted or despatched north to the final 4 tracks within the nation situated in Arkansas, Iowa and West Virginia. The 2 canine tracks in Arkansas and Iowa are slated to shut by 2022. Solely West Virginia plans to proceed the controversial sport, however all indicators level to the extinction of canine racing in America.
I wrote in regards to the end of dog racing and the closing of the Sarasota Kennel Membership again in 2019. The membership had its final race on Might 4, 2019. That was the final time I used to be there. I spent lengthy days with the canine trainers, lots of whom had taken care of canines for many years, to explain a lifestyle in Sarasota that vanished that day. I referred to as the previous proprietor of the canine observe, Jack Collins Jr., to see if he had any information or ideas on the official finish of canine racing.
“Our final day was final Wednesday,” Collins stated over the cellphone. “It was a bizarre feeling…having my final sip of beer right here.”
Collins had spent his total life on the observe. His grandfather, Jerry Collins, purchased the place again in 1944. After he closed the observe, Collins nonetheless operated a profitable poker operation there referred to as One Eyed Jacks. This week he moved One Eyed Jacks to a brand new spot at 4404 Bee Ridge Street. Collins introduced over a lot of the parimutuel individuals who remained on the observe. “I’m very pleased with the brand new poker site,” he stated. “There’s rather a lot much less overhead. Rather a lot much less constructing maintenance. The previous place was slightly aged.”
I requested Collins if he’d heard from any of the trainers who labored the kennels 12 months in and 12 months out. He stated only one, who promised to cease by the brand new place. As for the others? “I’m certain they’ll discover a job,” Collins stated. “Canine coaching was a time-consuming job. They’ll determine a manner.”
Collins bought the observe and the just about 30 acres it sits on when he determined to finish canine racing. New York-based Wakefield Improvement Companions introduced in 2018 it might be constructing an assisted dwelling residence and 340 flats there. However now a brand new improvement group, JBCC Improvement Firm, has bought at the least a part of the property with plans for a Circle Okay and automobile wash, says Collins. The remaining acreage remains to be beneath dialogue.
I went to see the observe for the primary time in almost 18 months. Right now the car parking zone is used as a Covid-19 drive-thru testing web site. Nurses in blue scrubs stand beneath the Miss Whirl Membership signal, proper subsequent to the doorway the place the canines had been as soon as stored of their kennels. I walked via a little bit of damaged chain hyperlink fence to get to the observe. The grime observe is now coated with dry grass. Sand spurs had been in all places and caught to my legs and footwear. The banner from the final race was nonetheless beneath the tote board, worn and untethered. Inexperienced scum coated the pond.
It’s solely a matter of time earlier than even that is gone, however when individuals ask for instructions round north Sarasota, I and different longtimers will all the time say it’s round the place the previous canine observe was.