SARASOTA, Fla.- “We're glad to see the customers are, you know, glad to see us come back. We're glad to be starting the season over again,” said Thomas Bowersox, the Director of Racing at the Sarasota Kennel Club.
Today is opening day for the greyhound racing season at Sarasota Kennel Club, and Bowersox told us he expects over 2,000 people between the matinee and evening races at 7:30 pm.
“At matinees we have fourteen races, and that runs Monday through Saturday, and then in the evening, Friday and Saturday evening. We have twelve races each night,” said Bowersox.
The Sarasota Kennel Club has nearly 800 greyhounds. Today's matinee brought in thousands wagering on their favorite greyhound and enjoying 50% off nearly everything, from admission to food and drinks.
Greyhound racing has a very loyal following. We spoke with people from all over the country who came to Sarasota just to be a part of the Kennel Club's opening day.
“We flew all the way down from Seattle just for opening day of dog season,” said Pat Paradise.
“I come down here from Wisconsin twice a year, and I just enjoy going to the dog track. We used to have one in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and they closed it a couple of years ago,” said Cliff Ostlund.
The state of Florida is one of the few states left to still race greyhounds, and The Sarasota Kennel Club is no stranger to dealing with the dog racing opposition group, GREY2K. The largest greyhound protection organization is calling for a shutdown of Sarasota's dog races over the Kennel Club's inability to comply with housing their dogs in metal cages instead of wood cages.
“Well GREY2K is an organization that's basically trying to put all the dog tracks out of business, and the way they go about it sometimes is not the most generous way it could be done,” said Bowersox.
The greyhound racing season, at The Sarasota Kennel Club, continues until April 12, 2014.